Yannis François

Bass-Baritone, Dancer

Born in Guadeloupe, Yannis François began his career as a dancer with Lena Blou. He entered the École-Atelier Rudra Béjart in Lausanne and later became a member of the Béjart Ballet. During singing lessons as part of his dance school studies, Maurice Béjart encouraged him to fully explore a parallel singing career. He graduated with a master's degree in Classical Singing at the Conservatoire de Lausanne.

On the opera stage, he has sung Curio in Giulio Cesare beside Andreas Scholl, Peter Quince in A Midsummer night's dream by Britten, Sasha in Moscow Cheryomushki by Shostakovitch, Melisso in Alcina by Händel, Isacius in Richardus Primus by Telemann (Giessen, Michael Hofstetter), Seneca in L'incoronazione di Poppea and Plutone in Monteverdi's Orfeo both with Leonardo Garcìa Alarcòn, the title-role in Eight Songs for a Mad King by Peter Maxwell Davies, Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas in Staatsoper Berlin (Sasha Walz, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin), and Le chef des matelots in Alcione by Marais conducted by Jordi Savall in Versailles.

In concert he has sung the solo bass roles in several oratorios such as Mass in B minor (Vaclav Luks, Collegium 1704), Johannes-Passion by J.S Bach (Ton Koopman), Schumann's Das Paradies und die Peri. He has appeared as soloist with other conductors such as Ottavio Dantone, Gabriel Garrido, Christina Pluhar, Paul Agnew, among others.

In recent seasons Yannis was mentored by Barbara Hannigan in her Equilibrium Young Artists programme and sang Nick Shadow in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress by Stravinski in Brussels, California and Aldeburgh, conducted by Hannigan herself.

In 2020-21 and last season, he sang Gaveston in Boieldieu’s La Dame Blanche with the Co(opera)tive on a broadcast (because of Covid), Lucifer in Scarlatti’s Primo Omicidio in Salzburg Festival, Montpellier, conducted by Philippe Jaroussky, solo bass roles in Le Malade Imaginaire (Molière, Lully) and Mariage Forcé with Concert Spirituel (H. Niquet) on tour, Mercure in a production of Cupid & Death with Correspondances Ensemble (cond. Sébastien Daucé) at Théâtre de l’Athénée in Paris and Caen Opera and a revival of Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas in Ludwigsburg.

In 2022-23 and this season, he sings Littore, Console et Familiagre III dans L’Incoronazione di Poppea at Festival d’Aix-en-Provence (dir. L. G. Alarcon) and Opera Royal Versailles, he revives Cupid and Death at Rennes Opera, he is soloist in Concerto Copenhagen « Light : Bach Dances » at the Paris Philharmonie, he is soloist in Mozart Requiem with Geneva Camerata, he interprets Chirone and Bacco in l’Orfeo (Sartorio) at the Opéra National de Montpellier (cond Ph. Jaroussky), and he revives the role of Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas at the Berlin Staatsoper and Ludwigsburg. He is also Teucer and Ismenor in Rameau’s Dardanus at the Confidencen Theater (Stockholm), solo baritone in La Fest at the Staatsoper Stuttgart, then he creates the Shell Trial (Ellen Reid) at the De Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam and he is Alcindoro/Benoît in La Bohème for Montpellier Opera.

He also gives several concerts: Blue Monday (Gershwin) with the Orchestre de Picardie, solo part in Mozart Requiem with the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris and Radio France Orchestre Philharmonique at Philharmonie de Paris under the baton of B .Hannigan, récital L’Instant Lyrique with Barbara Hannigan Salle Gaveau, Paris, a concert with the Geneva Chamber Orchestra and with Geneva Camerata, Kymi Sinfonietta (Topi Lehtipuu), La Morte vint (Ziani) with Les Traversées Baroques, baritone solo in a Vivaldi project at Fribourg opera (NOF), Mercurio (L’incoronazione di Poppea) with Le Banquet Céleste and Cappella Mediterrane.

Among his projects in 2024-25, he will play Shams in Sky in a Small Cage (Rolf Hind) for Mahogany Opera in London and Copenhagen, solo baritone in Hindemith’s Sancta Susanna (role of Knecht) and Honneger’s La Danse des Morts at the Nancy National Opera, and he will revive l’Incoronazione di Poppea at the Nederlandse Reisopera.

Given his passion for and knowledge of forgotten music, Yannis is regularly hired to research and develop concepts for the CD programmes of artists such as: Jakub Jozef Orlinski, Philippe Jaroussky, Julie Fuchs, Jeanine de Bique, Bruno de Sà and Lea Desandre.

For Mahogany Opera: Sky In A Small Cage

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