Edwin Crossley-Mercer



From the outset of his career, bass-baritone Edwin Crossley-Mercer proved himself an outstanding talent amongst the rising generation of French singers and he continues to make his mark, performing on the most prestigious international stages. After studying in Versailles and Berlin, he made his opera debut as Mozart’s Don Giovanni in Berlin in 2006, reprising the eponymous role in 2013 in Dijon.

In 2009 he sang in Cosi fan tutte at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence as Guglielmo, then 2010 marked his Opéra Bastille debut as the Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos. He also performed La Juive in Amsterdam as Albert, Amadis at the Opéra d’Avignon (Florestan), La Cenerentola at the Opéra National du Rhin (Dandini), Hippolyte et Aricie at the Beaune Festival and Opéra Royale de Versailles (Thésée), and at the Theatre de Champs-Elysées in Castor et Pollux (Pollux). At the Berlin operas he has performed La Bohème (Schaunard), Der Freischütz, and Doktor Faustus under Daniel Barenboim.

Edwin made his US debut in 2012 as Figaro with the LA Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel. He also appeared as Jupiter in Platée at the Lincoln Centre, Theater an der Wien, and the Opéra Comique, and as the title role in Fénelon’s biographical opera of Jean-Jacques Rousseau in Geneva and played Leporello at the 2014 Glyndebourne Festival (Don Giovanni), which marked his UK debut.

Returning to the Bastille Opera, he made a highly successful debut as Papageno (Die Zauberflöte), before appearing with the Berliner Philharmoniker in La Damnation de Faust in Baden-Baden. He also debuted in Japan at the Saito Kinen festival as Claudio in Béatrice et Bénédicte. Highlights of the 2014-2015 season included Massenet’s Manon at The Dallas Opera (Lescaut), the creation ‘Mauerschau’, at the Bayerische Staatsoper, and La Damnation de Faust (Brander) at the Paris Opera.

Returning in 2017 to the Opera Garnier in Così fan Tutte, he also performed numerous concerts and recitals around Europe and in the USA. Other projects included Belfast for Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Perm, Dortmund and Baden-Baden for La Bohème, Santiago de Chile for Don Giovanni, and Dresden, Amsterdam, Hamburg and Malmö for La Damnation de Faust and Munich for Orlando Paladino (Haydn).

The 2018/19 season saw Edwin return to the Theater an der Wein for Guillame Tell (Walter Fürst) and appear as Apollon and Adamas (Les Boreades) at the Dijon Opera.

In concert, he sang L’Enfance du Christ and La Damnation de Faust with the Orchestre National de France under Emmanuel Krivine. The following season saw him at the Opéra Bastille for Les Indes Galantes (Osman) under Leonardo Garcia Alarcon, directed by Clément Cogitore, and he notably returned to the Bayerische Staatsoper for a revival of Cenerentola as Dandini.

Then, Edwin Crossley-Mercer returned to the Bayersische Staatsoper for Cosi van tutte and Tosca.

His particular affection for oratorios and recitals has always been an essential component of his musical life. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, le Musée d’Orsay (Die Winterreise, Die Schöne Magelone), at the ‘folles journées’ in Nantes and Tokyo, at Montevideo, and at St Petersburg. He has sung Lieder and melodies in collaboration with many pianist accompanists and sang in concert under the direction of several prestigious conductors, including those of the Berliner Philharmoniker, Wiener Symphoniker, Orchestre Nationale de Radio France, Los Angeles Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, etc.

Recipient of the 2007 HSBC Foundation Award and the winner of the Lili and Nadia Boulanger Voice Prize, twice nominated for the Grammy Awards, he has recorded many pieces of baroque music as well as several Nadia Boulanger melodies for Delos. He has collaborated with the American composer Michael Linton, with whom he recorded two albums, (Carmina Catulli ainsi que Songs of Oscar Wilde).

In 2021, Franz Schubert‘s Die Winterreise notably became Edwin Crossley-Mercer’s first Lieder recording. During the 2021/2022 season, he returned to the Theater an der Wien for Peter Grimes and to the Opernhaus Zurich for Cosi fan tutte.

This season, Edwin Crossley-Mercer sings Moïse et Pharaon at the Opéra national de Lyon, Tannhäuser (Biterholf) at the Osterfestspiele Salzburg and Le Prophète (Oberthal) at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence. He also gives recitals and concerts, with orchestras such as the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and the Orchestre National du Capitole.

In parallel to his singing career, Edwin is also regularly engaged to work as a composer and conductor (Theater an der Josephstadt, Wien).

