The Portuguese bass/bass-baritone, João Fernandes studied at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he attended the Opera Course and was awarded the European Premier Prix with distinction.
Recognised as a leading exponent of Baroque repertoire, João Fernandes has performed in opera and concert with many leading conductors including William Christie, Hervé Niquet, René Jacobs, Andrea Marcon, Christophe Rousset, Laurence Cummings, Christian Curnyn, Harry Bicket, Ivor Bolton, Marc Minkowski, Christina Pluhar, Ottavio Dantone, Marcos Magalhães, Alfredo Bernardini, Michel Corboz, Frans Brüggen, Leonardo García-Alarcón, Raphaël Pichon, Sir Colin Davis, Raymond Leppard, Martin Pearlman, Paul O'Dette & Stephen Stubbs, John Neschling, Thomas Sanderling, and David Stern.
João Fernandes' opera house debuts include Giove in La Calisto at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Claudio in Agrippina at New York City Opera, Tiferne in Eliogabalo at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie and Innsbruck Festival under René Jacobs. With William Christie he made his debuts as Bellone in Les Indes Galantes at Opera de Paris, Orcan in Les Paladins at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Athens and Tokyo, Huascar in Les Indes Galantes at Opernhaus Zürich, and Seneca in L’Incoronazione di Poppea at the Opéra de Lyon. He made his debuts at the Opéra de Montpellier under Hervé Niquet as Corésus and Le Ministre de Pan in Callirhoé (Destouches), and at Teatro Español Madrid as Don Lazaro in La Clementina under Andrea Marcon.
João Fernandes is a regular soloist with Opera Atelier, Toronto, where his roles have included Seneca in L’incoronazione di Poppea, Polyphemus in Acis and Galatea and Hidraot in Armide. Other roles with William Christie have included Don Alfonso in W.A. Mozart's Cosi fan tutte at the Opera de Lyon, Osman, Huascar and Don Alvar in Les Indes Galantes in Prague, Brussels, London and Milan, and Orcan in Les Paladins in London, Shanghai, Caen, and on tour in Europe. He performed Hérault, Bass Choryphée and Apollon in Christof Loy’s production of Alceste at the Aix-en-Provence Festival under Ivor Bolton and Don Pietro in Lo frate 'nnamorato (Giovanni Battista Pergolesi), Le Carnaval in Le Carnaval et la folie (Destouches) and Togno in La Spinalba (Francisco Antonio de Almeida) with Os Musicos do Tejo of Lisbon under Marcos Margalhaes. At Grange Park Opera he appeared as Nerbulone in Eliogabalo (Cavalli) under Christian Curnyn.
With Hervé Niquet with Le Concert Spirituel João Fernandes performed the title role in King Arthur in a production by Corinne and Gilles Bénizio (alias Shirley & Dino) for the Festival of Radio France at Montpellier Opera House. This production was revived on several occasions, including a tour to Japan and performances at the Palais de Versailles and recorded for broadcast on French Television and release on DVD.
João Fernandes’ operatic roles also include Satyre and Jupiter in Platée, Le Muphti in Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Drunken Poet in The Fairy Queen, Adonis in Venus & Adonis, Il re di Scozia in Ariodante, Achilla in George Frideric Handel's Giulio Cesare, Der Sprecher in W.A. Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Il commendatore in W.A. Mozart's Don Giovanni, Pluton, Apollon & Tytie in La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers, Tarik in Going into Shadows, Remigio in La Navarraise, Maestro Spinelloccio in Gianni Schicchi, The Mother in The Seven Deadly Sins, and Don Quijote in El Retablo de Maese Pedro.
João Fernandes’s major concert and recital engagements have included W.A. Mozart's Mass in C minor and Pulcinella with the Gulbenkian Orchestra, G.F. Handel's Dixit Dominus with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Les Indes Gallantes with Frans Brüggen and the Orchestra of the 18th Century, and Schubert’s Winterreise at the Cultural Centre of Belem, Lisbon with Lada Valesova.
João Fernandes has also performed as a soloist with Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre, Christina Pluhar and L’Arpeggiata, Ottavio Dantone and Accademia Bizantina, Andrea Marcon and the Venice Baroque Orchestra and René Jacobs and Concerto Vocale.
João Fernandes has perfomed concerts at Cité de la Musique, Palais Garnier, Théâtre du Châtelet, Salle Gaveau and Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie and the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Teatro alla Scala, Prague National Theatre, the Bunkamura in Tokyo, the Barbican in London, the Innsbruck Festival and Misteria Paschalia Festival in Krakow.
Most recently João Fernandes has performed Hidraot in Armide with Opera Atelier in Toronto, the Palais de Versailles and at Glimmerglass Festival, Polyphemus in Acis and Galatea with the English Chamber Orchestra under Raymond Leppard (also recorded on DVD), Polifemo in Aci, Galatea e Polifemo on tour and in the Halle Festival with The English Concert, Pulcinella with the Gulbenkian Orchestra, concerts at the Ludwigsburg and Portico de Zamora Festivals and Monteverdi Vespers in Barcelona and Metz with L’Arpeggiata.
João Fernandes’s future engagements include Pallante in Agrippina at Vlaamse Opera and Ópera de Oviedo, further performances of King Arthur with Le Concert Spirituel in Massy, Madrid and Metz, Sarastro in W.A. Mozart's The Magic Flute with Opera Atelier, Polifemo in Aci, Galatea e Polifemo with Concerto Copenhagen and Satyr and Momus in Platée with Les Arts Florissants at the Theater an der Wien and the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris.
João Fernandes’s solo recordings include DVDs of Les Indes Galantes at the Palais Garnier and Moulinié Motets at Versailles with William Christie & Les Arts Florissants, and CD's of opera and oratorio under the batons of William Christie, Niquet, Pluhar and Christophe Rousset including the Decca recording of Fabrizio in Il tutore burlato with Les Talens Lyriques, Pluton Proserpine with Le Concert Spirituel, Boccherini's La Clementina with Andrea Marcon and the Venice Baroque Orchestra for Deutsche Grammophon, and two Seicento Oratorios with Los Musicos de Su Alteza and Luis Antonio González for the Alpha record label. A DVD of Acis and Galatea with the English Chamber Orchestra under Raymond Leppard is due for release next season.