"Blessed with a rich, smooth and secure voice that made quite an impact"
- Michael Cookson Review
Liam James Karai is a Bass-baritone of Scottish, Irish and Indian descent who is currently a member of the International Opera Studio at Staatsoper Hamburg. He was previously a young artist at Salzburg Festspiele as well as a finalist of the 41st International Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition. Upcoming roles in his 2023/24 season at Staatsoper Hamburg include roles such as Angelotti (Tosca), Hobson (Peter Grimes), Zaretsky (Eugine Onegin), Il Conte di Ceprano (Rigoletto), Alcindoro (La bohème), Antonio (Le nozze di Figaro), covering Guglielmo (Così fan tutte), covering Alidoro (La Cenerentola) and covering Colline (La bohème). Outside of Hamburg, Liam will be debuting Escamillo (Carmen) within a new production at Staatstheater Mainz as well as debuting at Oper Leipzig as Verwalter & Wächter (Lady Macbeth von Mzensk), a role he already performed at Staatsoper Hamburg. In his previous season at Staatsoper Hamburg, Liam performed as Sciarrone (Tosca), Verwalter & Wächter (Lady Macbeth von Mzensk), Un Usciere di Courte (Rigoletto), Narziss (Die kuh – doch halt nein nein) and coved Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro).
Alongside his operatic career, Liam is a keen concert soloist and has regularly performed in opera galas, recitals and concerts around the world. Upcoming concerts include his Elbphilharmonie Groẞer Saal debut singing as the Bass Soloist in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Kent Negano. Last season Liam performed as the Bass Soloist for several other works including Mozart Requiem and Bach’s Weihnachtsoratorium. He also made his Elbphilharmonie Kleiner Saal debut alongside his colleagues from the Opera Studio, performing extracts as Don Giovanni (Don Giovanni) and Ralph (La jolie fille de Perth).
Liam made his international debut in July 2022 whilst on the Young Artist Programme at the Salzburg Festspiele singing Guccio in Gianni Schicchi within Il Trittico. He also performed in some concerts in Salzburg with the Mozarteum Orchestra singing extracts from Le nozze di Figaro as Figaro, Cosi Fan Tutte as Don Alfonso and Cenerentola as Alidoro.
Liam completed a Postgraduate Diploma on a full scholarship as well as a Master of Music degree in Performance at the Royal Northern College of Music (Manchester, England) under the tutelage of Quentin Hayes. During his time at the RNCM, Liam was awarded the Sir John Tomlinson Scholarship and the Andrew Lloyd Webber Scholarship, and was the winner of the 2021 Frederic Cox Award and the RNCM Silver Medal. He also represented the RNCM for the Joaninha Trust Award competition and for the Clonter Opera Prize, winning the first and placing runner up in the latter.
Whilst at the RNCM, Liam performed a variety of operatic roles, including Figaro in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Minskman in Jonathan Dove’s Flight, Badger/Priest in Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen and Ein Lakai and Der Haushofmeister in the Prologue to Richard Strauss’ Ariadne Auf Naxos. Outside of the RNCM, Liam covered the principal role of Parsi Rustomji in Satyagraha at English National Opera, performed as Leporello (Don Giovanni) with Allo Opera, and took on the role of Martino in British Youth Opera’s L’occasione fa il ladro at Opera Holland Park. Liam also sang as a member of the Bergen National Opera chorus for a production of Peter Grimes that won Gramophone’s ‘Opera Recording of the Year’ award and the ‘Recording of the Year’ award across all categories in 2021.
Prior to his studies at the RNCM, Liam graduated with First Class Honours from the University of Leicester where he read Banking and Finance on a vocal scholarship. He is a keen gym-goer and marathon-runner and competed to one of the highest standards of University Basketball in the United Kingdom during his undergraduate degree, acting as the president of the University of Leicester Basketball Club in his final year.
Follow Liam James Karai on Instragram for snapshots & updates of his travels, rehearsals, performances, family, and friends.