James Laing

Countertenor

James Laing
REVIEWS

St John Passion / Academy of Ancient Music

“Instead of an alto or contralto, the young countertenor James Laing sang ‘Von den Stricken meiner Sünden” and “Es ist vollbracht!’ The latter became an exquisite dialogue with the viola da gamba of Reiko Ichise and was a highlight of the second half.”

Musical Criticism

 


St John Passion / Irish Chamber Orchestra

“In Bach's reflective arias, soprano Sylvia O'Brien is quietly radiant, with counter-tenor James Laing having aesthete tonal beauty like polished white marble.”

Irish Independent

 

Apollo: Death in Venice / Opéra de Nice

"James Laing conveyed perfectly the reason for the interventions of Apollo: an invitation to another world."

ConcertoNet

 

"The countertenor James Laing is an Apollo full of presence and aplomb."

Forum Opéra

 

"(Apollo) Is sung by the countertenor James Laing, impressively flexible of voice, and whose terrific projection means he has no trouble being heard even though much of the role is offstage."

ResMusica

 


Oberon: A Midsummer Night’s Dream / Garsington Opera

“The talented young singers all deserve mention. Space allows only one accolade: counter-tenor James Laing (Oberon), who was heart-stopping in "I know a bank".

The Guardian

 

“As Oberon, the countertenor James Laing was vocally and dramatically in a top league.”

Opera

 

“…beautifully done, with the charisma of a young-romantic hero.”

Opera Now

 


Oberon: A Midsummer Night’s Dream / Opera North

“The compelling young countertenor James Laing is becoming quite a master of sinister, ethereally pitched roles: he was outstanding as the Fox in Opera North's recent Pinocchio and is no less compelling here as an androgynously alien Oberon, his voice as sharp and scintillating as the diamante sarong and skull cap he is given to wear.”

The Guardian

 

“Their emotional mutations are engineered by James Laing’s cool countertenor Oberon…”

The Independent on Sunday

 

“James Laing’s Oberon and Jeni Bern’s scintillating Tytania command the stage and their magical kingdom.”

The Stage

 

“One of today’s most exciting young countertenors, James Laing makes a vocally highly imposing Oberon.”

YorkshirePost

 

Oberon: A Midsummer Night’s Dream / Opera North 2013 Revival

“…Laing’s imposing Oberon is light-toned vocally but sufficiently eerie-sounding to raise one’s neck hairs.”

The Arts Desk

 

“There's a tangible erotic charge between James Laing's handsome, androgynous Oberon and Daniel Abelson's feral Puck…Laing and (Jeni) Bern are both outstanding in their roles.”

The Guardian

 

“James Laing’s Oberon was properly authoritative, with ‘I know a bank’ the highlight of the evening.”

Opera

 

Hamlet: The Firework Maker’s Daughter

“James Laing’s ethereal countertenor seems curiously suited to the plight of a pining white elephant.”

The Guardian

 


Cupid / Nerillus: L’Ormindo / Royal Opera, London

“James Laing was the most engaging performer as the comic page…”

Opera Now

 

“…mention must be made of James Laing (countertenor) as the page Nerillus/Cupid for both his elegant even tone and apparent insouciance as he hung suspended in pink and gold tutu from the flies.”

Opera Today

 

"Counter-tenor James Laing, in addition to appearing as a camp L’Amour in a heart-shaped tutu, was impressive as the page Nerillus."

Seen and Heard International

 

“Countertenor James Laing as Love sings immaculately, even when suspended above the stage in a tutu.”

Sunday Express

 

Fox: The Adventures of Pinocchio / Opus Arte DVD

“…the seductive villains of James Laing and Mark Wilde…”

Opera

 

“...winningly sung by Victoria Simmonds (Pinocchio), Jonathan Summers (Geppetto), Mary Plazas (The Blue Fairy), Rebecca Bottone (Cricket), Mark Wilde (Cat), James Laing (Fox), Graeme Broadbent (Ringmaster) and Allan Clayton (Lampwick)...”

The Independent on Sunday

 


Fox: The Adventures of Pinocchio Revival / Opera North

“The purity of Laing's counter tenor giving his role a sinister edge…”

Opera Britannia

 


The Refugee: Flight / Opera Holland Park

“Laing gets better with every passing season, but this is a role that suits him especially well, showcasing not only his growing power but also his presence – carrying, almost alone, the opera’s closing twist of the dramatic knife.”

