Starting with early-career performances as Donner in Das Rheingold under Richard Farnes at Opera North and as Klingsor in Parsifal at the Beijing Music Festival, Australian-born bass-baritone Derek Welton is now firmly established as a noted interpreter of Wagner. Welton went on to appear at Semperoper Dresden as the Herald in Lohengrin under the baton of Christian Thielemann, as Klingsor at Bayreuth Festival under Hartmuth Haenchen, and at Bayerische Staatsoper under Kirill Petrenko, both marking house debuts, with these successes leading to acclaimed performances in his role debut as Wotan (Das Rheingold) at Deutsche Oper Berlin under Donald Runnicles.
Derek Welton was a soloist at the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 2015 to 2020, where he amassed a wide repertory of roles including Der Pförtner (Korngold’s Das Wunder der Heliane), Altair (Die ägyptische Helena), Peter Besenbinder (Hänsel und Gretel), Forester (The Cunning Little Vixen) and Prus (The Makropulos Case). Notable guest engagements have included Herzog von Albany in Lear at the Salzburg Festival (Franz Welser-Möst), the Opéra national de Paris and the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (Fabio Luisi), Pandolfe (Cendrillon) in his debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago (Sir Andrew Davis), Voland in York Höller’s Der Meister und Margarita at the Staatsoper Hamburg (Marcus Bosch), Pangloss in Candide at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma and Mozart’s Figaro at Glyndebourne. In recent seasons he has had great success as Orest in Elektra, which he has sung at the Salzburg Festival, the Wiener Staatsoper (Welser-Möst), and the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia (Marc Albrecht).
Closing his 2020/21 season as Wotan in the new Stefan Herheim production of Das Rheingold at Deutsche Oper Berlin, Derek Welton returned to the Bayreuth Festival as Klingsor under Thielemann before opening the 2021/2022 season with his debut at Dutch National Opera in Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg, under Music Director Lorenzo Viotti. Other season highlights include Wotan in historically-informed performances of Das Rheingold with Concerto Köln under Kent Nagano, and his house debut at Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as the Herald in Lohengrin, under the baton of Jakub Hrůša.
An accomplished and diverse concert artist, Welton has performed across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia in many choral and orchestral works as well as a diverse range of song repertoire. Recent highlights have included Martinů’s The Epic of Gilgamesh with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (Manfred Honeck), A Child of our Time with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra (Stefan Asbury), St Matthew Passion with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra (Pablo Heras-Casado) and Bruckner’s Mass in F minor at the BBC Proms (Juanjo Mena). He sang the title role of Bluebeard’s Castle at the George Enescu Festival (Christian Mandeal), Don Pizarro in Fidelio with the Hallé Orchestra (Sir Mark Elder) and, most recently, he sang the roles of Creon and The Messenger in Œdipus Rex with the Berlin Philharmonic (Kirill Petrenko).
Derek Welton’s discography includes DVDs of Elektra (Unitel), The Epic of Gilgamesh (Supraphon Records), Das Wunder der Heliane (Naxos), Lohengrin (Deutsche Grammophon). On CD he can be heard as Creonte in Haydn’s L’anima del filosofo (Pinchgut Live), in two recordings of Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 (Ondine and Brattle Media) and in a solo recital of Vaughan Williams songs with Iain Burnside for Albion Records.