In the 2019/20 season, British Bass-baritone John Savournin’s current and future roles include Priest Fotis (The Greek Passion) and Carl Olsen (Street Scene), both for Opera North, Zuniga (Carmen) for Welsh National Opera and his 5th return to Opera Holland Park as Baron Zeta (The Merry Widow) and as The Pirate King (The Pirates Of Penzance – a co-production with Charles Court Opera, which he also directs).  In the 2018/19 season, roles included Angelotti (Tosca) and Sarastro (The Magic Flute), both for Opera North, and returning to Opera Holland Park to sing Count Horn (Un ballo in maschera) and play the silent role, Sante (Il Segreto di Susanna).

Guest appearances in previous seasons have included Leporello (Don Giovanni), Alidoro (La Cenerentola), Count Horn (Un ballo), Peter Quince (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Schaunard (La bohème) and Armchair/Tree (L’enfant el les sortileges), all for Opera North; 2nd Gunman (Kiss me, Kate) for Opera North/Welsh National Opera; debuts as Leporello (Don Giovanni), Colline (La bohème), and The Immigration Officer (Flight), all for Opera Holland Park, and his debut as Alidoro (La Cenerentola), Scottish Opera.

With a passion the contemporary music, John has performed Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King for the Lands End Ensemble, Calgary, and the Ossian Ensemble.  He also has a fondness for the Operetta repertoire, often performing with the National G&S Opera Company, and Charles Court Opera.

Recent concert engagements include Fortitudo (Applausus) for 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; Narrating fairytales for Christmas concerts with the Orchestra of Opera North; Messiah for Raymond Gubbay at Bridgewater Hall, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and Glasgow Royal Concert Hall; Mozart’s Requiem for the Three Choirs Festival / Philharmonia. He sang the world premiere of Roxburgh’s A cycle of two songs, written for him and pianist James Young, at Wigmore Hall in 2014.


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


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


John also enjoys a varied concert, chamber music and contemporary music schedule.

A lover of chamber and contemporary music, John recently performed Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King (Ossian Ensemble and Lands End Ensemble, Canada), Kagel’s …den 24.XII.1931 (Warehouse Ensemble, conducted by Edwin Roxburgh); The Boy who lived down the Lane by Diana Soh at the Performer’s Voice Symposium in Singapore and Stephen Oliver’s A Man of Feeling.

He sings the role of Bartolo on the BBC Singers / BBC Concert orchestra recording of Alfred Cellier’s The Mountebanks for Dutton Epoch and he made the premier recording of Peter Maxwell Davies’ A Sea of Cold Flame for Ayriel Classical.

Chamber and concert engagements have also included Elijah, Creation, Bach’s B Minor Mass, and Christus/Bass arias in Bach’s St. John & Matthew Passions.  John has also worked regularly with Counterpoise, a contemporary chamber ensemble dedicated to performing melodramas. With Counterpoise, he has performed works including John Casken’s Deadly Pleasures (Brighton Festival), Walton’s Facade and David Matthew’s Acteon.  He performed the UK premiere of Wynton Marsalis’ A Fiddler’s Tale at the Forge in Camden and Strauss’ Enoch Arden, Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale and Walton’s Henry V.

John studied with a scholarship at Trinity College of Music, where he was awarded the Founder’s Prize for Excellence and the Paul Simms Opera Prize.  He sang Dr. Hasselbacher in a revival of Malcolm Williamson’s rarely heard Our Man in Havana, Plutone in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, the Narrator/Mysterious Man in Into the Woods, and the bass solos in Tippett’s A Child of our Time.  Operatic roles to date also include Dulcamara (L’Elisir d’Amore), Don Giovanni, Don Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia), and Don Fernando (Fidelio).


“A force of nature”

The Telegraph


John has created productions both as Artistic Director of Charles Court Opera, and as a freelance director, deviser, and writer.  Upcoming productions include The Nativity Panto and Iolanthe for CCO, and The Pirates of Penzance for CCO in collaboration with Opera Holland Park.

Alongside his singing career, John has created productions of opera and musical theatre for his award-winning chamber opera company Charles Court Opera, and recently made his main stage directorial debut with Opera North. Recent directing engagements include his main stage debut with Trial by Jury, as part of Opera North’s season of Little Greats; Il Barbiere di Siviglia and The Magic Flute, both for CCO at the Iford Arts Festival.

He has written and directed Opera North’s ‘Whistle-stop’ productions to date as part of their Outreach programme, wrote adaptations of The Magic Flute and Cenerentola for the Royal Opera House’s Opera dots series, and devised an abridged The Pirates of Penzance for Opera Holland Park’s Inspire Programme.  He is the Education Manager for the Concordia Foundation, programming and creating their Young Audiences projects.

