One of Britain’s most distinguished singers, Anthony Rolfe Johnson enjoyed a busy career that included concerts with the major orchestras and festivals in the United Kingdom and in the world’s leading musical centres. He had sung with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Solti, the Boston Symphony under Ozawa, the New York Philharmonic under Rostropovich and Masur, the Cleveland Orchestra under Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic under Levine. Conductors with whom he worked with included Giulini, Harnoncourt, Rozhdestvensky, Eliot Gardiner, Mackerras, Tennstedt, Boulez, Haitink and Abbado.
He had a vast range of recordings to his name, reflecting his worldwide reputation as an interpreter of Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart and Britten. Anthony Rolfe Johnson made his international operatic début as Fenton at the Glyndebourne Festival. He had since sung an extensive repertoire in the world’s great opera houses. In London his rôles included Don Ottavio, Tamino, Ferrando, Belmonte, Essex in Britten’s Gloriana, the Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia, Florestan in Fidelio and the title rôles in Monteverdi’s Ulysses and Orfeo. He had sung the title rôle in Idomeneo at the Salzburg Festival, the Vienna State Opera, the Paris Opéra and the Metropolitan Opera, Aschenbach in Geneva, Edinburgh and the Met, and Peter Grimes at the Savonlinna and Glyndebourne festivals, in Tokyo, Munich and at the Met.
He was a regular guest at the Monnaie in Brussels and with the Netherlands Opera. He was made a CBE in the 1992 Queen’s Birthday Honours.