Gidon Saks is in demand internationally for his highly acclaimed interpretation of many bass-baritone roles, shining in particular with the Wagner and German repertoire. Over the span of his successful career to date, his signature roles have included Bluebeard, Nick Shadow The Rake's Progress, Claggart Billy Budd, Kaspar Der Freischütz and Hagen Götterdämmerung.
In the 2015-16 season, Saks will sing the role of Bottom in Britten A Midsummer Night's Dream for the first time in Robert Carsen's legendary production at Bergen National Opera. He will also perform Gyges in Zemlinsky's Der König Kandaules at Opera Vlaanderen (new production by Andrij Zholdak) under Dmitri Jurowski, and return to Opéra National de Paris for Calixto Bieito's new production of Aribert Reimann's Lear under Fabio Luisi. He will also reprise the role of Bluebeard in a concert version at the Festival de Opera de Coruña.
Saks's "fierce, emotionally ripe performances" (Financial Times) as Bluebeard Bluebeard's Castle were recently seen at Komische Oper Berlin under the direction of Calixto Bieito, in Mariusz Trelinski's production at Teatr Wielki, at the Concertgebouw under Peter Eötvös, and in the production by Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser for Angers Nantes Opera. As Nick Shadow The Rake's Progress he has performed at Opéra de Paris, Staatsoper Berlin, and Edinburgh International Festival. Last season he made his house debut at Deutsche Oper Berlin in David Alden's new production of Billy Budd as John Claggart, a role that he has previously performed at Opéra de Paris, and recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra which won a Grammy Award for the Best Opera Performance.
Equally in demand on the concert platform, Saks has performed Creon Oedipus Rex and Hermit Der Freischütz with the London Symphony Orchestra (both recorded for LSO Live); King Marke Tristan und Isolde at Festival de Opera de Coruña; König Heinrich Lohengrin with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. He has worked with some of the most distinguished conductors of our time including Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Valery Gergiev, Donald Runnicles, Sir Neville Marriner, Daniel Harding, Sir Andrew Davies and the late Sir Colin Davis.
Other operatic highlights include Fasolt Das Rheingold and Hagen Götterdämmerung for La Fenice (which won an Abbiati Award); Gaspard Le Freyschutz for Opéra Comique and the BBC Proms; Villains Les contes d' Hoffmann and The Pilgrim's Progress at Covent Garden, Scarpia Tosca at Bregenz Festival; Kaspar Die Freischütz and Don Pizarro Fidelio for Staatsoper Berlin; Enrico Anna Bolena for Oper Köln; Boito's Mefistofele for De Nederlandse Opera; Don Pizzaro for Canadian Opera Company, Seneca L'incoronazione di Poppea for La Monnaie, Filippo Don Carlo in Geneva and Palermo; Fafner Siegfried, Hunding Die Walküre, Daland and Musiklehrer Hänsel und Gretel for Washington National Opera. Saks has also created several roles including George Moscone in Stewart Wallace Harvey Milk directed by Christopher Alden (Houston, New York City and San Francisco). Earlier in his career he has sung numerous major roles for English National Opera, Scottish Opera and Welsh National Opera. While with the Canadian Opera Company Saks as an ensemble member he has sung Rochefort Anna Bolena with Dame Joan Sutherland, Wurm Luisa Miller, Bluebeard and Boris Godunov.
He can also be heard in earlier recordings include Abbot Curlew River (Philips) with, the Gravedigger in Weill Silbersee (BMG), the title role in Handel Hercules under Minkowski (Deutsche Grammophon) and Saul with Rene Jacobs, which won a Gramophone Award.
Saks was born in Israel and brought up in South Africa. He trained at the Royal Northern College of Music, University of Toronto and subsequently Zurich Opera Studio. He was a visiting Professor of Voice at the Conservatoire of Ghent in Belgium. Offstage he is a dedicated director/designer and teacher.