James Morris

Biography

Born: January 10, 1947  
Morris has become the most noted Wotan of the turn of the century, known for his acting as well as a musical approach that emphasizes the legato, even lyrical parts of the role. His voice has a strong upper extension that allows him to tackle such baritone roles and Scarpia in Puccini's Tosca and Mozart's Don Giovanni to critical acclaim.

Appropriately enough, his two main teachers were a baritone and a bass. Morris, a native of
Read more Baltimore, first studied with Forrest Barrett, and then won the first voice scholarship that the University of Maryland offered. However, at the advice of his mentor (and distant in-law), Rosa Ponselle, who recognized his potential but did not think that she herself would be the best teacher for him, he instead enrolled at the Peabody Conservatory, and continued his studies with Frank Valentino there. After some time there, he continued his studies at the Philadelphia Academy of Vocal Arts with Nicola Moscona.

He first performed on stage with the Baltimore Civic Opera Company, and advanced in 1967 to the Baltimore Opera, making his debut there as Crespel in Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann. In 1970, he had his first Metropolitan Opera audition, though he turned down the subsequent offer to join their Opera Studio. Moscona, who himself had had a long Met career, persuaded the management to re-audition Morris for the regular company, and this time he was offered a contract for 1971, and he made his debut as the King in Verdi's Aida. He made his Glyndebourne Festival debut as Banquo in Verdi's Macbeth.

In 1976, again at the Baltimore Opera, he created the role of King Alfonso in Pasatieri's Ines de Castro. He began to study Wagnerian roles, first Wotan in Die Walküre and the Dutchman, and made his Vienna State Opera debut as Wotan in 1984. In 1985, he took on the role of Wotan for the entire Ring cycle in San Francisco, to great acclaim, and followed that success in many other productions worldwide.

