Peter Coleman-Wright

© Adam Ulrich


Peter Coleman-Wright has performed throughout the worlds great Opera Houses, including The Metropolitan Opera, New York, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, English National Opera (most recently in the title role of Glanert’s Caligula) and the Glyndebourne Festival. He created the roles of John in Johnathan Harvey’s Inquest of Love, Colin in David Blake’s The Plumbers Gift and Harry Joy in Brett Dean’s Bliss which he performed in Australia and at the Edinburgh Festival.

He has sung in the opera houses of Paris, Bordeaux, Munich, Amsterdam, Geneva, Milan, Florence and at the Aix-en Provence and Bregenz Festivals. In North America he has sung in Houston, Santa Fe, New York (City Opera) and Vancouver.

For his native Australia he has sung Scarpia, Macbeth, Mandryka, Don Giovanni, Il Conte, Germont, Billy Budd, Balstrode, Pizzaro, Onegin, Golaud, and Sweeney Todd, winning the Helpmann Award for Best actor in a Musical.

As a concert artist he has performed in all the major venues throughout the world, most notably at the BBC Proms, the South Bank Centre. Barbican Centre and Wigmore Hall in London, Avery Fisher Hall, New York, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Sydney Opera House and Melbourne Concert Hall and he has recorded extensively for Telarc, Chandos, Hyperion, and EMI.

He was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Melbourne, and was awarded the Order of Australia in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours.


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    Ballads of the Pleasant Life - Kurt Weill, Weimar and Exile

    Label: ABC Classics

    Release Date: 19 May 17

    ” … it too is a collection of Weimar Republic numbers, sung here by Australian baritone Peter Coleman-Wright. He really can do it all, whether luxuriating in Weill’s long lyrical lines or reeling off the names of Russian composers in the hysterical “Tchaikovsky”, from the Weill/Ira Gershwin musical Lady in the Dark. He throws in a wonderful “Ballad of Mack the Knife”, beginning austerely with a simple piano backing, switching to English half way through to the accompaniment of jaunty saxes.

    Quite magical: I challenge anyone not to be bowled over by this disc.”

    Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk, 30 September 2017

    Peter Coleman-Wright, baritone
    Nexas Quartet
    Benjamin Burton, piano

    Peter Coleman-Wrightsteps off the world’s opera stages to present a rare recording of music close to his heart: the remarkable songs written as the Weimar Republic descended into Nazism in the 1920 and ‘30s, by composers at home in Germany and Austria who were then forced to flee into exile. These songs capture the spirit of the times: defiant, soulful and searching, but also capable of moments of exuberant joy and hope. This title includes songs by Weill, Eisler, Korngold and Schönburg.

    “Coleman-Wright, that consummate operatic singer-actor, brings his dazzling stage skills to the fore in the hilarious catalogue of Russian composers collated in Tschaikowsky as well as the overripe morsel of Arnold Schoenberg, Dank.”
    Vincent Plush, The Australian, 1 July 2017

    “Coleman-Wright is a wonderful actor-singer best known from the opera house. Here he brings his baritone to propaganda songs such as Eisler’s Song of the Miners (“Digging for coal is like digging your own grave”), and comic and romantic roles. His Mack the Knife, sung in German, is the smoothest of criminals, his knife hidden ­behind a cloak of charm.”
    Matthew Westwood, The Australian, 18 July 2017

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    Persuasion & Seduction

    Label: ABC Classics

    Release Date: 01 Dec 12

    A collection of gorgeous operatic duets sung by husband and wife, Cheryl Barker and Peter Coleman-Wright
    Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
    Martin Andre

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    BEETHOVEN: Fidelio

    Label: GFOCD 004-06

    Release Date: 01 Nov 12

    Jaquino: Andrew Kennedy
    Marzelline: Lisa Milne
    Rocco: Brindley Sherratt
    Leonore: Anja Kampe
    Don Pizarro: Peter Coleman-Wright
    First Prisoner: Nathan Vale
    Second Prisoner: Anthony Cleverton
    Florestan: Torsten Kerl
    Don Fernando: Henry Waddington

    London Philharmonic Orchestra
    The Glyndebourne Chorus
    Mark Elder

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    BERLIOZ: Benvenuto Cellini

    Label: LSO0623

    Release Date: 01 Oct 12

    Cellini: Gregory Kunde
    Teresa: Laura Claycomb
    Balducci; Darren Jeffery
    Fieramosca: Peter Coleman-Wright
    Francesco; Andrew Kennedy
    Ascanio: Isabelle Cals
    Pompeo: Jacques Imbrallo
    Pope Clement VII: John Relyea
    Bernardino: Andrew Foster-Williams
    Cabaretier: Alasdair Elliott

    London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
    Sir Colin Davis

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    BRITTEN: Owen Wingrave, Op. 85

