From South Africa to England

Wilhelm Theunissen is a South African born tenor and singing teacher who currently lives in Worcester, England. He studied under the renowned South African baritone, Werner Nel and continued with private lessons in Italy and Germany. Wilhelm was awarded a SAMRO bursary in 1989 and appointed winner of the ATKV-Forte Category Prize for singers in 1991.

He made his professional debut at the Durban Playhouse in Mozart's Requiem in 1990, followed by his operatic debut as Belmonte in Mozart's Entfuehrung aus dem Serail for the Roodepoort City Opera the following year. Further engagements followed with appearances in the Marriage of Figaro, Tosca, Die Fledermaus, Der Zigeuner Baron, the Student Prince and The Barber of Seville.

He received favourable reviews for his performances as the Evangelist in Bach's St John Passion for the State Theatre of South Africa and a recording of the world premiere of Martin Watt's Requiem with the SABC Symphony Orchestra. He performed for various choral societies in that country including the Johannesburg Bach Choir, Leipzig Vokale Ensemble, the Cape Town Philharmonia Choir and enjoyed a particular association with Dr Barry Smith, former Director of Music at St George's Cathedral, Cape Town, who invited him to sing in many memorable concerts, including Benjamin Britten's St Nicholas, Gounod's St Cecilia Mass and Bach's St. Matthew's Passion.

Since moving to England in 2003, he has sung the role of the Evangelist for Bach’s St Matthew Passion and St. John Passion on many occasions, in both German and English. Apart from the role of the Evangelists, he has performed solo in Handel’s Messiah and Ode to St.Cecilia, Haydn’s Creation, Verdi's Requiem, Britten’s Company of Heaven and Elgar’s Coronation Ode with ensembles such as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Manchester Camerata , the English Symphony Orchestra and the BBC National Chorus of Wales.

Wilhelm has appeared throughout the UK as soloist with various choral societies, including the Worcester Festival Choral Society, Leeds Choral Society, Bristol Choral Society and the Elgar Chorale. He has received favourable reviews in Organ Magazine for his solo performances at Three Choirs Festival under the baton of Dr Donald Hunt and was invited in 2011 to sing the tenor part in a specially commissioned work by Ian King and Chris Jaeger for Three Choirs Festival.

Wilhelm has recently performed at the Elgar Festival and sung the tenor part in Beethoven's 9th Symphony with the Orchestra of St John in Bromsgrove and Worcester Cathedral. He will be appearing as guest with the Police Symphony Orchestra of Great Britain in Birmingham Symphony Hall in the late Autumn of 2018.

Solo Performances

  • Tenor solo in a specially commissioned work A Worcesterhire Song Cycle for the Three Choirs Festival in 2011
  • Elgar's Coronation Ode with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in Worcester Cathedral
  • Britten's Company of Heaven at Three Choirs Festival
  • Handel's Messiah with Leeds Choral Society
  • Haydn's Creation with the Manchester Camerata in Stoke on Trent
  • Handel's Messiah for Bristol Choral Society
  • Various performances with the ESO including Handel's Messiah, Bach's B minor Mass and Mozart's Requiem
  • Various performances with the BBC National Chorus of Wales since 2003 in venues such as St David's Hall Cardiff, Royal Albert Hall
  • Bach's St. John's Passion (Evangelist and Tenor) for the State Theatre of South Africa
  • Recording of the world première of the Martin Watt Requiem for the South African Broadcasting Corporation
  • Bach B Minor Mass with the Leipzig Vokale Ensemble
  • Haydn's Creation with the Cape Town Philharmonic Choir under the baton of Simon Preston
  • Mozart's Requiem for CAPAB
  • Handel's Messiah with The Philharmonia Choir of Cape Town
  • Bach's St Matthew's Passion and St Nicholas for St. George's Cathedral in Cape Town
  • Brahms' Song Cycle Die Schone Magelone in the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town
  • The role of Spoletta in Tosca for PACOFS - Sand du Plessis Theatre
  • The roles of Belmonte in Il Seraglio, Don Curzio in Le Nozze di Figaro and Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia for the Roodepoort City Opera
  • The roles of Alfred in Die Fledermaus and Barinkay in Der Zigeunerbaron for Opera Free State
  • Beethoven 9th - Orchestra of St John Bromsgrove in Bromsgrove and Worcester Cathedral
  • Soloist at the Elgar Festival 2017 and 2018

Forthcoming Performances

Saturday 1st December 2018

Tenor soloist in a performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony at Symphony Hall, Birmingham on December 1st 2018.

Thursday 14th February 2019

Tenor soloist with Jonathan Woodhouse (Countertenor) and Richard Cook (Piano) in a performance of Benjam Britten's 'Canticl II' on Thursday February 14th 2019 in Worcester Cathedral at 12.15pm.