Photo of Leon Berger Baritone



Photo of Leon Berger baritone

LEON has been a major guest principal with the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera, New Sadler's Wells, Pavilion Opera and with many touring companies singing over 100 operatic roles including: Don Pasquale, Falstaff, Figaro, Marcello, Gianni Schicchi, Alberich and Rigoletto. His work abroad has taken him to most countries in Europe, plus Barbados, Bermuda, New York, Boston (USA),  as well as world cruises on the QE2, Swann Hellenic and Saga.  

He is particularly well-known for the Gilbert & Sullivan repertoire, having performed lyric and patter roles in all the Savoy operas (including Thespis and The Grand Duke) for many companies including G & S For All and The Magic of D’Oyly Carte; he is also a regular guest principal at the International G & S Festival held annually at Buxton. He has performed the Judge and Dick Deadeye under Carl Davis and the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Leon also appeared opposite Paula Wilcox and Ian Lavender in Hollywood Pinafore (lyrics by George S. Kaufman) at the Barbican.

Leon is also in demand for his show A Society Clown based on the life of George Grossmith, the Victorian actor and comic singer who starred in the original productions Gilbert & Sullivan productions. He has made two CDs of Grossmith’s material A Society Clown and The Grossmith Legacy on the Divine Art label and recently featured on a BBC2/4 documentary about Grossmith: The Real Mr. Pooter, to accompany the TV adaptation of The Diary of a Nobody performed by Hugh Bonneville .

All the standard oratorio roles are in Leon's repertoire including: The Messiah, Elijah, the Mozart Requiem, the Rossini Messe Solennelle, Carl Orf's Carmina Burana which he has performed all over the country. Not so standard oratorio he has performed are: Sir Arthur Sullivan's The Golden Legend and The Prodigal Son, Vaughan Williams's 'Five Mystical Songs', he gave the premier of Tomorrow…? by Peter Skellern at the Royal Albert Hall in 2001 and recently sang the first performance of Re-Creation by David Perkins at Holy Trinity, Guildford.

On the West End stage Leon has starred in both musicals and plays: the London premier of Pacific Overtures (English National Opera), the American Reporter in Chess (Prince Edward Theatre), Lansdale in Allegro (Barbican), Art O’Malley in Out of this World (Barbican). Provincial theatre roles include Sam in Trouble in Tahiti, Jazz Preacher in Mass (both by Leonard Bernstein) , and Jud Fry in Oklahoma. He undertook a three-month tour of Italy as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol and recently played the part of Alfred Barker in the play Land of Liberty.

In addition to the two Grossmith CDs mentioned above, other recordings include cast albums of The Merry Widow, Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures, Cox & Box, Ride Ride!, Sullivan’s The Masque At Kenilworth, Gilbert’s His Excellency, two BBC series—Lives Of Jesus (for which he wrote the lyrics) and Millennium—and the children’s opera Joe Carpenter & Son.

Leon was for several years a collaborator with the late Donald Swann , performing in several of his operas; he is now archivist and editor of his music, including the Flanders & Swann Songbook. He is currently writing the authorised biography of Michael Flanders and for EMI has produced a new four-CD box-set Hat-Trick: Flanders & Swann, the Collector’s Edition as well as several documentaries for BBC radio. He has written extensively on English light music, including specialist publications, CD liner notes and several entries in Grove’s Dictionary of Music & Musicians. He has directed and designed many shows including: Die Fledermaus, Gilbert & Sullivan at War, The Pearl Fishers, Cox & Box, The Gondoliers, Don Pasquale, The Merry Widow, Ruddygore and Orpheus in the Underworld

 Leon is currently directing The Gondoliers for Chapel End Players.  He is also the producer on a new CD of Donald Swann's music featuring Dame Felicity Lott and Roderick Williams.