One of Britain’s most experienced bass-baritones with a voice of wide range and a rich and vibrant resonance. He has sung frequently for Royal Opera Covent Garden, Welsh National Opera and Scottish Opera and further afield in France, where Classica-Repertoire magazine awarded him the accolade ‘one of the most beautiful of all current bass voices’.
Jonathan May was born in Windsor. After taking a degree at Newcastle University he studied at Guildhall School of Music and Drama with Ellis Keeler, at the National Opera Studio, the Britten-Pears School and privately with Norman Bailey and Robert Lloyd.
After singing with Kent Opera chorus in its final season and then for three seasons as a chorister at the Royal Opera Covent Garden Jonathan began his freelance solo career in 1992. He has over the past 30 years sung as a soloist throughout the UK and abroad. For the Royal Opera he has sung principal roles in Il Barbieri di Seviglia, Fidelio, Madama Butterfly, Elektra, Hamlet, Lohengrin ,La Forza del Destino, Werther, Guillaume Tell and La Rondine. With Welsh National Opera, he has sung principal roles in Carmen, From the House of the Dead, Billy Budd, Un Ballo in Maschera, Parsifal, Rigoletto, Don Carlos , Mazeppa, Don Giovanni and War and Peace.
Jonathan made his Scottish Opera debut in 2002 creating the role of Coleridge in the world premiere of Sally Beamish’s Monster and has subsequently returned there for principle roles in Carmen, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Turandot, Werther, Rigoletto, Jenufa, Il Trovatore and Pelleas et Melisande. He has also appeared in principal roles for English Touring Opera, Garsington Festival, Mid Wales Opera, Iford Festival, Opera Northern Ireland and Music Theatre Wales.
Further afield, Jonathan sang five roles in Nigel Osbourne’s The Electrification of the Soviet Union with Norway’s Opera Vest as well as appearing for Opera de Metz – Powder Her Face, Opera de Rouen/Japan Society New York – Curlew River, Grande Théâtre de Genève as Doctor in Daniel Kramer’s South Bank Show award-winning production of Birtwistle’s Punch and Judy, and performances of Commendatore in Don Giovanni for Opera Theatre Company Dublin, sung in a new translation by Roddy Doyle.
Jonathan now combines two careers as singing teacher and performer .
Recent concerts include Haydn’s Creation for Stirling City Choir, Beethoven 9th Symphony for Shrewsbury Town Orchestra, Christus in St Matthew Passion for York Bach Society and Verdi Requiem for Dundee Choral Union.
He has recorded the double role of Cadmus/Somnus in Handel’s Semele, with David Stern, released by Arion Records (PV704021/22).
Jonathan lives in Cupar in the Kingdom of Fife and is married to the writer Janice Galloway