Described as a ‘sparkling storyteller’ with ‘outstanding intelligibility and a naturally powerful sound’, baritone Jonathan Sells was born in London and lives in Bern.  He is equally at home on the opera, concert and recital stages.  He graduated with distinction both from Cambridge University (Music and Musicology) and the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (Janice Chapman), where he was subsequently a Guildhall Artist Fellow.  He then spent two years at the Zurich Opera Studio.  Jonathan took 1st prize at the Thelma King Vocal Awards, and won the Rose Bowl at the Guildhall Gold Medal.  His awards include the Prix Thierry Mermod at the Verbier Festival Academy, the Worshipful Company of Musicians’ Silver Medal, and the Gottlob Frick Bronze Medal.  He studies with Michelle Wegwart.


On the opera stage, favourite roles include Monteverdi’s Orfeo, which Jonathan will perform in summer 2017 at Oper Schloss Waldegg (Switzerland); Don Alfonso Così fan tutte (Glyndebourne Festival Opera); Papageno (Oper Schloss Hallwyl); Zar Zar und Zimmermann; Leporello (Verbier Festival; Bahrain); Count Almaviva Le Nozze di Figaro; Figaro Il Barbiere di Siviglia; Lautsprecher Der Kaiser von Atlantis (Opéra de Dijon); König Die Kluge (Zurich Opera); and Bottom A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Zurich Opera).  He has also worked at the Opéra de Paris, Teatro Real (Madrid), and Aix-en-Provence Festival.

Particular highlights in the concert hall include a tour and recording of Bach’s Matthäus-Passion with John Eliot Gardiner, working with William Christie across Europe and in the US, singing for John Butt and the Dunedin Consort, and being a member of I Fagiolini. He has recorded for Decca, Chandos, Naxos, and Soli Deo Gloria (see Discography).  Performances in 2017 include Haydn Die Jahreszeiten with the Mediziner Orchester Bern, Schumann Vom Pagen und der Königstochter with Helsinki Baroque Orchestra, and an Australian tour of Bach Christmas Oratorio with Choir of London and Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Jonathan Sells is also joint artistic director of the collective Solomon’s Knot, whose performances have been described as “organic music-making at its most sophisticated” (The Guardian).  This year they visit the Snape Maltings Easter Weekend and Thüringer Bachwochen with Bach’s St John Passion, collaborate with Spira mirabilis on Bach’s cantata “Der zufriedengestellte Aeolus”, take Handel’s Messiah to Halle and Regensburgh, Gesualdo to Italy, and Bach’s Mass in B minor around the UK.

In recital, Jonathan has performed at Wigmore Hall, Tonhalle Zürich, ‘Das Lied’ in Bern, Leeds Lieder, South Korea, and City of London Festival.  He is a member of ‘Besuch der Lieder’, a Swiss team of singers and pianists who give recitals in the home of anyone with a piano.


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