March 26, 2020

A message on Coronavirus COVID-19 by James Black Management

Usually, approaching the start of each month, it is exciting to set out the upcoming range of engagements to be undertaken by the artists of James Black Management for the monthly website update. However, these unprecedented circumstances mean that opera houses, concerts halls and other places of public music making and entertainment are closed. The absolute priority has to be the health of the nation, but the consequences of such closures are devastating in their impact on all freelance performers as they see months of preparation and projected income vanish.

It has been moving to see the care promoters have taken in their treatment of their freelance employees as they struggle to make decisions whose implementation can have such serious consequences, whilst retaining the survival of the very organisations that will in an uncertain future once again sustain them. It has been equally salutary to experience the dignity and understanding with which artists have accepted these decisions even as their livelihoods vanish in an instance, acutely aware as we all are of the bigger picture.

As we increasingly self-isolate and shield for our own safety, the Arts become ever more important. A book to read, a gallery to virtually visit, music to listen to, radio programmes to hear. World-wide, performing artists are reaching out to offer streaming experiences whether from opera houses, concert halls and theatres or individual postings. I urge you to engage as much as possible with these; let us never forget their importance in our lives.

When we emerge in to a new world, we will relish even more the joy of being able to meet together once again to enjoy the collective magic that the Arts afford.

In the meantime, stay safe.

January 29, 2020

The Times: Anush Hovhannisyan is The Face to Watch in Opera 2020

Congratulations to Anush Hovhannisyan, who has been selected by The Times as The Face to Watch in Opera 2020 ahead of her upcoming performances in Les vêpres siciliennes with Welsh National Opera and with Opera Holland Park in Eugene Onegin.

December 27, 2019

John Rigby has been nominated for Best Musical Direction at the 20th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards

Congratulations to John Rigby who has been nominated for Best Musical Direction for the new production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the London’s Palladium 20th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards.

November 29, 2019

Outstanding critical acclaim for Jennifer France’s debut performances as The Princess

Jennifer France received outstanding critical acclaim for her debut performances as The Princess in Philip Glass’ Orphée with English National Opera.

“First in Chanel black, then in Schiaparelli pink to show her perilous new fondness for the sunlit upper world, Jennifer France as the Princess made a truly auspicious Coliseum debut. Her duets with (Nicholas) Lester, as she entices the poet into her realm of shadows only to despatch him back andjeopardiseher own status as an immortal, had a show-stealing Gothic glamour and shimmer, the voice angelic and fleshly at once.”

Boyd Tonkin, The Arts Desk


 “Jennifer France (ENO debut) as a high soprano Princess (her love aria and duet with Orphée piercingly dramatic) is a couturier’s dream (costumes black and white and then negative reverse). Her surprise magenta gown brings gasps from the auditorium.”

Vera Liber, British Theatre Guide


“…Jennifer France’s electrifying Princess, weaving her spells at the top of the voice, of hint of violence in its razor edge. This is another exciting ENO debut.”

Claudia Pritchard, Culture Whisper


“The best of the singers hail from the underworld, Jennifer France being icily brilliant as the Princess, bringer of death…”

Richard Fairman, The Financial Times


“The excellent cast is dominated by France, by turns glacial, gloriously imperious and exquisite as the Princess.”

Tim Ashley, The Guardian


“Jennifer France, making her ENO debut as the Princess, cut an icy path through the show with sharp costume and clean, precise sound.”

Benjamin Poore, Music OMH


“Jennifer France’s Princess manages to be enigmatic and imperious, embracing everything the dour Eurydice is not. There is an elegance to France’s Princess of Death, a rhythmic power to her characterisation of the role which is faultless. It isn’t just the crystal-like purity, the diamond-cut precision of her singing which is so striking but the way she acts which also gives this assumption such presence. Standing centre stage, swatched in black. She can sometimes seem larger than life; walking in the shadow scene there is a rhythm to her steps which moves in complete harmony with the music. She seems a source of mystery, no more she than when she disappears through the mirrors and fades into the darkness. The voice is tenebrous, yet completely resolute. There is a haunting, but formidable projection to what she sings. And yet she is fundamentally human, capable of seeming completely tragic as she resolves to forego her own love.”

Marc Bridle, Opera Today


“…the night’s most striking performance was Jennifer France as the Princess. Alluring in vocal artistry as well as adept as an actor, France’s performance of the Princess was effortless. Stalking across the stage in patent stilettos, this femme fatale was acutely attentive to performance direction. Dynamic and tonal demands were met hand-in-glove, with France’s pianissimi notably her defining skill.”

Shadi Seifouri, Plays To See


“France has a clarion soprano of great beauty and flexibility all elements of which were on display. Not only a vocal triumph, France encapsulated the dangerous, enigmatic beauty of the Princess.”

Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard International


“…above all it’s down to Jennifer France as the Princess: sensuous and regal in her movements, elegant in her gestures and in absolute, thrilling command of a voice that expanded, through the drama, from diamond-cut poise to tremulous, neon-lit passion. And yet there’s no sense of France upstaging anyone. She’s the dark star around which this whole wondrous spectacle orbits: ravishing, poignant and leaving an oddly uplifting sense that some mysteries are beyond the reach even of art. When in Act One the Princess glided around the sleeping Orphée to a yearning flute melody, a vast image of her unblinking, stricken face flickering behind her, I found myself willing it to continue — and actually resenting the approaching interval. I think the word for that is a triumph.”

Richard Bratby, The Spectator


“…Death, a demandingly high coloratura role that would have taxed Joan Sutherland, heroically taken here by Jennifer France…”

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph


“A strong cast is rightly dominated by Jennifer France, sustaining preposterously stratospheric lines as the Princess…”
Richard Morrison, The Times

November 28, 2019

BBC Broadcasts during December

Hear Angela Simkin and Fiona Kimm in Sullivan’s Haddon Hall with the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by John Andrews on 19 December 2019.
August 4, 2019

Jennifer France debuts at the Salzburg Festival

Congratulations to Jennifer France who made a triumphant debut at the Salzburg Festival last month singing Pascal Dusapin's Medamaterial with Vocalconsort Berlin and the Akademie für Alte Musik conducted by Franck Ollu.
For Larissa Schütz at Austria Presse Agentur, Larissa Schütz, “The secret weapon in this thrilling evening was Jennifer France. In addition to her aptitude for contemporary music, the soprano is also known for her acting qualities, skilfully deployed during the short of hour of this performance, sometimes in monologue (spoken as well as sung), sometimes in dialogue with the chorus and speakers.” For Gottfried Frank Kasparek at Drehpunktkultur,
“Jennifer France meets the demands of this extremely difficult role with dedication, a seemingly effortless coloratura soprano and also suitably expressive facial expressions. As far as possible, within a concert environment, she presents, rather than a fury, a deeply wounded woman drifting in to madness.” For Walter Weidringer at Die Presse, “Dusapin pushes his protagonist again and again up to the high E in her painful arabesques, which is far from child’s play, but the famous soprano Jennifer France masters this brilliantly. She stammers, cries and whines, or even, taken aback, speaks, her slight accent appropriate for a character who is a stranger: hurrah for a short but intense evening.” For Karl Harb at Salzburger Nachrichten, “Whether pushing her brightly projecting voice to stratospheric heights, or engaging in darkly whispered speaking passages, Jennifer France delineates the stages of her journey from thought to action, from indictment to insanity, from anger to despair, depending on her state of mind, even sometimes retreating in to silence. Even in a concert performance, one always felt that one was in a theatre.” (Photographer: Marco Borrelli)
May 30, 2019

Happy Birthday Rosalind Plowright!

As she celebrates her 70th Birthday, Rosalind Plowright OBE continues her performances as Contessa di Coigny in the revival of Andrea Chénier at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and sings Madame Arvidson in Opera Holland Park’s new production of Un ballo in maschera.



April 30, 2019

Cardiff Singer Of The World 2019

James Black Management is pleased and proud to announce that Julien Van Mellaerts will represent New Zealand at Cardiff Singer of the World 2019. Winner of the 2017 Kathleen Ferrier Awards, the 2017 Wigmore Hall / Kohn Foundation International Song Competition and the Maureen Forrester Award at the 2018 Concours musical international de Montréal, Julien Van Mellaerts graduated from London's Royal College of Music with the Tagore Gold Medal.

December 5, 2018

International Classical Music Awards

Two recordings featuring JBM artists have been nominated for the 2019 International Classical Music Awards:

Ensemble Diderot's German Cantatas with Solo Violin on Audax Records, conducted by Johannes Pramsohler featuring Jorge Navarro Colorado singing 'Ich will in aller Not' by Daniel Eberlin.

Classical Opera’s Grabmusik & Bastien und Bastienne featuring Alessandro Fisher as Bastien, on Signum.


November 2, 2018

Critics praise Jorge Navarro Colorado in Jonas at ETO

There has been critical praise for Jorge Navarro Colorado in his debut with English Touring Opera singing the title role in Carissimi’s Jonas.

For The Guardian, Tim Ashley writes “It is deeply touching and Jorge Navarro Colorado sings Jonas’s great prayer with beauty and sincerity.”

For Sam Smith at Music OMH, “Jorge Navarro Colorado stands out, in particular, in the tile role.” 

For George Hall at Opera Now, “Jorge Navarro Colorado proves strikingly eloquent in the eponymous role of the Old Testament prophet...”

For The Spectator, Alexandra Coghlan praises “a strong central performance by Jorge Navarro Colorado.,..”

For The Times, Rebecca Franks writes “Just as Dido sings her great lament, Jonas prays for forgiveness, and the fervent devotion of the tenor Jorge Navarro Colorado feels genuine.”

Jonas plays in a triple bill with I Will Not Speak (staged madrigals by Gesualdo) and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas until 22 November.