Glenville began his professional career in 1971 singing Don Claudio in Béatrice et Bénedict with the Hallé Orchestra. A principal contract with Scottish Opera followed and his international career began in 1981, singing Figaro Il barbiere di Siviglia in the Netherlands. In 1982, he made his début at the Royal Opera House, as Hermann in John Schlesinger’s celebrated production of Les contes d’Hoffmann, with Placido Domingo in the title-rôle. In the same year, for ENO, his début was in The Magic Flute.
For Opera Northern Ireland, rôles included Belcore L’elisir d’amore, Schaunard La bohème, and Duphol La traviata; his début for Welsh National Opera was as Marcello, later singing title-rôle Don Pasquale, Pfleger Elektra and Ankarstroem Un ballo in maschera. Roles with Opera North included Angelotti Tosca, Krušina Bartered Bride, Dark Fiddler A Village Romeo and Juliet, Kothner Die Meistersinger and Germont La traviata. He sang Falstaff in Graham Vick’s production for CBTO, Don Alfonso (ETO), title-rôle Mikado (Carl Rosa) and Musiklehrer Ariadne (Garsington, ETO). He appeared many times with Opera Holland Park, singing Marcello, Scarpia, Baldassare L’Arlesiana, Don Alfonso, Michele Il tabarro and Tonio I Pagliacci.
He worked regularly with contemporary composers, singing the formidable rôle of the Old Man in Purgatory by Crosse, creating the rôle of Longinus in Hamilton’s The Catiline Conspiracy for Scottish Opera and appearing in the London International Opera Festival, singing the title-rôle in Ullmann’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis and Mittenhoffer in Henze’s Elegy for Young Lovers. He created the rôles of Sir Charles and the Judge in Metcalf’s Tornrak for WNO and, in 2005, the central rôle of Pitcher in Ed Hughes’ The Birds.
Concert engagements included Judas Maccabeus in Madrid, Sea Drift (RPO), Gerontius (RLPO), Elijah (Hallé Choir) and The Kingdom in Buenos Aires. He enjoyed singing songs for ballet, notably several performances of Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with the late Rudolf Nureyev at the London Coliseum. He was a notable exponent of Carmina Burana - with Willcocks, at the South Bank, and for Classic FM. His recordings include Purgatory (Decca 1975/Nimbus 2008), Caterina Cornaro (with Bonynge) and broadcasts for BBC Radio 2 and 3, Suisse Romande and Hilversum.
He sang extensively in France and Switzerland - Elegy for Young Lovers in Lausanne in the first performances of the opera in French, The Rake’s Progress (Lausanne and Bordeaux), Rigoletto, Sharpless, Germont (France) and in the Netherlands singing The Makropulos Case and all seven Traveller rôles Death in Venice. In 2004 he returned to Opera North, where he sang Krušina and Germont, followed by Rigoletto in Northern Ireland.
He has worked with many distinguished conductors including Claudio Abbado, Oliver Dohnanyi, Carlo Rizzi, Sir Richard Bonynge, Sir Mark Elder, Sir Charles Groves, Sir Richard Armstrong, Sir Alexander Gibson and Sir David Willcocks. In 2006, he was invited by Sir Brian McMaster to appear as Schwarz in Die Meistersinger in the director’s farewell concert at the Edinburgh International Festival - along with a prestigious group of ‘Alte Meister’ and Jonas Kaufmann as Walter.
BMus, GRSM, ARMCM, BEd, Hon ARAM, FRSA, FHEA
Glenville began his vocal studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, followed by postgraduate work at The London Opera Centre. He was a pupil of the late Frederic Cox, widely recognised as one of the finest singing teachers of the second half of the twentieth century. Cox himself was a student of the renowned Italian tenor – Aureliano Pertile
Throughout his performing career, Glenville maintained a substantial teaching commitment. In 1986 he was appointed Senior Tutor in Vocal Studies at the Royal Northern College of Music and in 1997 joined the Vocal Faculty at the Royal Academy of Music, where he has since held numerous posts, including Associate Director of Opera, Head of Opera Studies, LRAM Tutor and Senior Professor of Singing.
In addition to teaching singing, he lectures in Vocal Pedagogy and the Art of Teaching. Students, past and present, currently appear on the operatic stage and concert platform throughout the world and many have been the recipients of some of the most prestigious and lucrative singing awards (Wigmore Hall International Song Competition, Frederic Cox Prize, Miriam Lycette Scholarship, Richard Lewis Prize, Maggie Teyte Prize, Kathleen Ferrier Song Prize and Dame Eva Turner Scholarship), in addition to gaining places at the National Opera Studio and on young artists programmes at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Opéra national de Paris, Oper Frankfurt Studio and La Scala Opera House, Milan. In 2019, a former mezzo-soprano student was a finalist in the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.
Glenville has been a member of the Academic Board and the professorial representative on the Governing Body at the RAM. He was awarded a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in October 2011.
Current and former students include:
Glenville’s early tuition in choral conducting, organ technique and repertoire was under the tutelage of Keith Rhodes, Organist and Master of the Choristers at Bradford Cathedral, both at school and later at the Royal Northern College of Music. He was an organ scholar at the University College of St. John, York and subsequently worked with Professor Basil Smallman and Dr. Caleb Jarvis during postgraduate organ studies at Liverpool University.
He has been Director of Music at several parish churches, notably Emmanuel Church, Didsbury – at one time home to the Daily Service on BBC Radio 4.
As Head of Opera Studies at the Royal Academy of Music, he was responsible for the musical preparation of the repertoire, in addition to arranging and hosting various masterclasses. In 2009, he was the assistant conductor to Sir Charles Mackerras for a new production of Handel’s Semele.
He is currently Director of Music at St. Paul’s Church, Brighton, where in addition to leading the choir in a wide variety of repertoire, he coordinates a major project to restore the extensive 1893 Hunter organ, which has a Grade 1 Historical Listing.