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
Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg / Levine, Heppner, Mattila, Morris, et al
Release Date: 01/11/2005   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 000345509   Number of Discs: 2
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Wagner: Siegfried / Levine, Goldberg, Zednik, Morris, Et Al
Release Date: 03/10/1992   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 429407   Number of Discs: 4
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Wagner: Der Fliegende Holländer / Levine, Morris, Et Al
Release Date: 04/15/1997   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 66342   Number of Discs: 2
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Verdi: Aida / Levine, Millo, Domingo, Morris, Ramey, Zajick
Release Date: 04/19/1991   Label: Sony  
Catalog: 45973   Number of Discs: 3
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Massenet: Le Roi De Lahore / Bonynge, Sutherland, Lima, Milnes, Morris
Release Date: 01/19/1993   Label: London/Decca Grand Opera Series  
Catalog: 433851   Number of Discs: 2
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Browse 26-50 of 69 Available Recordings
1 2 3
  • 26.
    Verdi: Macbeth / Sinopoli, Bruson, Zampieri
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 48 Release Date: 03/31/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  David Griffith,  James Morris,  Mara Zampieri,  Renato Bruson  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
    On sale! $29.99
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  • 27.
    Bellini: Norma Act 1 / Monserrat Caballe
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4465 Release Date: 01/27/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jules Massenet,  Manuel Nieto,  Ruperto Chapi,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Miguel Zanetti,  Montserrat Caballé,  James Morris,  Margreta Elkins  ... 
    Conductor:  Enrique Garcia-Asensio
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Spanish Radio/TV Chorus,  Spanish Radio/TV Orchestra
    DVD: $28.99
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  • 28.
    Wagner: The Ring (Highlights) / Haitink, Bavarian Rso, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics For Pleasure   Catalog: 28377 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Eva Martón,  Johannes Ritzkowsky,  Siegfried Jerusalem,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $5.99
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  • 29.
    Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen / Haitink, Morris, Marton, Jerusalem, Adam
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 19479 Release Date: 05/27/2008   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Christine Hagen,  Jane Eaglen,  Eva-Maria Bundschuh,  Theo Adam  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Bavarian Radio Chorus
    Recommendation
    On sale! $95.99
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  • 30.
    Berlioz: Roméo et Juliette, Les nuits d'été / Levine, Von Otter
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 427665 Release Date: 12/26/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz
    Performer:  Philip Langridge,  Anne Sofie von Otter,  James Morris
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Chamber Chorus,  Ernst Senff Chamber Choir
    Recommendation
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  • 31.
    Wagner: Die Walküre Highlights / Levine, Behrens, Morris
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 427359 Release Date: 09/17/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  James Morris,  Hildegard Behrens,  Jessye Norman,  Gary Lakes
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 32.
    Best Beethoven 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 97307 Release Date: 07/31/2007   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Eric Heidsieck,  Paul Tortelier,  Stephen Kovacevich,  Siegfried Rudolf Frese  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Wolfgang Sawallisch,  Riccardo Muti,  Jeffrey Tate  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Nash Ensemble  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 33.
    Stravinsky: Oedipus Rex / Levine, Langridge, Quivar, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 435872 Release Date: 07/09/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky
    Performer:  Jan-Hendrik Rootering,  Donald Kaasch,  James Morris,  Jules Bastin  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Chorus
    Recommendation
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  • 34.
    Glyndebourne Diamonds - Five Great Opera Productions
    Label: Arthaus Musik   Catalog: 101109 Release Date: 06/26/2007   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Claudio Monteverdi,  Igor Stravinsky
    Performer:  Reni Penkova,  Max René Cosotti,  Ugo Trama,  Bernard Dickerson  ... 
    Conductor:  John Pritchard,  Bernard Haitink,  Raymond Leppard
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Glyndebourne Festival Chorus,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 35.
    The Gold & Silver Gala / Domingo, Alagna, Croft, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 56337 Release Date: 05/07/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Lehár,  Jules Massenet,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Roberto Alagna,  Angela Gheorghiu,  Leontina Vaduva  ... 
    Conductor:  Asher Fisch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra
    Recommendation
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  • 36.
    Wagner: Das Rheingold / Haitink, Morris, Lipovsek, Zednik
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 58699 Release Date: 10/17/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Julie Kaufmann,  Kurt Rydl,  Marjana Lipovsek,  Silvia Herman  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Recommendation
    On sale! $23.98
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  • 37.
