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Gidon Saks

Visiting Artist - Opera Performance Skills


King Charles Court Old Royal Naval College Greenwich London SE10 9JF UK


Gidon Saks was born in Israel and brought up in South Africa. He began his studies there, then at the Royal Northern College of Music, the University of Toronto and at the International Opera Studio in Zürich.

Qualifications And Background

Gidon was a member of the Ensemble at the Canadian Opera Company, and then in the opera houses of Gelsenkirchen and Bielefeld. He made his British debut with Scottish Opera as Claggart in Billy Budd, an opera he has sung in many productions and recorded both with the Halle (as Mr Flint) and the LSO, winning a Grammy Award.

He has sung every bass role in Wagner’s Ring, and his repertoire includes Nick Shadow in Stravinsky’s Rake’s Progress and the title role in Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle. He has sung Kaspar in Weber’s Freischütz in English for ENO, German for the Staatsoper in Berlin, and in Berlioz’s French recitative version at the Opera Comique under Sir John Eliot Gardiner, also performed at the Proms.

He has twice been the recipient of Italy’s leading annual opera award, the Abbiati Prize, won a Gramophone Award for the title role in Handel’s Saul under Rene Jacobs, and has been nominated for both a Dora Award in Canada and for the Golden Mask in Moscow.

He has sung a wide repertoire internationally, and is active as a singing teacher, director, designer and author. He began directing and designing aged 17 in South Africa with Roger McGough’s Puny Little Life Show, and has created work in Manchester, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Antwerp, Ghent and London. He has taught masterclasses in Moscow, Seattle, London, Stavanger, Cape Town, Berlin, Toronto, Cleveland (with Roger Vignoles) and Amsterdam. Next season he creates roles in new operas in Hamburg and Brussels. 

Image credit Danny Lowe