2022/2023 Season

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“En distinction de chant, en précision d’expression, en simple beauté de voix, le jeune Edwin Crossley-Mercer nous fait renouer avec la grande école des barytons français, un souvenir du premier Gérard Souzay passe dans ce timbre, c’est tout dire.
[Edwin Crossley-Mercer makes us appreciate the great French baritone tradition again with his original singing, precise expression and simple vocal beauty. His timbre reminds us of a young Gérard Souzay; one need say no more.]

Jean-Charles Hoffelé

Concert Classique

“Son Don Ramiro a de l’allure, tout comme le Dandini remarquable d’Edwin Crossley-Mercer, qui fait une démonstration de grande classe: vocalises parfaites, port stylé…
[His Don Ramiro has the perfect look, just like Edwin Crossley Mercer’s remarkable Dandini, whose performance was a demonstration of pure class with perfect vocals, and excellent style…]

Jean-Luc Macia

Opéra Magazine

More Reviews

“En distinction de chant, en précision d’expression, en simple beauté de voix, le jeune Edwin Crossley-Mercer nous fait renouer avec la grande école des barytons français, un souvenir du premier Gérard Souzay passe dans ce timbre, c’est tout dire.
[Edwin Crossley-Mercer makes us appreciate the great French baritone tradition again with his original singing, precise expression and simple vocal beauty. His timbre reminds us of a young Gérard Souzay; one need say no more.]

Jean-Charles Hoffelé, Concert Classique

“Son Don Ramiro a de l’allure, tout comme le Dandini remarquable d’Edwin Crossley-Mercer, qui fait une démonstration de grande classe: vocalises parfaites, port stylé…
[His Don Ramiro has the perfect look, just like Edwin Crossley Mercer’s remarkable Dandini, whose performance was a demonstration of pure class with perfect vocals, and excellent style…]

Jean-Luc Macia, Opéra Magazine

“Carton plein – et ce n’est pas une surprise – pour le Dandini épatant du baryton Edwin Crossley-Mercer, dont nous avons déjà loué haut et fort les immenses qualités. Le timbre sonne toujours aussi beau, la tessiture facile et étendue, la mezza voce enchanteresse, atouts auxquels s’ajoutent une vocalisation d’une rigueur et d’une aisance rarissimes dans ce rôle. En outre, le comédien n’est pas en reste, débordant de charisme, virevoltant en scène, attirant tous les regards, dans une performance mémorable.
[The winning hand – and this comes as no surprise – went to the dazzling Dandini sung by baritone Edwin Crossley-Mercer of whose immense talent we have often unreservedly spoken so highly. The timbre rings out as finely as ever; his comfortable wide tessitura and delightful mezza voce are assets to be added to his vocalization delivered with a rigor and ease most rarely encountered in this role. As a comedian he does not lag behind either, overflowing with charisma as he spins about the stage, with all eyes focused upon him in an unforgettable performance. ]

Nicolas Grienenberger, Classique News

“We are likely to hear a great deal more of this superb artist in coming years […] Crossley-Mercer, whose baritone is an instrument of lustrous individuality and suppleness. He is capable of scaling the voice down to a focused whisper or projecting with stentorian force. Words are paramount to Crossley-Mercer, as are inflections that heighten the drama in each song. The 30-year-old baritone, singing everything from memory, opened with works by Beethoven and Brahms. There were moments when his approach in this repertoire brought to mind the probing intellectuality and subtlety of the late German baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, with whom Crossey-Mercer studied in master classes. But these performances were no acts of imitation. Crossley-Mercer brought distinctive touches to the six odes to love and nature in Beethoven’s “An die ferne Geliebte,”altering vocal colors and employing physical gestures to enhance the moods. In six songs by Brahms, Crossley-Mercer applied warmth to placid lines, dreamy nuances where the texts portray a blissful world and ecstatic potency to passages of amorous flight […] Crossley-Mercer. Remember the name.”

Donald Rosenberg, The Plain Dealer

“La voix pleine aux riches harmoniques, la présence scénique et la noblesse de ton du chanteur participent de cette impression de bonheur parfait relayé avec tact, poésie et sens de la phrase, par un pianiste amoureux du chant. Les pages les plus sombres (Doppelgänger, Fahrt zum Hades, Der Zwerg, Der Wanderer), comme la grâce des mélodies (Abschied, An Silvia) sont portées par une interprétation où l’élégance et l’introspection le disputent à l’évidence et au naturel. Captivé par la qualité de ce récital, le public reste silencieux et concentré avant de libérer sa joie.
[The singer’s full voice with rich harmonics, stage presence and nobility of tone contribute greatly to our impression of utter happiness relayed by a pianist in love with singing with tact, poetry and great phrasing ability. The darkest pieces (Doppelgänger, Fahrt zum Hades, Der Zwerg, Der Wanderer), as well as the graceful melodies (Abschied, An Silvia) are interpreted not only elegantly and introspectively but also easily and naturally. The public, which is captivated by the recital’s quality, stays silent and concentrated before expressing its joy.]

