Ronald Samm was born in Port of Spain, the younger son of two Head-teachers. Early musical training began at St Mary’s College where he was a regular prizewinner in the island-wide biennial Music Festival. He studied voice and piano with Noelle Barker and Ian Kennedy at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and won a scholarship from the Peter Moores/Lord Pitt Foundation to pursue post-graduate study with Nicholas Powell at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.
As an undergraduate, he performed the roles of Dixon in Born Again directed by Sir Peter Hall at Chichester Festival Theatre, and Mercure, Arcas and Tisiphone in Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie with Les Arts Florissants under William Christie. After Guildhall roles on London’s West End followed, most notably Husky Miller in Carmen Jones at the Old Vic directed by Simon Callow, and the Apollo MC in The Buddy Holly Story at the Victoria Palace Theatre directed by Rob Bettinson.
As a postgraduate Ronald was a finalist in the Alexander Young Vocal Competiton; he took part in masterclasses with Jonathan Miller, John Tomlinson and Roger Vignoles, and was chosen by Jonathan Miller to play Don Jose and Otello in the BBC2 television series of ‘Opera Works’.
After the RNCM, Ronald Samm worked with British Youth Opera, Travelling Opera, Broomhill Opera and Glyndebourne Festival Opera and became a trainee at the National Opera Studio sponsored by the Sybill Tutton Awards and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Since leaving the studio, his appearances have included Tamino (Die Zauberflöte); Don Jose (Carmen) for Pegasus Opera; Drum-Major (Wozzeck) for Birmingham Opera Company; the title role in Britten’s The Prodigal Son; Jake (Porgy and Bess) in Lisbon, and Florestan in the multi-award-winning production of Fidelio, again for Birmingham Opera Company, directed by Graham Vick. Fidelio was featured on the ‘South Bank Show’ with Melvyn Bragg and won the Best Opera category in the South Bank Show Awards for 2002. Ronald Samm assumed the role in Verdi’s Otello in December 2010 with the Birmingham Opera Company, gaining widespread critical acclaim for his portrayal of this most demanding of roles.
Other operatic roles have included First Armed Man and Second Priest (Die Zauberflöte) for Opera North; an evening of contemporary opera at the Linbury Theatre, Covent Garden; Canio (I Pagliacci) for Welsh National Opera and English Pocket Opera and Otello for Children’s Music Workshop, a role he has also covered for Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Recent engagements include Bardolph (Falstaff) for English Touring Opera and Spoletta (Tosca), Canio (I Pagliacci) and Laca (Jenufa), all for English Touring Opera; the Dancing Master in Birmingham Opera Company’s production of Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos (Prologue only); Siegmund (Die Walküre) in Lisbon; Florestan (Fidelio) for the Festival Burgarena in Austria and Sportin’ Life/Porgy and Bess for Opera de Lyon and in concert for the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome and at the Teatro Lirico in Cagliari, Sardinia.
Ronald Samm’s oratorio repertoire includes Handel’s Messiah; Bach’s Magnificat and St. John Passion; Mendelssohn’s Elijah; Beethoven’s Mass in C; Mozart Requiem; Verdi Requiem, and Stainer’s Crucifixion. His concert appearances have taken him across the UK, to Gibraltar and Spain with conductor Karel Chichon and to Sri Lanka’s Lionel Wendt Theatre.