William Relton made his professional debut as an actor in 1971 in Rattigan’s “The Winslow Boy” in the West End. He went on to develop his career in television and theatre playing. His major roles include Cherubin (Beaumarchais’s The Marriage of Figaro) at the National Theatre, Bernstein’s Candide (Candide) and Tony (West Side Story), etc. His operatic roles include Mozart’s Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Basilio (Le nozze di Figaro) and Ferrando (Così fan tutte) as well as Tisbe (Rossini’s La Cenerentola), a production that cast men in the roles of sisters). Recently he has played the Haushofmeister in R. Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos at Glyndebourne and the Frankfurt Opera. On television he appeared in many plays and series including Clayhanger, Play for Today, The Lost Boys and Degrees of Error. Film work includes Beauty and the Beast, The Great Gastby and Slumdog Millionaire.
In 1991 he joined Music Theatre London, an opera company that casts actors with good singing voices, as opposed to classically trained opera singers. He also worked as Executive Producer for the company over three years producing tours for the Vienna Festival, Germany, Holland and in the UK. He has been an assistant director at Opera North (1994–97) and at the English National Opera (1998–2001). For some years he worked very closely with Co-Opera Company and was in charge of Touring Operations and Education, producing tours and organising community education projects. Currently he is Artistic Director of Opera Forge, an ambitious new company with plans to mount Wagner’s Ring des Nibelungen over the next three years.
In 1993 he made his debut as a stage director with Mozart’s Così fan tutte. Since then he has directed all over the UK and Europe: English National Opera, l’Opera de Nice, Dorset Opera, Kongelige Teater, Copenhagen, Oslo Opera House, Drottingholms Slottstheater, Staatstheater Darmstadt among many others. His most recent productions include Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Die Zauberflöte and La finta giardiniera, Pergolesi’s La serva padrona, Bizet’s Carmen and Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, Rossini’s La gazza ladra, Puccini’s La bohème, Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana, Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann and Händel’s Alessandro, Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de perles, Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, Haydn’s Il mondo della luna, Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia.
William Relton has spent much of his time directing and teaching in opera schools in the UK and in Scandinavia. In the UK he has directed productions and/or scenes at most of the principal opera schools, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music and National Opera Studio in London, and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. In Scandinavia he has worked extensively at the Opera Acadamy of the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen and also at Operahogskolan in Stockholm, the Opera School in Göteborg and KHIO in Oslo.