British baritone James Cleverton studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) and Zürich Opera's International Opera Studio.
James made his Royal Opera House, Covent Garden debut as Gregorio Romeo et Juliette and his English National Opera début as J Robert Oppenheimer in John Adams' Doctor Atomic conducted by Lawrence Renes. Recent highlights include, a critically acclaimed return to ENO as Horemhab in Philip Glass's Akhnaten, his debut for Garsington Opera as The Commercial Counsellor Intermezzo, a return to the Royal Opera House in Don Carlos and singing the role of Pablo in the UK premiere of Adès's Exterminating Angel, Opera Holland Park as Kyoto in a new production of Mascagni's Iris and his Scottish Opera debut as Dulcamara in a new production of L'Elisir d'Amore.
Previous seasons' have included James in the roles of Marcello La Bohème and Sharpless Madama Butterfly both at the Royal Albert Hall for Raymond Gubbay, Count Asdrubale in Rossini's La Pietra del Paragone for Opernhaus Zürich and Opéra de Rennes, Papageno Die Zauberflöte for Theater Saint Gallen, Il Conte Le Nozze di Figaro, the title role in Don Giovanni and Danilo in Leharʼs The Merry Widow at the Dublin National Concert Hall for Lyric Opera Ireland. Ford Falstaff for Grange Park Opera, Silvio I Pagliacci for English Touring Opera and Hanoi Opera, Escamillo in Carmen, South Africa, Second Apprentice and cover of the title role in Bergʼs Wozzeck for ENO and the Forester The Cunning Little Vixen for the Oundle International Festival. Other roles include Aeneas Dido and Aeneas, Enrico Lucia di Lammermoor, Eisenstein and Falke Die Fledermaus, Malatesta Don Pasquale, Schaunard La Bohème and the title role in Eugene Onegin.
Excelling in the field of contemporary music, James made his début with the Salzburger Festspiele in Alban Bergʼs Lulu under the baton of Marc Albrecht, with further notable engagements including the role of La Mettrie in the world première of Keyner Nit by Steinauer in Luzern and Zürich, John Sorel in Menottiʼs Der Konsul for Zürich Opera and the title role in Schweitzerʼs Jakob von Gunten at the Theater Saint Gallen. Subsequent roles include First Officer in The Death of Klinghoffer for ENO and Chou An-lei in Nixon in China with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra at the Bord Gais Theatre, Dublin. He made his American début in the world première of The Opera Show in Cincinatti and Baltimore, which later toured to the Teatro Arcimboldi, Milan.
Recent highlights on the concert platform include the title role of Elijah, Requiems by Fauré, Brahms, Mozart and Verdi and Carmina Burana. He also appeared as guest soloist in the Classical Spectacular gala concerts for Raymond Gubbay with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall, the Last Night of the Christmas Proms and New Year's Proms in the Bridgewater Hall, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and Birmingham Symphony Hall with the Manchester Concert Orchestra, Second Apprentice Wozzeck with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Donald Runnicles and soloist in the Last Night of the Easter Prom for Raymond Gubbay at the Royal Festival Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
James has performed all the major Gilbert and Sullivan baritone roles for The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company and the International Gilbert and Sullivan Company, notably as the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance at the Savoy Theatre in London's West End. James also makes an appearance as the Mandarin Turandot alongside Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible Rogue Nation.
Current recordings include the role of Sir John Copeland in Rodgers and Hart's Dearest Enemy (New World Records), and the Rabbit in the original cast recording of Will Todd's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Signum Records). James will record the role of Arrostino in Cellier's The Mountebanks with the BBC Concert Orchestra.