Ian Caley - tenor


After making his debut at the Glyndebourne Festival in Il  Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria(Monteverdi), Ian Caley became one of Britain’s  most versatile and wide-ranging tenors, with an extensive  repertoire.

Born in Preston, he studied at the Royal Manchester College of  Music, entering as a pianist and turning subsequently to singing. During his time there he sang, among many things: Don Jose in Carmen, the title role in Britten’s Peter Grimes and The Dream of Gerontius by Elgar.

He remained a Glyndebourne “regular” for a number of years, during  which time he sang many performances of Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress (Stravinsky) in the famous staging by John Cox with designs by David Hockney.  The first of
these performances marked the professional operatic debut of Simon Rattle: a
professional partnership which extended for many years.
After Glyndebourne, debuts followed at both the ENO and the Royal  Opera.  He continued to sing regularly with these companies and became a regular visitor to Scottish Opera.  He made appearances with Opera North as well as working with many of the small companies operating at that time. His repertoire has covered all periods and styles from pre-classical to contemporary (see the repertoire section of this site) in both opera and concert work.  However, the greater part of his career has taken place outside Great Britain.

In the earlier of these years abroad, France figured greatly in Ian Caley’s itinerary, beginning with an enormous success as Tom Rakewell for the Paris Opera.  This was followed by appearances as Vanya Kudrjáš in Götz Friedrich’s award-winning production of Janacek’s Katya Kabanova,also at the Paris Opera. He has since sung many times in Paris; at the Palais Garnier, the Opéra Comique and at the Opéra Bastille as well in most of the French provincial houses.  He was the last British singer to sing in the Palais Garnier and the first to sing in the Opera Bastille, where he continued to appear several times each season and was for a period their most frequently engaged foreign artist.  Amongst his numerous other roles there, he sang Tichon as well as Kudrjáš in Katya Kabanova and roles in Honneger’s Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher, Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, and Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, by Shostakovitch. He also appeared there in  Falstaff and Peter Grimes.

He has appeared, singing major roles, in most French provincial houses and appeared regularly during the lifetime of the Festival Berlioz in  Lyon. 

Later  he spent much time in Germany. In Frankfurt,he appeared in three  productions of works by Janáček: From the House of the Dead (Luka), Jenufa (Laca) and staged perfomances of The Diary one who Disappeared, as well as Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov (Shuisky) and Mozart’s Idomeneo. As a result of these performances, he was invited to Munich to sing Idomeneo for the Bayerischer Staatsoper in the Nationaltheater, a performance later repeated in the Munich Festival.  In Stuttgart and Berlin (in both the Staatsoper Unnter den Linden and in the Deutsche Staatsoper) he has sung Boris Godunov.  He returned frequently to Stuttgart for performances of Wozzeck  (Der Tambour-Major) and of Caius in Falstaff.  He also appeared at the Hamburg Staatsoper and the Staatsoper in Hannover in new productions of Peter Grimes.  
In Italy, in addition to La Scala, Milan, (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk), he has sung in the houses of Venice (La Fenice), Rome, Palermo (where he sang Idomeneo (Mozart) for the first time), Naples and Genova.  He has sung frequently at
Le Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels and in Switzerland in the theatres of Geneva, Berne and Luzern.  It was here he sang his first Florestan (Fidelio), first professional Peter Grimes and first Parsifal and Hindemith’s rarely seen Cardillac
Other successful operatic appearances in Britain have included the role
of Agrippa von Nettesheim in Prokofiev’s The Fiery Angel at the Royal Opera
House, Covent Garden and, at the ENO, der Tambour-Major in Wozzeck
and Bacchus in Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos 

He sang at the opening of the newly-refurbished Teatro Real in  Madrid in the production of Peter Grimes from La Monnaie,  Brussels, and was then invited by the Madrid company to sing Dionysus in The Bassarids by Henze.  He has also sung for the Royal Danish Opera and for the New Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv, Caesarea and on tour in Savonlinna. 

Ian Caley has always had a busy concert career and his work has taken  him to most European countries and to North America, Israeland Japan.  He has worked with conductors such as: Barenboim, Boulez, Dutoit, Haitink, Ozawa, and Pappano. He also worked much with both Sir Charles Groves, Sir John Pritchard and Sir Edward Downes.  Concert collaborations include: the Ensemble Intercontemporain with Kent Nagano and Pierre Boulez (with whom he opened the Cité de la Musique, in Paris), the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra with Esa-Pekka Salonen and Leif Segerstam, the LPO with Kurt Masur, BBC orchestras with Sir Colin Davis, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky and Mariss Janssens,  the EEC Youth Orchestra with Rostropovich and the London Sinfonietta and the CBSO with Sir Simon Rattle (Les Noces, Stravinsky, Britten’s War Requiem, Schönberg's Gurrelieder).

He has sung concerts of Beethoven’s Fidelio with the CBSO and Janáček’s
Glagolitic Mass with the BBC in London and in Wales and has sung and twice recorded Renard (Stravinsky) in Paris. He has sung major concerts in the Kölner Philharmonie and with the Bayerische Rundfunk in Munich. 

He sang Britten’s War Requiem during the Centenary Season of the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and sang Das Lied von der Erde (Mahler) at the
Bratislava Festival.  He scored a  great success in a Wagner concert for the Prague Autumn Festival.

Although not widely known in the recital hall, he has nonetheless sung
many recitals and chamber pieces.  As well as famous cycles by Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann, he has sung  cycles by Britten; notably the Michelangelo Sonnets and The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Vaughan Williams’ On
Wenlock Edge
and many performances of The  Diary of one who vanished by Janáček.

As well as many radio and television broadcasts both in Britain and  abroad, Ian Caley has several recordings to his credit (see discography section). Among these are: Rameau, Hippoltye et Aricie and Naïs conducted, respectively, by Jean-Claude Malgoire and Nicholas McGegan; Seven Deadly Sins, with Simon Rattle; Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol with Boulez and Renard  with James Conlon and The Miserly Knight by Rachmaninov, with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Neeme Järvi.
Since his solo career began to wind down, Ian Caley has developed a  thriving private practice as a teacher and coach.  He has worked as a visiting coach, mentor and lecturer at the National Opera Studio and has become the Musical Director of Harrow Opera for whom he has conducted “The Marriage of Figaro” and is scheduled to conduct “Falstaff” during the next season.  He also teaches
singing at the highly regarded North London Collegiate School. 

His latest venture is a new English translation of Verdi's Falstaff for Harrow Opera.