Currently starring as

John Claggart in Billy Budd 

at Des Moines Metro Opera


"Zachary James, who plays the ship’s ruthless master-at-arms John Claggart with a chilling intensity and an emotional depth that rivals the fathoms of his vocal range. James skillfully unpacks the character’s tortured thoughts and forbidden desires." -DSM MAGAZINE


"The star of the night" -OPERA WIRE


"The villain  was portrayed with towering force by Zachary James, a giant man with a big, black bass to match." -CHICAGO TRIBUNE


"His imposing stature, his bad boy good looks, and most of all, his searing, orotund vocal production combined to make him a definitive Master at Arms. Mr. James finds astonishing nuance in his delivery, as he is both physically and intellectually attracted to Billy, all the while disgusted by it. You will likely never hear Claggart’s aria more passionately performed with compelling tortured feelings, yet with rock solid vocalism."

-OPERA TODAY


"the dynamic, explosive, forceful Zachary James. Physically imposing, Mr. James took command of the stage..." -OPERA WIRE


"I am not exaggerating when I say that “Oh, beauty, oh handsomeness, goodness” was the most electrifying five minutes I have ever spent in the theater. I’ve seen it done as a showpiece aria, but as rendered by Mr. James, in the context of a powerful production like this one, it was a transformational moment. His anguish, his rage, his sorrow, were all inwardly focused: no striding about the stage, no “tenor claw,” no chewing of scenery; everything was done with his voice as his body collapsed before us. His rendition was at once deeply personal and overwhelming explosive. I walked out at intermission still dizzy with tears in my eyes." -OPERA WIRE





Upcoming performances at Anchorage Opera, Arizona Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Opera Ithaca, English National Opera and the Metropolitan Opera. Visit Schedule page for more info...