Gidon Saks

Bass-Baritone

Biography

Praised for his “fierce, emotionally ripe performances” (Financial Times), which offer a “wealth of nuance” (Opera), Gidon Saks is renowned for his interpretations of the dramatic bass-baritone repertoire. His signature roles include Bluebeard (Bluebeard’s Castle), Nick Shadow (The Rake’s Progress), Claggart (Billy Budd), Kaspar (Der Freischütz), Don Pizarro (Fidelio) and Scarpia (Tosca). He is a […]

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Liliia Salpeter
Associate Artist Manager

+49 171 9150 336

Full Biography

Praised for his “fierce, emotionally ripe performances” (Financial Times), which offer a “wealth of nuance” (Opera), Gidon Saks is renowned for his interpretations of the dramatic bass-baritone repertoire. His signature roles include Bluebeard (Bluebeard’s Castle), Nick Shadow (The Rake’s Progress), Claggart (Billy Budd), Kaspar (Der Freischütz), Don Pizarro (Fidelio) and Scarpia (Tosca). He is a regular guest at many of the world’s most prestigious opera houses including Deutsche Oper Berlin, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Komische Oper Berlin, Opéra National de Paris, Bergen National Opera, Washington National Opera and Teatro La Fenice. In the 2022/23 season, Saks takes part in a world premiere of Salvatore Sciarrino’s opera Venere e Adone at Hamburg State Opera.

Recent highlights include King of France in Calixto Bieto’s production of Reimann’s Lear with Opéra National de Paris; Pangloss in Bernstein’s Candide with Bergen National Opera; John Claggart in multiple productions of Britten’s Billy Budd, including by David Alden and Annilese Miskimmon; his first Orest in Elektra for Bordeaux; the title role in Robert Carsen’s production of Battistelli’s Richard III for La Fenice (winner of the Abbiati Prize for best production in Italy); the Villains in Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann for the Royal Danish Opera; reprising the role of Bottom in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence at the Beijing Music Festival; and the title role in Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle with both Teatro La Fenice and Concerto Budapest and András Keller, opposite Petra Lang as Judith.

Equally in demand on the concert platform, Saks has performed Creon in Oedipus Rex and Hermit in Der Freischütz with the London Symphony Orchestra (both recorded for LSO Live); King Marke in Tristan und Isolde at Festival de Opera de Coruña; König Heinrich in Lohengrin with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. He has worked with some of the most distinguished conductors of our time including Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Valery Gergiev, Donald Runnicles, Sir Neville Marriner, Daniel Harding, Sir Andrew Davies and the late Sir Colin Davis.

Saks can be heard in recording, including Abbott in Curlew River (Philips); the Gravedigger in Weill’s Silbersee (BMG); the title role in Handel’s Hercules conducted by Minkowski (Deutsche Grammophon); Handel’s Saul with Rene Jacobs, which won a Gramophone Award. Saks has also recorded John Claggart in Britten’s Billy Budd with the London Symphony Orchestra, which won a Grammy Award for the Best Opera Performance, and Schönberg’s Gurre-lieder with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Susanna Mälkki.

Saks was born in Israel and brought up in South Africa. He trained at the Royal Northern College of Music, University of Toronto and subsequently Zurich Opera Studio. He was a visiting Professor of Voice at the Conservatoire of Ghent in Belgium. Offstage he is a dedicated director/designer and teacher.

© CSAM, July 2022

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