Michel Le Naour, Concert Classique

“La France est prodigue en belles voix de baryton. Nous en avons donné à tous les répertoires d’opéra, italien, allemand, et au nôtre bien sûr, mais le Lied nous a toujours quelque peu échappé, à quelques très minimes exceptions près. Edwin Crossley-Mercer est l’une d’elles. Ce chanteur paraît tellement chez lui dans le répertoire germanique qu’on en oublierait presque qu’il est bien de chez nous, même si l’Allemagne lui est une seconde patrie musicale, puisque c’est là qu’il a débuté et s’est imprégné de cet art si particulier dont son récital Schubert était perfusé de bout en bout.
[France has an abundance of beautiful baritone voices. They have been excellent in all operatic repertoires – Italian, German and French, of course – but the Lied has always been somewhat difficult for them, except for a very select few. Edwin Crossley-Mercer is one of them. This singer seems so at ease in the Germanic repertoire that we almost forget that he actually comes from here, even though Germany is his second musical homeland, since that is where he began his career and absorbed this very particular art, which is present in his Schubert recital from beginning to end.]

Frédéric Norac, Musicologie

“Edwin Crossley-Mercer […] dont l’instrument épanouit sa pâte veloutée, mûre pour les demi-dieux, avec un naturel confondant.
[Edwin Crossley-Mercer’s vocal instrument, which could have been a demi-god’s, extends its velvet timbre with bewildering ease.]

Mehdi Mahdavi, Altamusica

“Chez les jeunes officiers, notre préférence ira à l’impeccable Guglielmo du séduisant Edwin Crossley-Mercer, chanteur raffiné, au legato admirablement maîtrisé, qui rend sympathique un personnage auquel il confère aussi une bonne dose de lyrisme.
[Our favourite young officer is the charming Edwin Crossley-Mercer’s impeccable Guglielmo. He is a refined singer with admirably mastered legato and makes his character sympathetic while giving it a good dose of lyricism.]

Richard Letawe, Classique Info

“D’emblée, le chanteur semble avoir compris et fait sien ce cycle redoutable, sombre et d’une intériorité déchirante. Chaque mot est savouré, coloré, chaque nuance pensée et ciselée, et rien ne semble avoir été laissé au hasard, révélant une maturité artistique exceptionnelle. Chaque sentiment apparaît vécu, ressenti profondément, dans la chair même, et pourtant jamais l’interprète ne se laisse déborder par l’émotion, gardant toujours un parfait contrôle de son instrument, la marque des très grands. Un tel degré de perfection artistique, à cet âge, voilà qui laisse pantois. Il est rare de n’avoir rien à redire au sujet d’une technique vocale ou d’une caractérisation dramatique, ici, on ne peut que s’incliner, et savourer ces forte timbrés, moirés, ces piani délicats, cette élégance de tous les instants […] Rompant avec la tradition, Edwin Crossley-Mercer s’est aventuré dans des bis, dans un style contrastant fortement avec la noirceur du cycle schubertien, des mélodies françaises. Passé un rapide temps d’adaptation à l’esthétique française si particulière, intime et parfumée, la magie opère, laissant l’auditoire sous le charme. Romance de Debussy, Clair de lune de Fauré, et enfin Elégie de Massenet, trois miniatures servies avec un bonheur et une délectation visibles par le jeune chanteur, magnifiquement exécutées, avec une maîtrise dans la voix mixte, les variations de couleurs et l’élégance racée de la diction, qui, une nouvelle fois, laisse sans voix […] Un récital somptueux, qui a vu l’éclosion parisienne d’un immense artiste, à suivre de très près, et promis sans aucun doute à de grandes destinées.
[From the very outset, the singer exhibited his comprehension of this Lieder cycle and fully identified himself with it as it stands out fearfully challenging, dark and replete with personal agony. He drank the dregs of every single word, gave it the required colour, ensuring that every thought held its subtlety, so that it was smithed and chiselled accordingly; the exceptional maturity of his artistic development showed that he did not overlook any facet or leave anything to chance. Every emotion came across as having been personally perceived and experienced within the very depths of his own body, and yet the singer never allowed his emotion to outstrip him, by maintaining constantly balanced vocal control, the hallmark of only the most distinguished of artists. Such a degree of artistic perfection in one so early in his career left the spectator speechless. It is a rare event indeed to be able to say unhesitatingly that a singer’s vocal technique or dramatic characterization is beyond reproach, but in this instance one can only bow and accept, and relish the musical quality of the fortes in their silken smoothness, the delicate piani and the ever-present elegance. […] In his encores, Edwin Crossley-Mercer broke with tradition by daringly choosing a style which provided a sharp contrast with the darkness of the Schubertian Winterreise and ventured into French melodies. Adapting quickly to the ever so singular, intimate and fragrant French aesthetic, the audience fell spellbound to the magic of the moment. Romance by Debussy, Clair de lune by Fauré, and lastly Elégie by Massenet were the three miniature portraits which the young singer chose to offer his public with such obvious enjoyment and pleasure; they were magnificently delivered, with a fully comprehensive mastery in the vocal range containing colour variations and a fine distinction and natural elegance of diction, which yet again, left the audience speechless. […] This sumptuous recital marked the discovery by the Parisian public of an astounding artist of immense promise and indubitably headed for an exceptional career.]

