JAMES MORRIS (Scarpia) is world-renowned for his performances in opera, concerts, recitals, and on recordings. Considered one of the greatest interpreters of the role of Wotan in Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, Morris has appeared in this role at the Metropolitan Opera, the Vienna State Opera, the Bavarian State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, and many others. He recorded Wagner's Ring for two major recording companies: Deutsche Grammophon (conducted by James Levine) and EMI (conducted by Bernard Haitink).
Morris' operatic repertoire includes all the greatest roles written for bass, from the title roles in Mozart's Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro to the great Verdi characters, Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, the Four Villains in Les contes d'Hoffmann, and Mephistopheles in Faust. When the Metropolitan Opera brought Benjamin Britten's Billy Budd into the repertoire, Morris enjoyed another one of the greatest triumphs of his career as John Claggart. Morris has also been identified with the role of Scarpia in Tosca and has appeared often as Iago in Otello and Amonasro in Aida.
On the concert stage, his credits include performances with the Berlin Philharmonic; at the London Proms; concerts with Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic; the "Pavarotti Plus" special at New York's Avery Fisher Hall; and several gala events including the Metropolitan Opera Centennial Birthday concert. Other concert engagements in recent seasons have included Berlioz's La damnation de Faust with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. He has also appeared frequently in recitals.
Morris returned to the Metropolitan Opera in the 2005/2006 season in a new role, appearing as Count Walther in Luisa Miller, and he joined the Metropolitan for their tour to Japan as Wotan in Die Walküre.
Born and educated in Baltimore, Maryland, Morris attended the Peabody Conservatory and studied with Rosa Ponselle. He continued his education at the Philadelphia Academy of Vocal Arts, where he studied with basso Nicola Moscona.