Nicholas Folwell, who is bi-lingual in German and English, made his début at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as HaraštaThe Cunning Little Vixen under Sir Simon Rattle, and subsequently returned to perform Nachtigall Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Antonio Le nozze di Figaro.
He has performed his signature role of Alberich Der Ring des Nibelungen extensively, both in the UK and abroad, most recently for Opéra d’Angers-Nantes, the Nederlandse (formerly Nationale) Reisopera, Den Nye Opera under Kent Nagano, Opéra de Dijon, Opera North, Scottish Opera, Welsh National Opera and Longborough Festival.
Nicholas Folwell’s international opera engagements have also included Dreieinigkeitsmoses Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny for the Opera d’Angers-Nantes and Opera de Lille, Koroviev in the world premiere of York Höller’s Der Meister und Margarita at the Paris Opera, Ottokar Der Freischütz at the Zwingenberger Festival, Marullo Rigoletto in Frankfurt, Figaro Le nozze di Figaro for Opera Zuid, Belcore L’elisir d’amore, Germont La traviata and Escamillo in Cork, Dr Bartolo Le nozze di Figaro at the Festival Rotas dos Monumentos in Portugal and roles in L’Heure Espagnol and L’Enfant et les Sortiléges for Opera Zuid in Maastricht.
For English National Opera Nicholas Folwell has performed several world premières: Timon of Athens by Stephen Oliver (Mutius), Blond Eckbert by Judith Weir (title role) and Dr Ox’s Experiment by Gavin Bryars (Mr van Tricasse). Also for ENO he has performed Brander The Damnation of Faust, Kuligin Katya Kabanova, Sancho Panza Don Quichotte (Massenet), Tonio Pagliacci, Sharpless Madam Butterfly, Poacher and Forester Cunning Little Vixen, The Music Master Ariadne on Naxos, Major Mary Die Soldaten (Zimmermann), Bosun Billy Budd, The Host of the Garter Inn Sir John in Love (Vaughan Williams), Antonio Le nozze di Figaro, Falke Die Fledermaus, The Chief of Police Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Antonio The Marriage of Figaro, and Police Commissioner Der Rosenkavalier.
For Welsh National Opera, where he started his career, Nicholas Folwell recently sang the roles of Banker and Theatre Manager in David Pountney’s new production of Lulu. Previous roles for WNO included Figaro, Leporello, Escamillo Carmen, Don Pizzaro Fidelio, Melitone, Harašta, Alberich Der Ring des Nibelungen, Melot Tristan und Isolde and Klingsor Parsifal which he recorded under Sir Reginald Goodall.
Nicholas Folwell’s roles for Scottish Opera have included Dr Bartolo Il barbiere di Siviglia, Mumlal The Two Widows (Smetana), The Four Villains The Tales of Hoffman, Melitone La forza del destino and Creon and Messenger Oedipus Rex.
Nicholas Folwell’s other UK engagements have included Beckmesser Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Leporello Don Giovanni and Count Laski Le Roi Malgré Lui (Chabrier) for Opera North. His roles for Opera Holland Park have included Monterone Rigoletto, Sharpless, Pizarro, and Benoit and Alcindoro La Bohème.
Nicholas Folwell has appeared in concert performances of several stage works, including Tiger Brown Die Dreigroschenoper with the London Philharmonic under Vladimir Jurowsky, The Seven Deadly Sins at the Royal Festival Hall with the London Sinfonietta and the Mahagonny Songspiel in Symphony Hall with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, both under Sir Simon Rattle, Pizzaro with the London Philharmonic under Kurt Masur and at the Royal Festival Hall, Lysiart Euyranthe with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Mark Elder and the title role in Der Fliegende Holländer for Chelsea Opera Group, both in the Queen Elizabeth Hall. He has also sung concert performances of Bluebeard Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, Paul Die Tote Stadt, Simone Trovai Violante (Korngold), and Méphistophélès Faust et Hélène (Lili Boulanger).
Nicholas Folwell’s concert appearances include Mahler’s 8th Symphony with Gary Bertini in Torino and at the Queen Elizabeth Hall with Martyn Brabbins, The Dream of Gerontius with Yuri Simanov in Brussels, and the world premieres of Ian Hamilton’s Prometheus in Cambridge, Vinko Globokar’s Sternbild der Grenze in Paris and Claudio Ambrosini’s Proverbs of Hell for RAI in Rome.