    Wagner: Die Walküre / Haitink, Martón, Studer, Salminen
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 58705 Release Date: 10/17/2006   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Matti Salminen,  James Morris,  Cheryl Studer,  Reiner Goldberg  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $20.99
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  • 38.
    Verdi: Luisa Miller / Levine, Scotto, Domingo, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000707009 Release Date: 09/12/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Jean Kraft,  Sherrill Milnes,  Renata Scotto,  Placido Domingo  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
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  • 39.
    Best Film Classics 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 70900 Release Date: 08/29/2006   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Pachelbel  ... 
    Performer:  André Saint-Clivier,  Wayne Marshall,  Maria Tipo,  Andrei Gavrilov  ... 
    Conductor:  Louis Auriacombe,  Sir David Willcocks,  Jerzy Maksymiuk,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toulouse Chamber Orchestra,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 40.
    Essential Choral Classics
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000691802 Release Date: 06/13/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Orff,  George Frideric Handel,  Gregorio Allegri,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Roy Goodman,  Alastair Hussain,  Bryn Terfel,  Norma Burrowes  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Sir David Willcocks,  Stephen Cleobury,  Paul Daniel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  Montreal Symphony Chamber Choir,  FACE Treble Choir  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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  • 41.
    Metropolitan Opera Gala - James Levine's 25th Anniversary
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000460209 Release Date: 11/22/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Charles Gounod,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Renée Fleming,  Dame Kiri Te Kanawa,  Jerry Hadley,  Bryn Terfel  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    DVD: $43.99
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  • 42.
    James Levine - Documents Of The Munich Years Vol 8
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 508 Release Date: 11/17/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  James Morris,  Linda Watson,  Birgitta Svendén,  Ben Heppner
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $29.99
    CD: $23.99
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  • 43.
    James Levine - Documents Of The Munich Years
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 509 Release Date: 08/01/2005   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Charles Ives,  John Harbison  ... 
    Performer:  Ben Heppner,  James Morris,  Linda Watson,  Birgitta Svendén  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra,  Munich Philharmonic Choir,  Bamberg Symphony Chorus
    On sale! $79.99
    CD: $63.99
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  • 44.
    Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg / Levine, Heppner, Mattila, Morris, et al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000345509 Release Date: 01/11/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  René Pape,  Thomas Allen,  Matthew Polenzani,  Karita Mattila  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    Recommendation
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  • 45.
    Verdi: Otello / Levine, Domingo, Fleming, Morris, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000210709 Release Date: 04/13/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Renée Fleming,  Richard Croft,  James Morris,  Placido Domingo
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Chorus,  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 46.
    Hallelujah - 35 Great Sacred Choruses
    Label: Sparrow Records   Catalog: 96561 Release Date: 03/23/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  John Tavener,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  John Rutter  ... 
    Performer:  Andrew Lucas,  James Morris,  Benjamin Bayl,  John Wallace  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Philip Ledger,  David Hill,  Sir Neville Marriner,  John Scott  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble,  Cambridge King's College Choir,  Winchester Cathedral Choir  ... 
    CD: $19.99
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  • 47.
    Wagner: Das Rheingold / Levine, Morris, Ludwig, Jerusalem
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 073036 Release Date: 11/12/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Jan-Hendrik Rootering,  Birgitta Svendén,  Ekkehard Wlaschiha,  Christa Ludwig  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 48.
    Wagner: Der Ring Des Nibelungen / Levine, Metropolitan Opera
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 073043 Release Date: 11/12/2002   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Gary Lakes,  Matti Salminen,  Jessye Norman,  Hildegard Behrens  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Metropolitan Opera Chorus
    Recommendation
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  • 49.
    Wagner: Die Walküre / Levine, Norman, Ludwig. Behrens, Lakes
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 073049 Release Date: 11/12/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Christa Ludwig,  Jessye Norman,  Gary Lakes,  James Morris  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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  • 50.
    Wagner: Siegfried / Levine, Jerusalem, Zednik, Morris
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 073037 Release Date: 11/12/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner
    Performer:  Heinz Zednik,  James Morris,  Siegfried Jerusalem,  Ekkehard Wlaschiha  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
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