The Arts Desk

 

“James Laing’s countertenor was phenomenally beautiful to listen to as the Refugee. He projected with great power, but his soft singing – especially his narration towards the opera’s end – had an ethereal beauty.”

Bachtrack

 

“Jennifer France as the Controller, with her stratospheric soprano, and counter-tenor James Laing as the otherworldly Refugee are both excellent.”

The Financial Times

 

“I don’t think I have seen or heard a more compelling performance from James Laing (Refugee)…”

Opera

 

“James Laing has a beautiful creamy, unforced countertenor…”

Opera Britannia

 

“James Laing sang with a gorgeously even and creamy tone throughout, and in the opening acts brought a lovely seedy, melancholy down at heel feel to the character. Then in his final recitation he was spellbinding in the way he wove story, text and music into a compelling tragic whole. This was singing of great poise and of real heart…”

Opera Today

 

“The cast is so unwaveringly brilliant it’s almost unfair to single out Jennifer France’s Controller, who cruises effortlessly at superhuman altitudes, and James Laing’s Refugee, sung with vibrancy and resilience.”

The Stage

 

“ I’ve never heard the counter-tenor James Laing do anything better than his touching yet restrained portrayal of the paperless Refugee.”

The Telegraph

 

"Funny and terribly sad, Flight closes as it begins, with our hearts held by the sheer, sweet, vertiginous sounds of (James) Laing and (Jennifer) France in companionable chastity."

The Times

 

“James Laing – astonishing.”

What’s On Stage

 

Raphael: Tobias and the Angel / Chandos CD

”…James Laing bringing just the right ethereal quality to his singing as Raphael.”

Opera

 


Raphael: Tobias and the Angel / English Touring Opera

“His countertenor had no problems with Dove’s winging lines, and every word of David Lan’s libretto came across.”

Opera

 


Raphael: Tobias and the Angel / The Young Vic

"The singing from the soloists is superb, particularly the soaring countertenor of James Laing…”

The Daily Telegraph

 

"James Laing's sublime counter-tenor leaves no doubt of Raphael's origins."

Evening Standard

 

"I was captivated by this show and, no less, by the three central performers...above all, the countertenor James Laing who played the angel / stranger with a streetwise, ultra cool inscrutability – a beautiful beggar poised between heaven and homelessness.”

Opera Now

 


Orfeo: Orfeo ed Euridice / Cannons Scholars

“…an Orfeo sung with great elegant sweetness by James Laing, whose top notes are gorgeous and with no trace of counter-tenor hooting.”

Opera Now

 


Messiah: Royal Northern Sinfonia

“James Laing’s He Was Despised was performed with great feeling and passion.”

The Journal

 

Handel: Messiah / Tafelmusik

“James Laing made a powerful countertenor…”

Globe and Mail

 

Guido: Flavio / English Touring Opera

“Vocally, it's exceptionally strong. Clint van der Linde struts and preens as the king, and James Laing is a wonderfully nerdy, bookish Guido…”

The Stage

 


Nireno: Julius Caesar / English National Opera

“…James Laing sounds sweet and true in the tiny role of Nireno.”

The Independent on Sunday

 


Tolomeo: Giulio Cesare / Opera North

“Countertenor James Laing’s Tolomeo steals the evening…”

The Arts Desk

 

“The steely-toned counter-tenor James Laing is perfectly sinister as Cleopatra’s evil sibling Tolomeo…”

The Guardian

 

“Tall, blonde and handsome, Laing dominated the stage in every scene he was in and depicted a dangerous and predatory villain without any trace of the comedy elements that are so often attributed to this character in other productions. He sang with agility and skill, interpolating high notes in his da capo ornamentation to exciting effect.”

Opera Britannia

 

“James Laing offers a keenly etched portrayal of the treacherous, feline Tolomeo…”

The Stage

 

“…Cleopatra’s brother Tolomeo, memorably portrayed by James Laing.”

The Times

 

“It’s great to see this gifted countertenor given a chance to shine, not just vocally, but also to show he does a neat line in unhinged too.”

Yorkshire Evening Post

 

“Yet it is the excellence of James Laing’s countertenor, in the supposedly weak character of Ptolemy, that produces such a vibrant presence…”

Yorkshire Post

 


Medoro: Orlando / The Early Opera Company

“...Freston’s sweet, shimmering, beautifully mobile, technically faultless soprano and Laing’s serene countertenor stole the show...”

Independent on Sunday

 

"...James Laing, whose extraordinarily limpid, clear countertenor, needle-sharp in diction and intonation, should take him a long way."