He recorded the complete Ring cycle with James Levine on DG (445 354), and an aria recital disc on EMI (49287) gives selections from Verdi as well as two selections from The Flying Dutchman and Die Walküre. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 69 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Stravinsky Complete Edition [30-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002398272 Release Date: 10/23/2015   Number of Discs: 30
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky
    Performer:  Felicity Palmer,  Ian Caley,  Phyllis Bryn-Julson,  John Tomlinson  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Riccardo Chailly,  Claudio Abbado,  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $191.98
    CD: $182.99
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  • 2.
    Wagner: Der Fliegende Hollander / Levine, Voigt, Heppner, Morris, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra & Chorus
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88697448222 Release Date: 08/14/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jan-Hendrik Rootering,  Deborah Voigt,  James Morris,  Ben Heppner  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    CD: $14.99
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  • 3.
    Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte / Muti, Battle, Marshall, Murray, Araiza
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 109100 Release Date: 06/30/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Kathleen Battle,  Margaret Marshall,  James Morris,  Ann Murray  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus Konzertvereinigung
    DVD: $18.99
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  • 4.
    Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte / Muti, Battle, Marshall, Murray, Araiza [blu-ray]
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 109101 Release Date: 06/30/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Kathleen Battle,  Margaret Marshall,  James Morris,  Ann Murray  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus Konzertvereinigung
    Blu-ray Video: $18.99
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  • 5.
    Verdi: Otello /  Fleming, Botha, Struckmann, Bychkov, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002323609 Release Date: 05/04/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  James Morris,  Falk Struckmann,  Johan Botha,  Renée Fleming  ... 
    Conductor:  Semyon Bychkov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    DVD: $24.99
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  • 6.
    Verdi: Otello /  Fleming, Botha, Struckmann, Bychkov, Metropolitan Opera [blu-ray]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002323759 Release Date: 05/04/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Eduardo Valdés,  Luthando Qave,  Michael Fabiano,  Renée Fleming  ... 
    Conductor:  Semyon Bychkov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $40.99
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  • 7.
    Seiji Ozawa - The Philips Years: Original Jacket Collection [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002185602 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Mariko Kobayashi,  Everett Firth,  Hiroshi Arimori,  Sawako Yasue  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Saito Kinen Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $175.49
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  • 8.
    Beethoven: Complete Symphonies / Muti, Philadelphia
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 627829 Release Date: 09/02/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Cheryl Studer,  Delores Ziegler,  Peter Seiffert,  James Morris
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Westminster Choir
    Recommendation
    CD: $26.99
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  • 9.
    Verdi: Macbeth / Paskalis, Morris, Barstow, Pritchard
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 102316 Release Date: 06/25/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Kostas Paskalis,  Keith Erwen,  Josephine Barstow,  James Morris  ... 
    Conductor:  John Pritchard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Glyndebourne Festival Chorus
    DVD: $19.99
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  • 10.
    Wagner: Complete Operas [43-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001786402 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 43
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Don Garrard,  Elisabeth Gale,  Della Jones,  April Cantelo  ... 
    Conductor:  Edward Downes,  Heinrich Hollreiser,  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Sir Georg Solti  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Northern Symphony,  BBC Northern Singers,  Leipzig Radio Chorus  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD: $134.49
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  • 11.
    The Essential Wagner
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 973399 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Siegfried Jerusalem,  Peter Haage,  Nicolai Gedda,  Reiner Goldberg  ... 
    Conductor:  Robert Heger,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Klaus Tennstedt,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Chorus,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 12.
    Mozart: The Da Ponte Operas / Muti, Vienna Philharmonic
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 04463 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Maria Bierbaumber,  Franco De Grandis,  Elisabeth Kudrna-Schrei,  Thomas Allen  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus Konzertvereinigung
    CD: $43.99
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  • 13.
    Voices Of German Opera
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 40497 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Heinrich Marschner  ... 
    Performer:  Natalie Dessay,  Edda Moser,  Kurt Moll,  Walter Berry  ... 
    Conductor:  Louis Langrée,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Berislav Klobucar,  Rudolf Moralt  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment,  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra,  Berlin Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 14.
    Massenet Edition [23-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001693202 Release Date: 07/03/2012   Number of Discs: 23
    Composer:  Jules Massenet
    Performer:  Régine Crespin,  Gabriel Bacquier,  Michčle Command,  Nicolai Ghiaurov  ... 
    Conductor:  Kazimierz Kord,  Richard Bonynge,  Julius Rudel,  Enrique Diemecke  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Radio Chorus,  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $85.99
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  • 15.
    The Mahler Project / Michael Tilson Thomas, San Francisco Symphony
    Label: San Francisco Symphony   Catalog: 39 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler
    Performer:  Isabel Bayrakdarian,  Lorraine Hunt Lieberson,  Michelle DeYoung,  Alexander Barantschik  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Tilson Thomas
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  San Francisco Symphony Chorus,  San Francisco Girls Chorus  ... 
    Recommendation
    SuperAudio CD: $274.99
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  • 16.
    Beethoven: Complete Symphonies / Muti, Philadelphia Orchestra
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 97946 Release Date: 08/09/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Cheryl Studer,  Delores Ziegler,  Peter Seiffert,  James Morris  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Westminster Choir
    Recommendation
    On sale! $27.98
    CD: $24.99
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  • 17.
    Verdi: Simon Boccanegra / Levine, Pieczonka, Giordani, Domingo, Morris, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 80664 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Marcello Giordani,  Adrianne Pieczonka,  James Morris
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    On sale!
    DVD: $27.99
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  • 18.
    Essential Beethoven
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 95445 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  James Morris,  Jeremy Menuhin,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Siegfried Rudolf Frese  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  Kurt Sanderling,  Herbert von Karajan,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melos Ensemble London,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
    CD: $12.99
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  • 19.
    Essential Wagner
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 88597 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jon Vickers,  Helga Dernesch,  Christa Ludwig,  Siegfried Jerusalem  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Bernard Haitink,  Mariss Jansons
    CD: $12.99
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  • 20.
    James Morris Sings Verdi and Wagner / Weikert, Munich RSO
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 49287 Release Date: 12/16/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  James Morris
    Conductor:  Ralf Weikert
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Recommendation
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 21.
    Puccini: La Boheme / Levine, Stratas, Carreras, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001347209 Release Date: 10/27/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Teresa Stratas,  José Carreras,  Renata Scotto,  James Morris  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    Recommendation
    DVD: $27.49
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  • 22.
    Thomas: Hamlet / Bonynge, Sutherland, Milnes, Morris
    Label: London/Decca Grand Opera Series   Catalog: 433857 Release Date: 09/21/2009   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Ambroise Thomas
    Performer:  Peyo Garazzi,  Arwel Huw Morgan,  John Tomlinson,  Keith Lewis  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Welsh National Opera Orchestra,  Welsh National Opera Chorus
    Recommendation
    On sale! $33.98
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  • 23.
    Wagner: Siegfried / Haitink, Jerusalem, Marton, Morris
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 54290 Release Date: 08/07/2009   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jadwiga Rappé,  Siegfried Jerusalem,  Peter Haage,  James Morris  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Recommendation
    On sale! $39.98
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  • 24.
    Wagner: Die Walkure Highlights / Haitink, Marton, Morris
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 54328 Release Date: 07/22/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Eva Martón,  James Morris,  Carolyn Watkinson,  Margarita Lilowa  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Recommendation
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 25.
    Mozart At The Salzburg Festival - Die Zauberflote, Cosi Fan Tutte, La Clemenza Di Tito
    Label: Tdk   Catalog: 5 Release Date: 05/26/2009   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Ann Murray,  James Morris,  Margaret Marshall,  Kathleen Battle  ... 
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti,  James Levine,  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus Konzertvereinigung,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    Recommendation
    DVD: $58.99
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