Skip to page content

Franz Josef Selig

About this Artist

“The outstanding singing was Franz-Josef Selig‘s King Mark, whose shattering performance of his long monologue was the emotional highlight of the evening, and which inspired the OAE to their most insightful, impassioned playing.” (The Guardian).

Franz-Josef Selig has established himself on the international arena as one of the best-known performers of serious bass parts – particularly Gurnemanz, King Marke, Sarastro, Rocco, Osmin, Daland, Fiesco and Fasolt.

Bass singer Franz-Josef Selig first studied church music at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik, Cologne before taking voice classes under Claudio Nicolai. At the beginning of his career he was a member of the Aalto Theatre ensemble in Essen. He has been a freelance singer since then and has given guest performances at all of the world’s great opera houses.

Recent engagements brought Franz-Josef Selig, to London (Magic Flute under Sir Colin Davis), Vienna (Parsifal under Ingo Metzmacher), New York (Wagner Ring cycle under James Levine), to Munich for a new production of Fidelio by Calixto Bieito and the revival of the Magic Flute and finally again to the Salzburg Festival, where he appeared as Komtur (Don Giovanni) under Yannick Nézet-Séguin and as Bartolo (Le Nozze di Figaro) under Robin Ticciati, to the Opéra de Paris-Bastille under Philippe Jordan and also to the Teatro Real Madrid (Arkel in Débussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande in the production of Bob Wilson under Sylvain Cambreling).
In summer 2012 Franz-Josef Selig made his debut at the Bayreuth Festival as Daland (The Flying Dutchman).
He can be seen there again in 2013 with his engagement as Hunding in The Valkyrie. Further opera engagements of the 2013/14 season take him to Barcelona with Handel’s Agrippina, to Madrid’s Teatro Real in Tristan and Isolde, back at the Opéra National de Paris (Magic Flute and Tristan) as well as to Toulouse (Daphne).

In the 2013/14 season he is also performing in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and at the Beethovenfest Bonn under Jonathan Nott and for the centenary of the Konzerthaus under Gustavo Dudamel. He has been commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic/Nikolaus Harnoncourt to appear in concerts with Schumann’s Scenes from Goethe’s Faust. He can be heard at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in the second act of a concert performance of Tristan and Isolde under Semyon Bychkov. He is ending the season in July with a performance of Entführung aus dem Serail at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden under Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

In spite of numerous concert and operatic engagements, the singer still finds tome for lieder recitals. ‘Not many real basses dare take on the “Winterreise”, but Selig also sings the top notes in a mellifluous piano, and when the notes do get really low, as in the “tiefsten Felsengründen” of the “Irrlicht”, then the whole wight and velvety blackness of an exceptional bass is suddenly there.’
(General-Anzeiger, Gunild Lohmann, 16 January 2012)

Lieder recitals with Gerold Huber are also planned for the coming season, in, among other places, Frankfurt and Stuttgart. He can be seen in German concert halls with his favourite project, the Liedertafel with Markus Schäfer, Christian Elsner and Michael Volle accompanied by Gerold Huber on the piano, with lieder by Schubert and Brahms. His affinity to early music can be seen in his cooperation with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the concentus musicus Wien, with Philippe Herreweghe, René Jacobs, and the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.

Numerous CD and DVD productions document the artistic range of this unusual singer – from Bach’s St Matthew Passion via Mozart’s Magic Flute (The Royal Opera, London/Sir Colin Davis), Don Giovanni (Wiener Staatsoper/Riccardo Muti), Le nozze di Figaro (Salzburg Festival/Nikolaus Harnoncourt), and Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Gran Teatre del Liceu/Ivor Bolton/Christoph Loy) all the way to L’incoronazione di Poppea (Gran Teatre del Liceu/David Alden/Harry Bicket). He has recorded the part of Gurnemanz in Wagner’s Parsifal both under Christian Thielemann (Vienna State Opera, released by Deutsche Grammophon) and with Marek Janowski and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin (Pentatone). The DVD recording “Der Ring des Nibelungen” (DG, Metropolitan Opera New York, 2010) with Franz-Josef Selig as Fasolt has received the Grammy award in 2013.