James Morris (born 10 January 1947) is a leading American opera singer, boasting a large bass-baritone voice. He is best known for his interpretation of the taxing role of Wotan in Richard Wagner's operatic cycle, Der Ring des Nibelungen. The Metropolitan Opera video recording of the complete cycle with Morris as Wotan has been described as an "exceptional issue on every count."
James Morris was born in Baltimore, where he studied voice with Rosa Ponselle and at the Peabody Conservatory . He made his debut with the Baltimore opera in 1967 as Crespel in Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann. He first appeared at the New York Metropolitan Opera in 1971 as the King in Verdi's Aïda. He went on to establish himself as one of the most versatile male opera singers in the world, performing a repertoire ranging from Mozart through Verdi and Wagner to Benjamin Britten. But of all the parts he has sung, Wotan remains his signature role. Indeed, he was considered one of the best two or three Wotans in the world during his heyday. On his 61st birthday, in January 2008, he reprised that role in a production of Die Walküre at New York's Metropolitan Opera, the theatre with which he is most closely associated. In 2009, alongside Debra Voigt, he played Scarpia in Puccini's Tosca.
In addition to his imposing, well-trained voice and fine musicianship, Morris (solidly built and 6 feet, 5 inches in height) had the physical stature to perform the heroic Wagnerian roles convincingly. His interpretations of them can be heard on a number of recordings which he made at the peak of his career. He lives in New Jersey with his wife, Susan Quittmeyer, and their twins, Jennifer and Daniel. He also has a nephew named Zach Quittmeyer.