Bass-baritone James Demler is known for his versatile range of repertory, spanning the operatic, oratorio, concert, and popular music genres. He has been an annual favorite with Odyssey Opera, with recent roles in Sir John in Love by Ralph Vaughn Williams, Dvorak’s Dimitrij, Mario Tedesco-Castelnuovo’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Donizetti’s L’Assedio di Calais, and most recently in Gounod’s Le Medecin Malgre Lui. Other recent engagements have included performances with Boston Lyric Opera in Verdi’s Macbeth, Janacek’s Katya Kabanova, and Massenet’s Werther. Mr. Demler has been featured numerous times as a soloist with the Boston Pops, with highlights that include Ralph Vaughn Williams Fantasia on Christmas Carols, and The Boston Red Sox Baseball Cantata by George Kleinsinger, with Keith Lockhart, conductor, as part of their City of Champions series. Internationally Mr. Demler has sung the role of Don Alfonso in a concert version of Così Fan Tutte with the Tuscia Opera Festival in Viterbo, Italy, and in 2016 debuted at the Concertgebouw in Bruges, Belgium, and at the Liederhalle in Stuttgart, Germany, singing the Bass solos in Verdi’s Requiem. In addition, he made his film debut as Noah in Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, which opened the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, and was also a guest Public Address Announcer for the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in June, 2012. 

Mr. Demler first gained national attention at Houston Grand Opera, where he appeared as Morales in Carmen, De Bretigny in Manon, and Peter in Hansel and Gretel. He also debuted with the Houston Symphony, where he sang the role of Maestro in a concert version of Salieri’s rarely performed opera Prima la musica, poi le parole. In New York City he made his Carnegie Hall debut with the Opera Orchestra of New York as Dikson in Boieldieu’s La Dame Blanche, and has returned to that venue singing prominent roles in Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux, von Weber’s Der Freischutz and Catalani’s La Wally.

James made his Canadian operatic debut as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with Edmonton Opera, a role he has also sung with Anchorage Opera. He also appeared in Anchorage as Marcello in La Boheme, Valentin in Faust, a role which he debuted with the West Virginia Symphony, and with the Anchorage Symphony he premiered songs by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams. With Chautauqua Opera he appeared as Pish-Tush in The Mikado, while with Palm Beach Opera he sang Danilo in The Merry Widow, and with Chattanooga Opera Silvio in I Pagliacci. He also made debuts with Long Beach Opera as Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas, and Bartley in Riders to the Sea by Vaughn-Williams.

James Demler has championed the music of contemporary composers, particularly Daron Hagen, with whom he premiered his operas Shining Brow, Bandanna, and The Antient Concert. He also created the role of Sgt. John Regan in Eric Sawyer’s The Scarlet Professor for the Five College Festival in Northhampton, Massachusetts in 2017, and most recently premiered Sawyer’s new musical My Evil Twin at the Ko Theatre Festival with his identical twin John.

Mr. Demler has been a full-time member of the voice faculty of Boston University College of Fine Arts since 2005.


Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | February 1, 2020