Nicolas Grienenberger, Classique news

“D’une clarté de diction exemplaire, totalement engagé dans les visions schubertiennes de larmes glacées, d’illusions, de tempêtes intérieures, parfaitement accordé aux pas d’un pianiste excellent et attentif aux inflexions du texte, Edwin Crossley-Mercer n’hésite pas à dramatiser le propos parfois aux limites de la dimension théâtrale. Si le geste parfois accompagne le chant, il ne nuit jamais à la qualité de la ligne vocale d’une grande unité, bien timbrée, aux graves somptueux et à la projection des aigus maîtrisés. La riche palette de couleurs est assortie aux états d’âme ondoyants et divers et aux sentiments variés qui envahissent le narrateur. Les bis, que l’on n’attendait pas après une telle marche vers le néant, sont consacrés à la musique française : Romance de Debussy, Clair de lune de Fauré, Elégie de Massenet. Ils confirment le grand art de cet artiste qui, âgé de vingt-huit ans, est déjà en possession d’une expérience de la scène hors pair.
[Edwin Crossley-Mercer’s diction was a paragon of clarity, whilst he displayed total identification with, and commitment to the Schubertian visions of glaciated tears, illusions and inner tumults, which provided a perfect match to the accompaniment of an excellent pianist who paid the keenest attention to the inflectional contours of the text. The singer had no hesitation in dramatizing the words, sometimes to the limits of the theatrical dimension. Nonetheless, the gestures accompanying the singing never once encroached upon the quality of the vocal line, which constantly maintained its unity and fineness of timbre with sumptuous bass notes and projected top notes held in perfect control. The rich palette of colours matched the wavering moods and the wide spectrum of feelings flooding the narrator’s thoughts. After a journey such as this towards emptiness, the encores were unexpectedly devoted to French music: Romance by Debussy, Clair de lune by Fauré and Elégie by Massenet. The encores were a confirmation of the artistic greatness of this performer, who, at the age of twenty-eight, is in full possession of an unparalleled experience of stage-sense.]

Michel Le Naour, Concert Classique

“Anciens de l’Académie du Festival, Judith van Wanroij et Edwin Crossley-Mercer ont l’exact profil physique et vocal de Despina et Guglielmo. Lui, timbre superbe, verbe fier, ligne gaillarde, elle, parfaite styliste et idéalement piquante.
[Judith van Wanroij and Edwin Crossley-Mercer, who are Académie du Festival alumni, have perfect physical and vocal Despina and Guglielmo profiles. He has a superb timbre, confident way of speaking and manly figure and she has a perfect singing style and is ideally charming.]

Mehdi Mahdavi, Altamusica

Der französische Bass-Bariton Edwin Crossley-Mercer überzeugt stimmlich wie darstellerisch und beherrscht seinen Part bis ins Feinste. Mühelos gelingt es ihm die winterliche Jahreszeit gefühlvoll herüberzubringen, vom Frühling in den kalten Winter hinein. Die gefühlvollen Erinnerungen einer vergangenen schönen Zeit leben durch seine innige Interpretation immer wieder auf und durch seine grosse und tragende Stimme vermag er es mühelos zu steigern, bis hin zum finalen Leiermann. Dank dieser rundum feinen Interpretation gefallen einem die berühmteren Lieder wie, der Lindenbaum, Frühlingstraum und die Post umso mehr.

[French Bass-Baritone Edwin Crossley-Mercer delivers a performance that is both vocally and dramatically convincing, and embodies his character with masterful precision. He sparks the winter season to life almost effortlessly, bringing a touch of spring to the cold, wintry months. His deep longing for a once beautiful time is evoked not only by his profound performance, but also by his powerful voice, which he effortlessly projects right up until the final song, ‘Der Leiermann’. Thanks to Crossley-Mercer’s fine performance, one of the opera’s most famous songs ‘Der Lindenbaum’ is a roaring success, and Frühlingstraum and die Post even more so.]

Marcel Burkhardt, Online Merker Jan 21st 2019