His frequent broadcasts for the BBC include Zemlinsky’s Haushoffsmeister Der Zwerg, The Short Prisoner From the House of the Dead, and roles in Harrison Birtwistle’s The Mask of Orpheus, and Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel at the BBC Proms.
Most recently he appeared as Mayor of Hornachuelos The Force of Destiny, Ortel Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Kallenbach Satyagraha for English National Opera, Abimilech Samson et Dalila and Benoit and Alcindoro La Bohème for Grange Park Opera, Filip The Jacobin at Buxton Festival, several roles in the world première of The Trial by Philip Glass for Music Theatre Wales, Antonio for Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Alberich Das Rheingold for Opera North, Charles For You and The Doctor Punch and Judy (Birtwistle) for Music Theatre Wales, and Alberich and Hunding in Der Ring des Nibelungen for Opera de Dijon.
Nicholas Folwell's future engagements include Antonio and Ortel at Glyndebourne and Monterone Rigoletto for English National Opera
Mr Kallenbach / Satyagraha, English National Opera
“ ... Nicholas Folwell as Gandhi’s friend Kallenbach, is outstanding...”
John Allison / The Daily Telegraph
Dr Bartolo / Il barbiere di Siviglia, Scottish Opera
“. . . Apart from Nicholas Folwell’s properly Italianate Bartolo, the other singers come from a more ordinary world. . . “
Andrew Clark /The Financial Times
“ . . . Nicholas Folwell's consummately sung Bartolo reveals a master of comic timing . . .”
Matthew Rye / The Daily Telegraph
“ . . . Best of the singers are . . . Nicholas Folwell as a richly comic Dr Bartolo. . .”
John Allison / The Sunday Telegraph
“ . . . Bartolo is sung by that fine musician Nicholas Folwell. . .”
Raymond Monelle / The Independent
“ . . . Nicholas Folwell’s Bartolo is outstanding: floridly comic in paunch, red waistcoat and black wig, and amusing doing the simplest things, like trying to perch nonchalantly on a table. . .”
Geoff Brown / The Times
" . . .There was plenty to enjoy in Nicholas Folwell's Italiante Dr Bartolo . . . "
Andrew Clark / Opera
“ . . . Dr Bartolo (Nicholas Folwell) looked humorously reminiscent of Rossini, with an impressive paunch on which to display his watchchain. He waddled about convincingly, his legs too short to sit youthfully on the corner of a table, the very model of an "unmodern" older suitor. . .”
Stuart Campbell / The Scotsman
Antonio / Le nozze di Figaro / Royal Opera House
“ . . . Nicholas Folwell provides a vivid cameo as Antonio the gardener. . . “
Richard Fairman / Financial Times
Alberich / Siegfried / Longborough Festival
“ . . .a powerful adversary in Nicholas Folwell’s Alberich . . . “
Rupert Christiansen / The Daily Telegraph
“ . . . Das Rheingold was a triumph for all concerned…The singing too was of a high standard, with an outstanding performance by Nicholas Folwell as Alberich. . .”
Michael Kennedy / Opera
“ . . .Astonishingly Nicholas Folwell remains a towering Alberich after three decades of singing the role, and his scene with the Wanderer was another high point . . .”
Michael Tanner / The Spectator
“ . . .Nicholas Folwell, also rather well directed, remains one of the best Alberichs imaginable: a dark, virile baritone, remorseless in his exposure of Wotan’s hypocrisies, yet in an odd way vulnerable, his complaints at the bad hand dealt him by fate made to sound all too plausible despite their obvious emptiness. He would, one feels, sue if he sprained his ankle kicking someone. And he would lose. . . “
Stephen Walsh / The Arts Desk
Alberich / Das Rheingold / Longborough Festival
“ . . .Nicholas Folwell’s brutish Alberich is magnificent – his curse the best bit of sustained Wagnerian fury I’ve heard in years. . .”
Richard Morrison / The Times
“ . . . Das Rheingold was a triumph for all concerned…The singing too was of a high standard, with an outstanding performance by Nicholas Folwell as Alberich. . . Nicholas Folwell’s Alberich must by now be definitive. . .”
Michael Kennedy / Opera
“ . . . Of the uniformly strong cast Nicholas Folwell's Alberich was horribly good. . .”
Rian Evans / The Guardian
The Doctor / Punch and Judy / Music Theatre Wales at the Royal Opera House
“ . . .Nicholas Folwell is memorably repulsive as (the) Doctor, spouting conventional morality and being butchered for (his) pains . . .”
Richard Morrison / The Times