A native of New Zealand, James Benjamin Rodgers has appeared with The Ravinia Festival, The Merola Opera Program, Toledo Opera, Opera Omaha, The Southern Sinfonia, The Little Orchestra Society of New York, The Orpheus Choir, The Banff Centre, The Mac-Haydn Theatre, The NBR New Zealand Opera, The Opera Company of Middlebury, Red Light New Music and The Paul Dresher Ensemble.
A graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, James was the Orvis Foundation Scholar and received the Janet D. Schenck Award for his distinguished contribution to the life of the school. He has studied voice with Joan Patenaude-Yarnell, Neil Rosenshein and Emily Mair..
A highlight for 2012 was returning to New Zealand for a concert tour with pianist Jillian Zack. Their program, Kurt Weill: The Man and his Music, was “Docucital” focused on the life and times of this gifted composer. James and Jillian hope to bring the program to the United States in the coming seasons. James also appeared in the premiere performance of Matthew Welch’s opera Borges and the Other at Roulette in Brooklyn, and took the role of Tommy Albright in the Mac-Haydn Theatre’s production of Brigadoon. He returned to the Southern Sinfonia as tenor soloist for the world premiere of John Drummond’s The Journey Home and premiered Jack Perla's song cycle Pretty Boy with the Paul Dressher Ensemble in San Francisco. The recording of this work is scheduled for release in late 2013.
2013 sees James make his European debut with the MDR Sinfonieorchester in Leipzig performing Weill's Four Songs of Walt Whitman. He will also perform Down in the Valley and an evening of Broadway Musical Theatre at the Weill Fest in Dessau. James then travels to New Zealand to take the role of Goro in NBR New Zealand Opera's new production of Puccini's Madame Butterfly.
James has performed numerous roles in both Opera and Musical Theatre. He is a passionate advocate of the art song repertoire and a champion of new music. His awards include: An Arts Excellence Award from the Malvina Major Foundation (2010), Winner of the Joy in Singing Competition (2008), Winner of the Lotte Lenya Competition (2007), Wellington Rotary Scholarship, Marie D’Albini Scholarship, Bell Gully Travel Award, Sir Henry Cooper Memorial Scholarship in Music, as well as grants from the Lankhuyzen/Whetu Kairangi Masonic Trust and the Malvina Major Foundation
James recently completed his debut recording with renowned pianist Kenneth Merrill. The disc, “Exiled” The Extrication of Kurt Weill, will be released in 2013.
James resides in New York City.