John founded CCO in 2005, and recent productions for them also include The Mikado and H.M.S. Pinafore. He has written/directed their 13 pantomimes to date, described by the Telegraph as an “annual madhouse” and he also directed an evening entitled ‘Avant garde’ for CCO, including Pierre Lunaire, Eight Songs for a Mad King and a series of Beckett shorts. For more information and a full list of productions John has directed for CCO, please visit their website:

Elsewhere, John has directed a rare revival of Sondheim and Rogers’ musical Do I Hear a Waltz? at the newly opened Park Theatre in London; Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Tosca for the Musique Cordiale Festival in the South of France; Wolf Ferrari’s Susanna’s Secret; Handel’s Julio Caesare; The Falcon (play – world-premiere); Acis and Galatea; Cosi fan tutte; Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri and Mozart’s Impresario.



14 Sept – 16 Nov 2019

Opera North

Martinů, The Greek Passion
Priest Fotis

12 October 2019

Chelsea Opera Group

Verdi, Un Giorno di Regno
Barone di Kelbar

31 October 2019

Concordia Foundation

Young Audiences Project, The Man in the Moon (There’s no planet B?)
Director & Librettist, Performer

15th December 2019

Brighton Dome / Covent Garden Sinfonia

Chapell & Blake, Paddington Bear’s First Concert & The Snowman

18 Jan – 20 Mar 2020

Opera North

Weill, Street Scene
Carl Olsen

27 Feb – 7 May 2020

Welsh National Opera

Bizet, Carmen

18 July – 1 August 2020

Opera Holland Park

Lehar, The Merry Widow

Baron Zeta

4 – 8 August 2020

OHP & Charles Court Opera

Sullivan, The Pirates of Penzance

Director / The Pirate King


<July 2019 – Sante, Il Segreto di Susanna – Opera Holland Park>

<July – August 2019 – Director, The Gondoliers – The National G&S Opera Company>

<July – August 2019 – Director, Ruddigore – Charles Court Opera on tour>

<June 2019 – Count Horn, Un ballo in Maschera – Opera Holland Park>

<June 2019 – Cadmus/Somnus, Semele – Northern Aldborough Festival>

<June 2019 – Librettist, La Cenerentola – Royal Opera House ‘Opera dots’ series>

<Spring 2019 – Librettist, The Magic Flute, Royal Opera House ‘Opera dots’ series>

<April – August 2019 – Director, H.M.S. Pinafore – Charles Court Opera at the King’s Head Theatre and on tour>

<Jan – March 2019 – Sarastro, The Magic Flute – Opera North>

<December 2018- January 2019 – Director/Librettist, Buttons (A Cinderella Pantomime) – Charles Court Opera>

<Autumn 2018 – Angelotti, Tosca – Opera North>

<Summer 2018 – Librettist, Pirates ‘revisited’ – Opera North Youth Chorus>

<Summer 2018 – 2nd Gunman, Kiss me, Kate – Opera North>

<Summer 2018 – Director/Librettist, The (mini) magic flute – Opera North & CBBC Summer social>

<Summer 2018 – Director, The Sorcerer – The National G&S Opera Company UK tour>

<Winter/Spring 2018 – Leporello, Don Giovanni – Opera North>

<Winter/Spring 2018 – Count Horn, Un ballo in maschera – Opera North>

<Spring 2018 – Director, The Mikado – Charles Court Opera at the King’s Head Theatre>

<Spring 2018 – Director/Librettist, Don Giovanni – Opera North ‘Whistle stop opera’ – Outreach>

<Winter 2017 – Director/Librettist, King tut – an egypt panto – Charles Court Opera (King’s Head Theatre)>

<Autumn 2017 – Armchair/Tree – L’Enfant et les sortileges – Opera North>

<Autumn 2017 – Director, Trial by Jury – Opera North main stage production>

<Summer 2017 – Leporello, Don Giovanni – Opera Holland Park>

<Summer 2017 – Director, The Barber of Seville – Iford Arts collaboration with Charles Court Opera>

<Winter/Spring 2017 – Alidoro, La Cenerentola – Opera North>

<Spring 2017 – Director/Librettist, Hansel & Gretel – Opera North ‘Whistle stop opera’ – Outreach>

<Winter 2016 – Director/Librettist, Pinocchio (pantomime) – Charles Court Opera (King’s Head Theatre)>

<Autumn 2016 – 2nd Gunman, Kiss me, Kate – Welsh National Opera co-production with Opera North>

<Summer 2016 – Colline, La Boheme – Opera Holland Park>

<Summer 2016 – Director/Librettist, The Magic Flute – Iford Arts collaboration with Charles Court Opera>

<Spring 2016 – Director, The Pirates of Penzance – Opera Holland Park Inspire Project>

<Autumn 2015 – 2nd Gunman, Kiss me, Kate – Opera North>

<Summer 2015 – The Immigration Officer, Flight – Opera Holland Park>





Alfred Cellier: The Mountebanks (Bartolo)

John Andrews, BBC Singers, BBC Concert Orchestra



John is represented worldwide by

Mark Kendall Artists Management
Mark Kendall

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