Owen willetts




"Owen Willetts... displayed an astonishing countertenor voice that lingers in the memory. His voice is dark, dark, and darker with a power and projection that reminded me of early Derek Lee Ragin or perhaps Bejun Mehta. His expressive features and obvious facility for dramatic expression... complete the picture."

Opera Today



about owen


Owen began singing as a choral scholar at Lichfield Cathedral and went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music, where he spent four years studying with Noelle Barker, Iain Leadingham and David Lowe.


Owen has worked with many of the leading names in historical performance, including Laurence Cummings, Christian Curnyn, Emmanuelle Haim, Marc Minkowsi, Martin Pearlman, Howard Arman and Raphael Pichon. He has performed concerts across the world, including: Bach’s Johannes Passion and Matthäus Passion; a concert of Bach solo cantatas for alto, Purcell’s Ode to St Cecilia, and Mozart’s Mass in C Minor for Les Musicians de Louvre and Marc Minkowski; Handel’s Teseo (Egeo) in Moscow; Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s Weihnachts-Oratorium for the Telemann Chamber Orchestra, Japan; Handel’s Orlando (title role) for the Vancouver Early Music Festival (concert performance and CD recording); Scarlatti’s Penelope la Casta and Handel’s Rinaldo (Eustazio) for the Lautten Compagney, Berlin; Handel’s Giulio Cesare (Tolomeo) for Bonn Opera House; Handel’s Messiah for the Portland Baroque Orchestra and Monica Huggett; Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Handel’s Deborah for Laurence Cummings and the London Handel Festival; the role of Arioco in Falvetti’s Nabucco for Leonardo Alarcon; and Handel’s Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno The Halle Handel Festival.


On the opera stage Owen has performed the role of Ottone in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea for Christian Curnyn and the Iford Arts Festival; Anfinomus and Humano Fragilitata in Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno di Ulysses in Patria for Graham Vick and the Birmingham Opera Company; the title role in Handel’s Orlando for the Halle Opera House and the Halle Handel Festival; a staged production of Bach’s Johannes Passion and Purcell’s The Fairy Queen for the Dutch National Reisopera; the role of Unulfo in Handel’s Rodelinda for Christian Curnyn and the Iford Arts Festival and was a soloist in Emmanuelle Haim’s tour of Purcell’s The Fairy Queen. Owen has sung the title role in Handel’s Giulio Cesare for the Finnish National Opera, made his American debut to critical acclaim singing the title role in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice for Boston Baroque conducted by Martin Pearlman. He returned to America and Boston Baroque to sing the role of Arsace in Handel’s Partenope; sang in a staged production of Britten’s canticles for Vladimir Jurowski and the Glyndebourne Festival; sang role the Helicon in Glanert’s Caligula forHannover Staatsoper; Narciso in Handel’s Agrippina for the Göttingen Handel Festival and the Brisbane Baroque Festival, Australia; was the voice of Farinelli in the Globe’s production of Farinelli and the King in London’s West End; Tullio in Handel’s Arminio for the Karlsruhe Händelfestspiele; Andronico in Handel’s Tamerlano for the Buxton Festival and Laurence Cummings, and the title role in Handel’s Orlando for Heilbronn Theater, Germany. 


Upcoming engagements include a concert performance of, concert performances of Handel’s Giustino (Giustino) for the Lautten Compagney and the Halle Händlefestspiele; the title role in Handel’s Orlando for the Dubrovnik Summer Festival, and the role of Ottone in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea for Pinchgut Opera, Sydney.

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"British countertenor Owen Willetts, as Orfeo, was tasked with carrying most of the opera, and he was superb: a ringing but warm voice, an anchored physicality, and acting skills to match the role’s demands for subtle intensity."

Boston Globe


"In the lead role, Owen Willetts proves a phenomenon, the only countertenor I've yet heard with the kind of clarion force that legend has accorded the castrati...Willetts is about as close to the real thing as you're likely to hear in the modern age."

The Hub Review


"From his first utterance countertenor Owen Willetts pierced through the chorus mourning Euridice. Willetts’ voice possessed a fullness and richness often lacking in the countertenor voice that made his Orfeo particularly heart wrenching. He possessed an almost poetic expressivity; his yearning, his agony, and his happiness were not only seen, but easily felt by the audience. His rendition of the famous “Che Faro Senza Euridice” was phrased delicately, but infused with pulsating passion and received a warm ovation from the audience."



"Owen Willetts was possessed of (or perhaps by) a voice that was not only handsome in quality but powerful enough to fill the hall with room to spare.

Willetts deployed his instrument sensitively, and with consistent tone throughout his range, as he projected Orfeo’s volatile emotions.  But when he chose to swell a note, listeners in the back row could feel it."

Boston Classical Review


Orlando, Handel Festspiele, Halle 2010

"The wonderfully saucer-eyed young Brit Owen Willetts, who takes on the much-feared title role with a sensuous alto voice... A real discovery for baroque opera."


"The dark timbre of his countertenor has within its range both the substance required for the flexing of muscles of Fammi combattere as well as the heartbreaking sadness of the madness scene."