James Harrison graduated with First Class Honours from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and after a year as an Emerging Artist with NBR New Zealand Opera, studied with Margaret Kingsley at the Royal College of Music where he won the prestigious Lies Askonas Prize, the McCulloch Prize for Opera and a special Director’s Prize. James then went on to the National Opera Studio.
On the concert platform James has sung with Sir David Wilcocks (Messiah) at the Royal Albert Hall; the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge (Creation) also at the Royal Albert Hall; the Classical Opera Company at the Barbican; and Peter Schreier (Weihnachts Oratorium) at St John’s Smith Square. Along with Lindy Tennent-Brown, James has given a series of recitals throughout England, worked with Graham Johnson's Young Songmakers and with The Prince Consort. James is now a member of an exciting new group, The Blind Tiger Ensemble.
James recently made his debut for English National Opera in Tansy Davis’ Between Worlds and made his ROH debut in Opera Holland Park’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at The Lindbury Studio. His operatic roles include Christus in the London Handel Festival’s world premiere staging of Handel’s Brocke’s Passion; Papageno/The Magic Flute for Merry Opera Company; Escamillo/Carmen and Onegin/Eugene Onegin for Riverside Opera; Bello/La Fanciulla del West for Opera Holland Park; Conte Alamaviva/Le Nozze di Figaro for Regent’s Opera; Hortensius La Fille du Regiment/Opera della Luna; Scarpia/Tosca for Opera UpClose; Mauregato in Schubert’s Alfonso und Estrella; work with Mid-Wales Opera and extracts from Don Giovanni with the London Mozart Players. James has also covered roles for English National Opera, Opera North and Garsington.
James regularly returns to New Zealand to sing in opera and concerts including the title role in the world premiere of Eve de Castro Robinson's opera Len Lye; Valentin/ Faust and Father/Hansel & Gretel for NBR Zealand Opera and concerts with Auckland Choral Society, the Auckland Philharmonia and Christchurch City Choir. James is currently taught by Joy Mammen and has taken part in masterclasses with Luciano Pavarotti, Sherrill Milnes, Tom Krause, Gerald Finley and Sir Donald McIntyre.