James Payne

Canberra born James grew up in The US, Mexico, Germany and the UK. He commenced his vocal studies at the Canberra School of Music, and continued at the Sydney Conservatorium with Michael Halliwell and Sharolyn Kimmorley. He has studied with Anna Connolly, David Harper, Anthea Moller and Joshua Hecht and coaches with Raymond Lawrence.


For Melbourne Opera, James has performed Morales in Carmen, Pizarro in Fidelio, Kromov in The Merry Widow, and Baron Douphol in La Traviata.


For Victorian Opera, he most recently appeared as The King in the pantomimes of Sleeping Beauty in January, and in Cinderella in 2012. Other roles include Papageno and Dandini in education performances of The Magic Flute and Cenerentola respectively, and in Angelique in 2010. He recently understudied major roles in Rembrandt’s Wife, The Bear, Zauberflöte, The Rake’s Progress and Le Nozze di Figaro. Younger Victorian audiences may recognise James from OzOpera’s Schools program, having performed in primary schools across the state in The Sound Garden, Sid the Serpent and Hansel and Gretel in recent years. As a member of the Opera Australia chorus (2000-2007), James sang in well over 1200 performances on the main stages in Sydney and Melbourne while understudying and performing numerous supporting roles. He has performed with The Australian Ballet, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, IMG, and Melbourne City Opera among many others. Recent highlights include David Chisholm’s Kursk in The Melbourne Festival 2011, and Scarpia in a touring production of Tosca last year. He most recently performed the role of Pandolfe in Massenet's Cinderella for Melbourne Opera Studio/Gertrude Opera. James enjoys the finer things in life, particularly starting and never finishing important works of literature.