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George Stevens

The Cape Town baritone George Stevens started private singing studies under the tuition of Prof. Nellie du Toit. In 1992 he became a member of the Cape Town Opera Company singing the title role of Selim in Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia. His debut was broadcast live with great success in South Africa, where he worked his first repertoire in operas such as: The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Cavalleria Rusticana, Madama Butterfly, La Bohème, Aida and many other roles.

In 1993 George Stevens studied with Kammersänger Wikus Slabbert in Vienna and in 1994 continued his studies with Prof. Josef Metternich in Munich. There he was chosen for he final concert by Bayerische  theaterakademie and made his European debut in the Bayerische Staatstheater and Orchester to great critical acclaim. In the following years George Stevens worked as guest soloist in Europe and South Africa, where he performed the entire classical repertoire in his fach and singing Verdi’s Requiem under the direction of Sir David Wilcox with the London Bach Choir.
 
In 1998 George Stevens became a principal soloist as an Italian baritone of the Staatstheater Bremen, performing with great success to critical and audience acclaim, in roles such as Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, Escamillo in Carmen, Mefistofeles in Damnation de Faust, Frank in Die tote Stadt, Demetrius in Britten’s Midsummernight’s Dream, Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia, Sancho Pansa in Massenet’s Don Quichotte, Gianni Schicchi, Marcello in Puccini’s La Bohème and Lescaut in Manon Lescaut, Figaro in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Wolfram von Eschenbach in Wagner’s Tannhäuser. He was also able to distinguish himself in modern repertoire like the Kaiser in Der Kaiser von Atlantis and Josef Süß by the famous German composer Detlef Glanert, Solaris, a science fiction opera by Michael Obst, Herzog Blaubart in Bartók’s Herzog Blaubarts Burg, Tomsky in Tchaikovsky’s Pique Dame and Evgeny in Evgeny Onegin.

In the Verdi repertoire his roles include: Rigoletto, Il Conte di Luna in Trovatore, Don Carlo di Vargas in La Forza del Destino, Iago in Otello, Amonasro in Aida, Simone in Simone Boccanegra, Germont in La Traviata, Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera, and Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor (concertant) conducted by Richard Bonynge.

George is known for his versatility and dramatic acuity, a rich and supple voice enabling him to excel in both bel canto and verismo repertoire, with Verdi being always at the core. He is greatly admired for his interpretive insights and exceptional control. He is considered by some critics one of the finest Verdi singers. They appreciate his elegant and expressive phrasing, velvety tone, musical intelligence and acting qualities. He excels in long, lyrical lines. He is also appreciated for not disdaining smaller roles. "I criticise myself enough to understand what I can get at. I believe in emotion and interpretation and think it is more important that the audience go home with something in their hearts than some sounds in their ears".

George Stevens was honoured with the prestigious Kurt-Hübner Prize for  „...the most convincing singer and actor with extraordinary stage presence…“ in Bremen.  Invitations brought George Stevens to the Opera Festival in Macerata (cover for Renato Bruson), Rome, Pesaro, Staatstheater Braunschweig, Staatstheater Saarbrücken, Staatstheater Weimar, to the Staatstheater Kassel and Royal Opera Copenhagen, Moscow, Vienna, Hannover, Düsseldorf, Munich, Stuttgart, Berlin, (most houses in Germany), Cape Town, Portugal, Norway and Finnland.
 
Since February 2014 George Stevens is a new member on the staff at the South African College of Music at UCT in the vocal department and the Opera School. In October 2015 he became the acting director of the Opera School. Currently active as a performer, singing all the Baritone and Bass Baritone repertoire in the classical masses, oratorio and opera, regularly performing locally and internationally.

George also plays the hunting horn and baroque horn as a hobby.