John Savournin - Bass-Baritone

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John Savournin studied at Trinity College of Music, where he was awarded the Founder’s Prize for Excellence and the Paul Simms Opera Prize.

His busy 2019/20 season includes Fotis in Martinu’s The Greek Passion and Carl Olsen Street Scene, both for Opera North, Il Barone di Kelbar in Verdi’s Un giorno di regno in concert with Chelsea Opera Group, and return visits to Welsh National Opera as Zuniga Carmen and Opera Holland Park as Baron Zeta The Merry Widow.

In previous seasons, recent guest appearances have included Leporello Don Giovanni, Sarastro The Magic Flute, Armchair/Tree L’enfant et les Sortilèges, Angelotti Tosca, Alidoro La Cenerentola, Count Horn Un ballo in Maschera, Peter Quince A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Schaunard La Boheme and Second Gunman in a critically-acclaimed production of Kiss Me, Kate (a role he has also sung for Welsh National Opera, at the Coliseum in London and at the Ravenna Festival in Italy), all for Opera North, Leporello Don Giovanni, Colline La Boheme, Count Horn Un Ballo in Maschera, The Immigration Officer Flight and the silent role of Sante Il Segreto di Susanna for Opera Holland Park, and Alidoro La Cenerentola for Scottish Opera.

His passion for contemporary music has seen John perform Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King for the Land’s End Ensemble, Calgary, and the Ossian Ensemble, Kagel’s …den 24.XII.1931 with the Warehouse Ensemble, The Boy who lived down the Lane by Diana Soh at the Performer’s Voice Symposium in Singapore, Stephen Oliver’s A Man of Feeling and the premiere of a song cycle by Edwin Roxburgh (especially written for him) at the Wigmore Hall in 2014.

John is also extremely experienced in the world of operetta, and has performed many times with both the National G&S Opera Company and Charles Court Opera (of which he is also the Artistic Director).

In concert, recent engagements include Fortitudo in Haydn’s Applausus for the Classical Opera Company at Cadogan Hall, Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room recitals as a Yeoman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians/Park Lane Young Artist, Messiah for Raymond Gubbay at the Bridgewater Hall, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, and Mozart’s Requiem for the Three Choirs Festival and the Philharmonia.

His recordings include Bartolo on the BBC Singers/BBC Concert Orchestra recording of Alfred Cellier’s The Mountebanks for Dutton Epoch, and the first recording of Peter Maxwell Davies’ A Sea of Cold Flame for Ayriel Classical.



For Fotis/The Greek Passion/Opera North 2019

“[the] soloists…especially, John Savournin, excelled” The Guardian

“The two priests on opposing sides of the debate were excellently cast…John Savournin in commanding form as the refugees’ priest, Fotis, touchingly acted.” Bachtrack

“John Savournin as Fotis was almost mystical in his intensity and with a powerful feeling of working to his own time. A moving portrayal which developed as Savournin’s Fotis witnesses the villagers’ behaviour including the killing of Manolios. Alden made all this rather re-focus Fotis’ final scene (after Manolios’ death) which can seem a moment of hope but here became a cry of despair.” Planet Hugill

“John Savournin is agonised and angry as Fotis, his powerfully resonant voice asserting the needs of his community in the face of indifference.” Culture Vulture

For Leporello/Don Giovanni/Opera North 2018

“Savournin is a perfect foil, with not a smidgeon of nastiness about him. He creates Leporello almost completely as a comic turn. I was particularly impressed with his precise and unflagging delivery of the Catalogue Aria, illustrated by a series of dummy heads with rapidly changing headgear in a frame, and with his sharp interactions with Dazeley, as in the recitativo “Orsù, spicciati presto”, all in tones which convey a kind of warm geniality.”  Bachtrack

“…excellent Leporello, John Savournin…”  The Times

“John Savournin is a fabulous Leporello, his comic timing was spot on and he totally owned the stage.”  Yorkshire Times

“One of the highlights must be the portrayal of Leprello sung by John Savournin.  His portrayal is outstanding and his interacting asides confide with the audience that he has had enough of Giovanni’s exploits but at the same time, due to fear and intimidation,  pretends to be loyal”  The Reviews Hub

For Leporello/Don Giovanni/Opera Holland Park 2017

“…with his strong comic timing, John Savournin makes an excellent Leporello.” Financial Times

“John Savournin displays a warm voice and terrific comedic stage skills as his sidekick Leporello.”  Metro

“Savournin made Leporello more sympathetic than is sometimes the case, revealing the natural comic timing which was in evidence when I saw him perform in WNO’s Kiss Me, Kate in November last year.”  Opera Today

“His comic timing was impeccable throughout and he displayed an ability to think on his feet as he moved from one crisis to another.  The catalogue aria was exceptionally fine….”  Seen And Heard International

For Alidoro/La Cenerentola/ Opera North 2017

“John Savournin twinkles as the manipulative Alidoro” The Times

“With the stature and occasional silliness of a barely restrained John Cleese, Alidoro was an omnipresent, almost mystical matchmaker. Given gravitas by his fine bass-baritone voice, John Savournin was clearly a shoe-in for this part.” The Yorkshire Times

For Colline/La boheme/Opera Holland Park 2016

“John Savournin invests his mock-serious farewell to his coat (it’s off to the pawnshop) with immense dignity”  Evening Standard

“John Savournin as the philosophical (but ultimately practical) Colline has a voice you only want to hear more of.” Culture Whisper

“John Savournin was first rate in the role of Colline and he gave a dark sonorous rendition of Vecchia zimarra in Act 4″  Seen and Heard International

For 2nd Gunman/Kiss me, Kate/Opera North 2016

“The showstopper was ‘Brush up your Shakespeare’, with Joseph Shovelton and John Savournin as morose, moustached Mafiosi.”  Opera

“Brush Up Your Shakespeare, expertly performed by Joseph Shovelton and John Savournin with just the right knowingness.” The Stage

“Joseph Shovelton and John Savournin’s pair of hapless hoodlums are a joy.” The Guardian

“As always, the show is stolen by the two gangsters, delightful comic turns from Joseph Shovelton and John Savournin.” The Mail on Sunday

For Immigration Officer/Flight/Opera Holland Park 2015

“John Savournin offered a wonderful warm bass in transition from a jobsworth into a decent human being.”  Opera Brittania

“John Savournin was a sturdy but sympathetic Immigration Officer.” Bachtrack