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 01 Sep 12

    Owen Wingrave: Peter Coleman-Wright
    Spencer Coyle: Alan Opie
    Lechmere: James Gilchrist
    Miss Wingrave: Elizabeth Connell
    Mrs Coyle: Janice Watson
    Mrs Julian: Sarah Fox
    Kate: Pamela Helen Stephen
    General Sir Philip Wingrave, Narrator: Robin Leggate

    Tiffin Boys’ Choir
    City of London Sinfonia
    Richard Hickox

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    BRITTEN: Paul Bunyan, Op. 17

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 01 Jul 12

    Swede I: Neil Gillespie
    Swede II: Neil Griffiths
    Swede III: Christopher Lackner
    Swede IV: Jonathan Coad
    Tiny: Susan Gritton
    Fido: Lillian Watson
    Moppet: Pamela Helen Stephen
    Poppet: Leah-Marian Jones
    Johnny Inkslinger: Kurt Streit
    Hot Biscuit Slim, a good cook: Timothy Robinson 
    Sam Sharkey, 1st bad cook: Francis Egerton
    Western Union Boy: Henry Moss
    Narrator: Peter Coleman-Wright 
    John Shears: Roderick Earle
    Ben Benny, 2nd bad cook: Graeme Broadbent
    Hel Helson: Jeremy White
    Paul Bunyan: Kenneth Cranham

    Royal Opera House Chorus, Covent Garden; Royal Opera House Orchestra, Covent Garden
    Richard Hickox

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    DELIUS: Fennimore and Gerda

    Label: Chandos

    Release Date: 01 Jul 12

    Fennimore: Randi Stene
    Gerda: Judith Howarth
    Marit: Helle Charlotte Pedersen
    Ingrid: Susse Lillesшe
    Lila: Marianne Lund
    Mrs Claudi: Annette Simonsen
    Erik Refstrup: Mark Tucker
    Voice across the water: Gert Henning-Jensen
    Tutor: Finn Bielenberg
    Niels Lyhne: Peter Coleman-Wright 
    Town Councillor: Bo Anker Hansen
    Distiller: Peter Fog
    Councillor Skinnerup: Stefan Cushion
    Consul Claudi: Aage Haugland
    Sportsman: Michael W. Hansen

    Danish National Radio Choir
    Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Richard Hickox

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    26 Oct 19 WILDHORN Jekyll & Hyde
    Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne

    “Coleman-Wright brought a gravitas to the role of Jekyll’s supporter and Lisa’s father Sir Danvers Carew and his gorgeous baritone soared whenever he was on stage.”

    Reuben Liversidge, Arts Hub, 31 October 2019

    “Opera baritone Peter Coleman-Wright is exceptional as the patrician Sir Danvers, conveying just the right level of gravitas, authority and concern for his daughter – musical theatre should snap him up.”

    Jo Litson, Limelight Magazine, 27 October 2019

    “…renowned baritone Peter Coleman-Wright, still in excellent voice, gives Sir Danvers Carew the requisite air of austerity.”

    Simon Parris, Simon Parris: Man in Chair, 26 October 2019

    “…opera heavyweight Peter Coleman-Wright gives the necessary gravity to the role with his rich deep vocals.”

    Jade Kops, Broadway World, 5 November 2019

    Peter Coleman-Wright as Lisa’s father and Jekyll’s champion, Sir Danvers Carew, and Alex Rathgeber as the officious Simon Stride, Secretary to the Hospital Board, were…rock-solid in the execution of their roles, and it was a pleasure to watch them perform.”
    Alex Armstrong, Stage Whispers

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    16 Oct 18 Brett Dean: The Last Days of Socrates Sydney Symphony Orchestra
    Sydney Opera House

    “The first part, Prelude – Goddess Athena, was a meditation building from low rustling string sounds to an impressive mass of “white noise” from full choir and instruments, while the second part used a split choir to represent Socrates’ trial in rhythmically tussling dialogue against the plain and immensely eloquent vocal presence of Coleman-Wright.”
    The Sydney Morning Herald, October 2018

    The balance was more effective in Part II, Socrates’ trial, aided by Dean’s thoughtful orchestration. Baritone Peter Coleman-Wright, who sung the role of Socrates in the work’s Australian premiere, gave us a dignified Socrates – he found clarity and dark gravitas in his vocal lines as he traced Socrates’ thoughts on life and death (railing with firm authority against “the worthless life unexamined”), beset by chorus groupings representing both his followers and his accusers, the latter charging impiety and corrupting the youth of Athens. Particularly powerful here was the final vote – the jury’s casting of coins into terracotta vessels a brutal, metallic crescendo.
    Limelight Magazine, October 2018

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    31 May 18 Mozart Così Fan Tutte
    Opera Holland Park

    “Coleman-Wright’s stiff self-important demeanour and hard edged vocal delivery did not shy away from the character’s unpleasantness and created a thoroughly credible character…”