Opera Now

 


Alessandro: Tolomeo / The Early Opera Company

“Counter tenor James Laing gave a compelling portrait of Alessandro, the brother tasked with assassinating Tolomeo, but relenting to human, filial compassion. Laing's light, supple tone was particularly warm and appealing.”

Music OMH

 

“Laing sang so beautifully and musically that he made Alessandro a rather more positive character than might be supposed.”

Music & Vision

 

“Countertenor James Laing (Alessandro) was convincing from every aspect.”

Musical Criticism

 

“The other countertenor in the cast was James Laing who sang Alessandro with a sweet, pure and evenly-produced tone.”

Opera Britannia

 


Handelfest / English Touring Opera / Opera

“There are, of course, other strong performances across the five nights: James Laing, particularly compelling as Alessandro in Tolomeo…”

Opera

 


Nero: The Coronation of Poppea / Opera North

“…blond, virile and athletic, prancing around the stage with limitless energy. The voice is terrific, coping brilliantly with Monteverdi’s cruel demands…”

The Arts Desk

 

"(James) Laing’s compelling, beautifully-toned voice makes sure that he dominates his scenes…”

Bachtrack

 

"...the casting of the charismatic counter-tenor James Laing as Nero creates a compelling disconnect between the purity of his voice and the impurity of what he is voicing.”

The Guardian

 

“James Laing is outstanding as Nerone, with a voice much purer than his deeds. He does not neglect to show what it is to be a spoilt despot as well as a lover.”

The Observer

 

“Countertenor James Laing as Nerone exudes an air of danger and for very good reasons. Laing presents an athletic and volatile figure as the Emperor who will stop at absolutely nothing – including murder – to maintain his grip on power. Laing’s icy cold timbre and Piques Eddy’s sensuous dark chocolate tones are well matched in their duets “Signor, deh, non partire!” and the final blissfully sung “Pur ti miro”.”

Opera Britannia

 

"James Laing as Nerone stands out for the expressive colouring of his singing and his soaring upper register"

What’s On Stage

 

Mozart in Italy / Classical Opera Company

“…countertenor James Laing, made a considerable impression. In his Mitridate item he revealed a very smooth counter tenor without any hootiness.  The brisk excerpt from Ascanio in Alba which followed exhibited his fluency in coloratura, remarkable in such a young singer, together with an awareness of the musical structure of the piece.”

Musical Pointers

 

Cheshire Cat: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland / Opera Holland Park

“No self-respecting new opera comes without a counter-tenor these days, but James Laing justifies it this time with his fantastical Cat.”

The Daily Telegraph

 


Zelim: La verita in cimento / Garsington Opera at Wormsley

“…the sweet toned James Laing…”

Financial Times

 

“The timbre is rich, the singing agile and elegant with, in particular, the trills perfectly executed (this has become sufficiently rare to be noted).

Forum Opéra

 

“Laing’s singing was in many ways the most alluring of the evening. He made a thing of beauty of Act 1’s gentle lamento “Tu m’offendi”, the first time a character in the opera looks decisively inwards, with creamily rounded tone and consistently centred tuning.”

Opera Britannia

 

“James Laing produces a beautiful countertenor tone…”

Wall Street Journal

 


Other Shakespearean Dreams / The Liceu, Barcelona

“And the elegant countertenor James Laing sang songs by English composers from the Tudor period with a voice of ineffable beauty and effectiveness.”

La Vanguardia

 

J. S. Bach: B Minor Mass / Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

"The vocal soloists themselves all did good work, but among them the highlight of the evening was countertenor (James) Laing, whose bright and British-trained rendering of the alto solos stole the show, and the ovations reflected that."

ArtsATL



DISCOGRAPHY

Dove Tobias and the Angel (role of Raphael)
Maureen Brathwaite, Karina Lucas, Hyacinth Nicholls, Darren Abrahams,
Rodney Clarke, Omar Ebrahim
The Young Vic Ensemble / David Charles Abell
Chandos CD CHAN 10606

Dove The Adventures of Pinocchio (roles of The Fox / The Coachman)
Victoria Simmonds, Jonathan Summers, Mary Plazas, Rebecca Bottone, Graeme Broadbent, Allan Clayton, Mark Wilde, Carole Wilson
Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North / David Parry
Opus Arte DVD OA 1005D
 

AUDIO / VIDEO
James Laing in Cavalli: L’Ormindo: What a town