In 2023/24, Joa Helgesson will make his Richard Strauss debut as Barak in Frau ohne Schatten at the Neuköllner Oper in Berlin. He also returns to the Royal Opera in Stockholm in Andrea Tarrodi’s new opera Vilse.
Swedish baritone Joa Helgesson grew up in Blackeberg, Stockholm. He went to choir school as a boy, formed his first death metal-band at the age of 12, went on to sing and play bass in several bands and compose music at Rytmus high school. A composition collaboration with schools from New York and Shanghai under the tutorship and baton of Quincy Jones brought him to China. He studied acting at the Shanghai Theatre Academy in China, started his classical vocal training at the chamber music programme of MDH/Sweden, and finished his studies at the University College of Opera in Stockholm.
Joa Helgesson made his international debut while still in college, as a winner of the Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg singing competition, in the role of Belcore in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore. As a promising young singer, Joa Helgesson was then accepted at the National Opera Studio in London and subsequently at the Opera Studio of Opernhaus Zürich where he worked under conductors Bernard Haitink, Zubin Mehta, Nello Santi, and Ingo Metzmacher, and was the cover for Thomas Hampson in Verdi’s I Masnadieri (Francesco).
He has taken classes and participated in masterclasses with singers like Bruno Pola, John Lundgren, Peter Mattei, Francisco Araiza, Luana DeVol, Neil Shicoff, Lena Hellström-Färnlöf, Jeremy Carpenter, Robert Hyman, Rolando Villazon, Roland Herrman and more.
Between 2012 and 2015, Joa Helgesson was the house baritone of Landestheater Schleswig-Holstein, where he sang parts like Onegin, Figaro in Barbiere di Siviglia, Sharpless, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, Dr. Falke, Schaunard, Sparbüchsen-Bill and more. Since 2015, Joa Helgesson works as a freelance singer, with appearences at Berliner Philharmonie, Beijing Modern Music Festival, Tonhalle Zürich, Reykjavik Arts Festival, Ultima Oslo, Gare du Nord Basel, Oper Halle, Theater Trier, Theater Chur, Cadogan Hall in London, The Royal Opera in Stockholm, Göteborgsoperan, Folkoperan in Stockholm, Norrlandsoperan and Malmö Opera.
Of his around 50 different parts on stage, notable interpretations include Billy Budd, The Phantom of the Opera and Frollo (Gothenburg), Posa, Kurwenal and Don Alfonso (Folkoperan in Stockholm), Don Giovanni (Norrlandsoperan), Escamillo and Marcello (Dala-Floda Operafest), and Alfio (Ystadoperan). On CD, Joa Helgesson can be heard as Königssohn/Müller/Siegfried Wagner in Siegfried Wagner’s An allem ist Hütchen Schuld! recorded live in Bayreuth 2019. He has also given life to characters in world premieres, such as The Samurai in Osada’s Four Nights of Dream, Joel in Kotzev’s eponymous opera, Ion in Ullén’s Kärleksmaskinen and Överste Grundt in Hjort’s Djävulsdansen i Skarpans.
On the concert stage, Joa Helgesson has sung Britten’s War Requiem, Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (with Schleswig Holsteinisches Symphonieorchester), Orff’s Carmina Burana (with Söderjyllands Symfoniorkester), Beethoven’s 9th Symphony,Brahm’s Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem, Händel’s The Messiah, and Bach’s Matthäuspassion, Johannespassion and Weihnachtsoratorium, Larsson’s Förklädd Gud (with Radiokören in Stockholm), Rangström’s ur Kung Eriks Visor (at Opernhaus Zürich) and more.
Joa Helgesson is also active as a permformance artist, mixing opera and performative art. Under the moniker Opera Bestia he brings unconventional fakir shows on stage. His performances have been shown at Halland Opera and Vocal Festival, Wasteland Summerfest in Amsterdam, Borderland in Danmark, Malzfabrik, KitKatClub, ORWOhaus, Griessmuehle and The Maze i Berlin.