Winner of the Maureen Forrester Prize and the German Lied Award at the 2018 Concours Musical International de Montréal, Winner of the 2017 Wigmore Hall / Kohn Foundation International Song Competition, the 2017 Kathleen Ferrier Awards, and the 2015 Maureen Lehane Vocal Arts Award, New Zealand / British baritone Julien Van Mellaerts graduated with the Tagore Gold Medal from the International Opera School of the Royal College of Music. His studies have been supported by the Kiwi Music Scholarship, a Countess of Munster Award, the Hunn Trust and the ongoing support of the Dame Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation. He is also a scholar and alumnus of the Verbier Festival Academy, the Heidelberger Frühling Lied Academy with Thomas Hampson, the Bayreuth Festspiele Stipendium, a Samling Artist and a lauréat of La Fondation Royaumont. In January 2021, he was invited to return to the Royal College of Music as a member of the staff to teach English Song. He is also the co-curator and co-founder of the recital series Opera in Song at Opera Holland Park.
Engagements during 2021 / 2022 included Duke of Nottingham Roberto Devereux at the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe (also for Chelsea Opera Group), Garibaldo Rodelinda at the Göttingen Festival, Silvio Pagliacci for the Israeli Opera, Masetto Don Giovanni at the Verbier Festival, Count Almaviva Le nozze di Figaro for Opera Holland Park, J. S. Bach B Minor Mass with the New London Orchestra, further performances of Brahms German Requiem with Ensemble Aedes and Les Siècles, the world premiere of John Lubbock’s orchestration of Dichterliebe with the Orchestra of St John’s, Mahler Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Mahler en héritage for the Fondation Royaumont, Mozart Coronation Mass at the Newbury Festival, Vaughan Williams Fantasia on Christmas Carols with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall, Songs of Innocence and Experience for Oxford Lieder and A Dangerous Obsession for the London Song Festival.
Engagements during 2022 / 2023 currently include the title role in Wozzeck for Orchestra Wellington, Ned Keene Peter Grimes and Vaughan Williams Five Mystical Songs at the St Endellion Festival, Oreste Iphigénie en Tauride for his debut at the Opéra National de Lorraine, Guglielmo Così fan tutte for New Zealand Opera, Masetto Don Giovanni at Salzburg Music Week, Prince Yamadori Madama Butterfly for the Israeli Opera, L’Enfance du Christ at the Wimbledon Festival, Julian Philips’ Sweet Love Remembered at the Presteigne Festival, Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music with the Nash Ensemble and Samling Artists showcase, both at the Wigmore Hall, a return to the Oxford Lieder Festival with Fauré Requiem and songs with harpist Olivia Jageurs, Friends and Lovers: Ralph and Ursula Vaughan Williams for the London Song Festival, Landscapes and Legends at Penkhull Festival, and The Soul’s Expression at the inaugural Shipston Song Festival. He also appears at the 2022 At the World’s Edge Festival in New Zealand and at Salle Cortot, Paris.
Working regularly with pianists such as James Baillieu, Lucy Colquhoun, Julius Drake, Jocelyn Freeman, Simon Lepper, Joseph Middleton, Dylan Perez, Ian Tindale and Jonathan Ware, he has toured for Chamber Music New Zealand and given recitals at the Wigmore Hall, Pierre Boulezsaal Berlin, Verbier Festival, Enniskillen International Beckett Festival, Juan March Fondación Madrid, Victoria de los Angeles Lied Festival (LIFE Victoria) Barcelona, Oxford Lieder Festival, Leeds Lieder, London Song Festival, Opera Holland Park, Fondation Royaumont, Piano Salon Christophori Berlin, Temple Song London, Royal Opera House, BBC Glenarm Festival of Voice.
Singing under conductors including Alphonse Cemin, Valeri Gergiev, Jonathon Heyward, Stanislav Kochanovsky, Fabio Mastrangelo, Mathieu Romano and Sir András Schiff, his engagements have included The Ferryman Curlew River for the Cross-Cultural Year of Russia and Great Britain at St Andrew’s Anglican Church, Moscow, Oreste Iphigénie en Tauride at the Fondation Royaumont, Figaro Le nozze di Figaro at Salzburg Mozart Woche 2020, Count Almaviva Le nozze di Figaro for Opera Holland Park, Papageno Die Zauberflöte at the Verbier Festival, Beethoven Cantata for the Death of Joseph the Second with Symphonia Varsovia, Brahms German Requiem with Ensemble Aedes and Les Siècles, Handel Arias with the Bellot Ensemble, and joined Louise Alder and Roderick Williams for Momentum: Our Future, Now recitals.
With the Royal Ballet, he appeared in Elizabeth with Zenaida Yanowksy at the Barbican Hall. Further engagements have included The Referee Mozart vs Machine for Mahogany Opera Group, Schaunard La bohème for New Zealand Opera, the title role in Stanford’s The Travelling Companion for New Sussex Opera, Harlequin Ariadne auf Naxos for Longborough Festival Opera, the title role in Eugene Onegin for Cambridge Philharmonic Society, Mr Fezziwig in the premiere of Will Todd’s A Christmas Carol for Opera Holland Park, Britten War Requiem in Lincoln and Salisbury Cathedrals, Copland Old American Songs with the Joensuu City Orchestra, Messiah with the Orchestra of St John’s, Mahler Kindertotenlieder with the Kensington Symphony Orchestra and Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen on tour with the Israel Camerata.
Julien Van Mellaerts represented New Zealand at Cardiff Singer of the World 2019. His broadcasts and recordings include Britten War Requiem (Siren Media), Songs by Duparc, Fauré, Richard Strauss and Vaughan Williams (Classic fM), In Tune and Lunchtime Recitals (BBC Radio 3), Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn (Rádio Clásica España) Don Giovanni, Die Zauberflöte, Die Frau ohne Schatten and Salome (Medici TV) and The Travelling Companion (SOMM Recordings). His debut song CD, Songs of Travel and Home with James Baillieu, is now available on Champs Hill Records and he also commissioned and recorded Gareth Farr’s and Paul Horan’s Where Will They Bury My Bones? for the Auckland Arts Festival and Radio New Zealand, now available on Songbroker NZ. Other recent releases include Barber’s Dover Beach and the previously unrecorded Two Songs of Youth on Resonus Classics, Samuel Barber: The Complete Songs (Editor’s Choice for BBC Music Magazine and an Observer CD of the Week), Rodelinda on Accent CD and Russell Pascoe’s Secular Requiem on Regent CD (Gramophone Editor’s Choice for January 2023). His next disc, Songs of the Night, is to be released in 2023 with Lucy Colquhoun and Rowan Pierce on Champs Hill Records.