In October 2014, Johnny Herford created the central role of Josef K in the World Premiere of The Trial by Philip Glass at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in a co-production with Music Theatre Wales – The Trial is an operatic adaptation of the Franz Kafka novel of the same title. “Josef K” also marked Johnny’s German debut at Magdeburg Oper in 2014 and he went on to perform this role in the opera’s Romanian premiere in Craiova. In recognition of his performance, Johnny was nominated for the Welsh Theatre Award for Best Male Performance in an Opera in 2015
His current and recent engagements include his debut at English National Opera as Samuel in Mike Leigh’s production of The Pirates of Penzance and he will sing a major role in Peter Eötvös’s The Golden Dragon for Music Theatre Wales at the Buxton Festival and on tour throughout the United Kingdom and South Korea. He will also undertake engagements with Welsh National Opera in their production of The Merchant of Venice; he will understudy the title role of Pelléas et Mélisande for Garsington Opera and he looks forward to returning to the ROH in a National Premiere in collaboration with the National Dance Company and Music Theatre Wales.
Further appearances on the operatic stage have included his French debut as Kuligin Katya Kabanova for Opéra de Dijon, and a re-invitation for The Traveller in a new production of The Curlew River; his debut with Scottish Opera in their Highlights Tour; Nikitsch in Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov with Jakub Hrůša and the Philharmonia Orchestra; Le Officier Les Dialogues des Carmélites and Lieutenant de Verbois Fortunio for Grange Park Opera; and as the Speaker The Magic Flute and Emireno Ottone for English Touring Opera.
In contemporary opera, Johnny created the role of Hans Scholl in the world premiere of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ Kommilitonen! and Edmund in Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park; he has also performed Chao Lin A Night at the Chinese Opera for British Youth Opera and most recently he appeared in a production of Biedermann and the Arsonists by Šimon Voseček for Independent Opera at Sadlers Wells, London.
As a recitalist, he has recently performed a Strauss recital with Joseph Middleton in the Leeds Lieder Festival, Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin in Julius Drake’s Machynlleth Festival, Butterworth’s A Shropshire Lad at the Oxford Lieder Festival, and a recital with Gary Matthewman for Lied in London. He regularly performs in the London English Song Festival, which is curated by his long-term duo partner William Vann. In 2016, Johnny made his solo recital debut at the Wigmore Hall with James Baillieu. He recently recorded Mendelssohn Lieder with Malcolm Martineau; a CD of English Songs by Robert Hugill and a collection of orchestrated Faure songs with the Orchestra of St John, conducted by John Lubbock OBE.
On the concert platform, Johnny has performed The Muir with the Mark Morris Dance Group at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, he has also appeared with the English Chamber Orchestra, London Mozart Players and with the Orchestra of St John’s. His concert repertoire extends from Monteverdi to the present day including: Bach St John Passion, St Matthew Passion, B-Minor Mass and Christmas Oratorio, Haydn Seasons, Mendelssohn Elijah, Brahms German Requiem, Mahler Rückert-Lieder, and Vaughan Williams Five Mystical Songs.
He was the winner of the Song Prize at the 2013 Kathleen Ferrier Awards, and of the Jean Meikle Duo Prize at the 2013 Wigmore Hall International Song Competition. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music, is a Samling Scholar and an alumnus of the Britten-Pears School, and studied with Thomas Quasthoff at the Verbier Festival.
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