Malcolm Rivers

Born in Suffolk in 1937. Evacuated to Leicester in 1940 and educated at the Alderman Newton’s Grammar school. Leicester Cathedral chorister until three years service in the Royal Air Force from 1954 intervened. Salisbury Cathedral chorister during RAF service. Professionally trained at the Royal College of Music as a scholar where he performed three times as soloist for the Queen Mother and from where he was offered a scholarship for further studies at the Royal Opera House by Sir David Webster. During this time he also performed at the Royal Albert Hall as soloist under Sir Malcolm Sargent .

Following his success in Vienna as Macheath in a television film of John Gay’s A Beggar’s Opera he was acclaimed the English Fischer-Dieskau and offered a contract at the Royal Shakespeare Company to appear in the same work at The Aldwych, in addition to the Chester Miracle Plays alongside Dorothy Tutin, Virginia Mckenna, Elizabeth Spriggs, Diana Rigg, Doris Hare, Michael Williams, Ian Richardson and Derek Godfrey.

It was during this period that he was invited to audition to Benjamin Britten and subsequently was invited to join Britten’s English Opera Group at Aldeburgh performing under the auspices of the Royal Opera House. Britten roles of that period included Collatinus, Theseus, The Traveller, The Ferryman, The Astrologer and The Elder Brother, which was written for him. Many premieres of other works were performed at the Jubilee Hall and included William Walton’s The Bear, Lennox Berkeley’s The Castaway, and Gordon Crosse’s Grace of Todd.

Later in his career Malcolm also performed other Britten roles such as Mr. Flint in Billy Budd in Barcelona and Tel Aviv and Mountjoy in Gloriana at The English National Opera, where Malcolm served a tenure of 20 years as a contract artist and as a guest.

Roles at ENO included, most notably, Alberich in the Goodall Ring Cycles, Escamillo, Caspar, Graf Lysiart, Alfio, Telramund, Kayama Yesaemon, Pizarro, Scarpia, Mazeppa, Budivoj, Albert, Dolochov, the Father in the Bartered Bride, Di Candia, Klingsor, Kothner and Melot, mostly under the baton of Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Reginald Goodall and Sir Mark Elder.

Guest appearances at the Royal Opera House were as Alberich (Maestro Haitink), Antenor (Troilus and Cressida), Sid (Fanciulla with Domingo and Zubin Mehta), and Geisterbote in Frau ohne Schatten. Both Fanciulla and Troilus were international recordings for Deutsche Grammophon and EMI.

Throughout this very productive period of his career Malcolm also served for ten years in the very first West Coast Ring Cycles in the USA as Alberich under the great George London’s direction in Seattle to huge acclaim and later for a further five years at Arizona Opera in the same role. Other USA appearances were as Scarpia with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Alfie Dolittle in Portland, Omaha and Houston, Dolokhov in War and Peace at The Metropolitan Opera NY, The Pirate King and Pooh Bah in Orange County, Germont Pere in Seattle, and Mountjoy in New Orleans.

European Opera houses where he has sung major roles including Alberich and Pizarro are: Barcelona, Marseille, Rouen, Paris, Teatro San Carlo Napoli, La Fenice Venice, Florence, Tel Aviv, St. Gallen, Basle, Bergen, Drottningholm, Trondheim, Vienna and Osnabruck.

Malcolm has also spent considerable time in West End Theatres in Musical Theatre and Gilbert and Sullivan. In particular two years at the Savoy as the Pirate King, Pooh Booh and The Mikado for D’Oyly Carte Opera in additon to M.Firmin in The Phantom of the Opera, Mr. Molokov in Abba’s musical CHESS, Alfie Doolittle in My Fair Lady and The Judge in Sweeney Todd at Sadler’s Wells for Opera North, for whom he has also sung major roles in Leeds and on tour including Caspar and Favel in Rebecca .

Major recordings: Pacific Overtures (Sondheim, ENO), Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado (D’Oyly carte), Fanciulla del West (ROH Mehta), Otello (Elder, ENO), Troilus and Cressida (ROH, Foster), Burning Fiery Furnace (Britten, EMI), Iernin (George Lloyd, BBC), John Socman (George Lloyd, BBC). DVDs: Billy Budd, Rigoletto, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Otello.