Award-winning New Zealand born Samoan baritone Benson Wilson, is a recently appointed English National Opera Harewood Artist and is quickly establishing himself as one of today’s most promising baritones.
Benson returns to the ENO this season in Calixto Bieito’s iconic production of Carmen in the role of Morales and will sing the role of Horemhab in Phelim McDermott’s award winning production of Phillip Glass’s Akhnaten. To start this season, Benson makes his company debut with the Welsh National Opera company as Schaunard and will take this Annabelle Arden classsic production on tour around the UK. This season Benson also makes debuts with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra performing Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony and Handel’s Messiah with the Auckland Choral Society.
Last season saw him make his ENO main stage debut to sing Schaunard and Guglielmo Così fan tutte, he also made further company and role debuts for Longborough Festival Opera, as Frank/Fritz Die Tote Stadt; and for Opera Holland Park in the role of Friedrich Baer Little Women.
Benson has given a recital tour of New Zealand at venues including Auckland Chamber Concert Hall and Hawkes Bay Opera House. In the UK he has given recitals at the Brighton, Oxford Lieder, Leeds Lieder, Kings Lynn and Ludlow Song festivals, at Wigmore Hall and St Martin in the Fields, with pianists Iain Burnside, Lucy Colquhoun, Ella O’Neill, James Baillieu and Joseph Middleton. He has appeared in concert with the Orchestra of Opera North, for Auckland Opera Studio, and most recently performed Finzi Et In Terra Pax with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sakari Oramo.
Previous operatic roles include Marullo Rigoletto for Glyndebourne on Tour, John Shears Paul Bunyan (ENO), Mirza Der Gesang der Zauberinsel at the Salzburger Festspiele as a 2019 Salzburg Young Singer, Count Almaviva Le nozze di Figaro (Bloomsbury Opera), Schabernack Le Grand Macabre with London Symphony Orchestra, and Demetrius A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a scholar on the Guildhall School of Music & Drama Opera Course.
Benson regularly appears in concert in repertoire including Handel Messiah, Mozart Requiem, Faure Requiem, Duruflé Requiem and Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem, and in 2016 he joined the BBC Symphony Orchestra for a Total Immersion Concert featuring works by Richard Rodney Bennett.
While studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Benson won the prestigious Kathleen Ferrier Award, prior to relocating to the UK, he won New Zealand’s premiere singing competition, the Lexus Song Quest, and graduated with a BMus from the University of Auckland. Benson is a former young artist of the Georg Solti Accademia di Bel Canto, the Samling Young Artist Programme, the International Vocal Arts Institute, New Zealand Opera School and the National Opera Studio in London.