Born in Norwich, James Rutherford studied theology at Durham University and singing at the Royal College of Music and the National Opera Studio. He was a BBC New Generation Artist and a prizewinner in many national competitions including the prestigious Kathleen Ferrier Award. Early career highlights include Mozart’s Figaro at Opera North, Welsh National Opera, Glyndebourne and the Paris Opera. More recently, after winning first prize in the inaugural Seattle Opera International Wagner competition, he has concentrated on the dramatic German repertoire. He has performed roles in the Ring cycle at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the Chicago Lyric Opera; Wolfram (Tannhäuser) with San Francisco Opera; and Jochanaan (Salome) at the Berlin Staatsoper.
In 2009 he began a major association with the Graz Opera, singing his first Hans Sachs in a new production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and returning for Barak (Die Frau ohne Schatten), Germont (La Traviata), Iago (Otello) and Orestes (Elektra). He made his début at the 2010 Bayreuth Festival as Hans Sachs, returning for the same role in 2011.
Concert engagements include Adams’ Nixon in China (BBC Proms, Berlin Festival) and Der Fliegende Holländer with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons. Opera appearances include Jochanaan in Vienna, Hans Sachs in Hamburg, Vienna and Budapest, Mandryka (Arabella) in Amsterdam and Hamburg, Kurwenal (Tristan und Isolde) in Washington and Falstaff in Graz.