Since winning the inaugural Seattle Opera International Wagner competition in 2006, James Rutherford has become renowned for his interpretations of German romantic opera. He has performed Hans Sachs Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg for the Bayreuth Festival (2010, 2011), Wiener Staatsoper, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Oper Köln, San Francisco Opera, Budapest Wagner Festival and Glyndebourne Festival; Wolfram Tannhäuser for San Francisco Opera and Deutsche Oper Berlin; the title role in Der Fliegende Holländer for the Budapest Wagner Festival, Oper Frankfurt and Oper Stuttgart as well as Kurwenal Tristan und Isolde for Washington National Opera. He has also sung Amfortas Parsifal and Holländer with the City of Birmingham Symphony conducted by Andris Nelsons. In 2016 he added Wotan to his repertoire performing the complete Ring cycle at Oper Frankfurt. Since then he has performed Das Rheingold and Die Walküre at the Budapest Wagner Festival and Deutsche Oper am Rhein.
His Strauss roles include Jochanaan Salome at the Wiener Staatsoper, Berlin Staatsoper and Opéra National de Montpellier; Mandryka Arabella with the Dutch National Opera, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Liceu, Barcelona and Oper Frankfurt; Orestes Elektra for Hamburgische Staatsoper and the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Faninal Der Rosenkavalier for Oper Frankfurt. Other appearances include the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Opéra national de Paris and Lyric Opera of Chicago.
In 2009 he began a major association with the Oper Graz singing his first Hans Sachs and returning for Barak Die Frau ohne Schatten, Germont La traviata, Iago Otello, Orestes Elektra, Scarpia Tosca and the title roles in Falstaff and Guillaume Tell. Following a guest contract as Lysiart in a new production of Euryanthe in 2015, James began a long-term relationship with the Oper Frankfurt.
This season’s highlights include Scarpia Tosca and Wanderer Siegfried at Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Wotan Das Rheingold for Hamburgische Staatsoper, Wotan Die Walküre for Oper Frankfurt and Peter Hänsel und Gretel at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
His recordings on the BIS label include a CD of early 20th Century English songs; Wagner arias with Andrew Litton and the Bergen Philharmonic and most recently Schubert Schwanengesang with the pianist Eugene Asti.