Roelof Oostwoud, Tenor

Tenor Roelof Oostwoud will sing the role of Pilgrim. Roelof began his career with the Canadian Opera Company and followed it with engagements in San Francisco, Boston and at the Tanglewood Festival. He has appeared with Covent Garden, La Scala, and Deutsche Staatsoper and has sung under conductors Maazel, Bonynge, Ashkenazy, Thielemann, Conlon, and Santi. Since 2003 Roelof has taught voice at the UBC School of Music, dividing his time between Vancouver and Europe.


After mathematics and physics studies at the University of Toronto, followed by a short stint as statistical analyst, Roelof Oostwoud turned to his real love: music! He was awarded a three-year full scholarship to study opera and voice at the Faculty of Music Opera School of the University of Toronto and for studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music. His voice teachers were George Lambert (voice teacher of Jon Vickers), the Welsh Bass Howell Glynne (Sadler's Wells and Covent Garden), and most extensively with the well-known Canadian Baritone Louis Quilico (Metropolitan Opera). Further studies took him to Milan and Vienna.

Roelof Oostwoud started his career with the Canadian Opera Company, appearing with the company in Toronto, Montreal and on tours through Canada and the United States. He was featured on CBC television in a tribute to Rudolf Friml and in operas such as "La Rondine" and "Macbeth" with Teresa Stratas and Louis Quilico. Following engagements in Pittsburgh and a season with the San Francisco Opera's Western Opera Theater, he attracted the attention of conductor Richard Bonynge and was subsequently engaged as leading tenor with the new young artist company that formed the nucleus of the Vancouver Opera, of which Mr. Bonynge was then general manager and music director. Under the supportive leadership of Mr. Bonynge he sang concerts and operas including "Lucia di Lammermoor", "Rigoletto", "La buona figliuola", (Piccini) and "Rodelinda" (Handel). Subsequent engagements led him to the Tanglewood Festival and to cities that include Montreal, Halifax, London and Boston.

In March of 1978 Roelof Oostwoud created the title role in the American (north and south) première of Verdi's "Stiffelio" for the Boston Opera. He was partnered by soprano Anna Moffo and baritone Brent Ellis and the production was conducted and directed by Sarah Caldwell. International engagements soon followed: Covent Garden; the Netherlands Opera; Radio France, Paris; Chorégie Festival Orange, France; San Sebastian Festival, Spain; Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel; the Grosse Musikverein and Volks/Staatsoper, Vienna; Die Europäische Wochen, Passau, Germany; Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, Munich, Staatsoper unter den Linden, Berlin and the Berliner Festwochen.
Roelof Oostwoud made his debut at La Scala in Milan in 1982, where he created the lead tenor role of Luca in the world première of Luciano Berio's "La vera storia" under the composer's direction. That same year he joined the Deutsche Oper am Rhein as leading tenor for the Italian, German and French repertoire. Major modern works such as Henze's "Die Bassariden", Britten's "The rape of Lucretia", and Berg's "Lulu" are, in addition, an important part of his repertoire. He has been a regular guest in many of Europe's opera houses, including Volksoper/Staatsoper, Vienna, Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, Munich, Staatsoper unter den Linden. Berlin, Staatstheater Hannover, Staatstheater Mannheim, Paris Opera, as well as opera houses in Montpellier, Rome, Trieste, Bern, Antwerp, Ghent and Enschede.

The main focus of Roelof Oostwoud's repertoire now lies in the spinto and dramatic Italian and German Heldentenor fach, with roles such at the title roles in Wagner's "Tannhäuser" (State Opera Prag, Opera Freiburg, MainFranken Theater Würzburg), Verdi's "Otello" (Opera Coburg) as well as Loge in "Das Rheingold", Siegmund in "Die Walküre" and Florestan in Beethoven's "Fidelio"(all at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Nürnberg Opera, Opera Wuppertal). At the Paris Opera he was heard as Orest in Gluck's "Iphigénie en Tauride", a role he repeated in Rome, Trieste and Rio di Janeiro and at the State Theater Kassel he debuted with Florestan in Beethoven's "Leonore" (the first version of "Fidelio").

Concerts take an important place in Roelof Oostwoud's career and he has appeared with orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic, the Hamburger Symphoniker, the Deutsche Symphony Orchestra, Berlin, the Montreal Symphony, the Toronto symphony, the Israel Philharmonic, Paris Radio Orchestra, the London Symphony under conductors including Lorin Maazel, Raphael Fruehbeck de Burgos, Bruno Maderna, James Conlon, Nello Santi, Vladimir Askenazy, Hans Wallat, Christian Thielemann and Richard Bonynge.