    Carol Metcalfe, Limelight, 07 June 2018

    “As for Peter Coleman-Wright, he presents Don Alfonso very much as the gruff old puppet master. That works a treat in his character scenes…”

    Mark Valencia, What’s on Stage, 04 June 2018

    “During ‘Soave sia il vento’ he looks just as genuinely sad as the women are that the men should be departing for war, while still making it clear that he alone of the three is putting on an act. Similarly, when the men ‘poison’ themselves his own face shares their pain and sorrow, and he is actually more convincing than they are because he is the more skilled at deceiving”

    Sam Smith, Music OMH, 03 June 2018

    [Peter Coleman-Wright] “brought important dramatic truths to his portrayal of Don Alfonso”

    Mark Berry, Opera Today, 03 June 2018

    “Peter Coleman-Wright’s Don Alfonso was a bit of a manipulator and clearly a bit of a rough diamond. You wonder why the two young men go along with Don Alfonso’s schemes, yet Coleman-Wright’s strong sense of personality made the whole thing believable.”

    ★★★★ Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill, 01 June 2018

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    16 Jun 17 WEILL, EISLER, KORNGOLD & SCHÖNBERG Nexas Quartet, Benjamin Burton: piano
    Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide

    “no show about the Weimar Republic has ever featured a line-up as unusual as this: One of Australia’s most distinguished opera singers, baritone Peter Coleman-Wright, accompanied by Nexas, a Sydney-based saxophone quartet.

    As odd as it sounds, the show actually works for two very good reasons.

    The first is Nexas Quartet, who play their instruments extremely well and perform the entire show — lasting about an hour and featuring some quite sophisticated arrangements — from memory.

    Rather than sitting down and reading music, they are able to move about freely and speak on behalf of some the era’s leading composers.

    The second reason is Coleman-Wright, a fine artist who immerses himself convincingly in the spirit of the songs, mostly sung in German, occasionally accompanying himself at the piano.

    His approach is more mellow than Robyn Archer’s, perhaps because the songs he selected are mostly less bitter and politically charged; he even finds room for some schmaltzy, beautifully sung love-songs by Robert Stolz and Franz Schreker.”

    Stephen Whittington, The Advertiser, June 16, 2017

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    28 May 17 WEILL, EISLER, KORNGOLD & SCHÖNBERG Nexas Quartet, Benjamin Burton: piano
    Independent Theatre, North Sydney

    Coleman-Wright, whose dark tone matched the sound of the saxophones almost too well, gave the more serious songs drama and gravitas, but he also showed a lighter side, demonstrating incredible diction in Weill’s patter song Tschaikowsky, from the 1941 Broadway musical Lady in the Dark, which he dispatched with crisp precision and resonant flair.
    Angus McPherson, Limelight Magazine, 29 May 2017

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    03 Mar 17 ADAMS: 'Nixon in China' Los Angeles Philharmonic/John Adams
    Walt Disney Concert Hall

    “Henry Kissinger, who accompanied the Nixons on their historic visit, is a smaller role but Peter Coleman-Wright leaves a mighty impression.”
    Tony Frankel, Stage and Cinema, 6 March 2017

    “In profile, baritone Peter Coleman-Wright looked uncannily like the real Henry Kissinger, seeming less of a sinister presence than has been the case in previous productions.”
    Richard S Ginell, Los Angeles Times, 4 March 2017

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    13 May 16 Iain Bell In Parenthesis
    Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

    “Peter Coleman-Wright and Alexandra Deshorties (Bards of Britannia, Germania and more) steered the narrative with aplomb.”
    Steph Power, The Independent, 15 May 2016

    “Peter Coleman-Wright with his warm and assuring baritone..”
    Theatre and Arts

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    04 Apr 14 Glanert Caligula
    Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires

    “Australian baritone, Peter Coleman-Wright, was an excellent Caligula, unhinged by the various modes of folly the tyrant displayed. He had immense charisma and a powerful voice.”
    ConcertoNet / April 2014

    “Peter Coleman-Wright gave a masterly performance as Caligula, effectively conveying the perversity and absurdity of the character.”
    SeenandHeard / Jonathan Spencer Jones / April 2014

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    Peter Coleman-Wright wins performance of the year

    “The Performance of the Year category of the Australasian Art Music Awards 2014 was awarded to Peter Coleman-Wright (soloist), Simone Young (conductor), the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Chorus for Brett Dean and Graeme Ellis’s “The Last Days of Socrates” (2012).”
    Australian Music Centre

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    29 Jul 13 Brett Dean Socrates
    Melbourne Symphony Orchestra/Emanuelle Haïm, Hamer Hall

    “Peter Coleman-Wright sang the demanding part of Socrates with an assurance that must spring, at least partly, from his earlier collaboration with Dean on his opera, Bliss.”
    Heather Leviston, Arts Hub, 29 July 2013