French-Swiss bass-baritone Yannis François was born in Guadeloupe and began his career as a dancer, studying at the École-Atelier Rudra Béjart in Lausanne before becoming a member of the Béjart Ballet. Maurice Béjart himself encouraged Yannis François to explore a parallel singing career and he subsequently graduated from the Lausanne Conservatory.
His operatic appearances include Curio (Giulio Cesare) alongside Andreas Scholl, Peter Quince (Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Sasha (Shostakovich’s Moscow, Cheryomushki), Melisso (Alcina), Isacius (Telemann’s Riccardo Primo) with Michael Hofstetter, Seneca (L’incoronazione di Poppea) and Plutone (L’Orfeo) with Leonardo Garcìa Alarcòn, Peter Maxwell Davies’s Eight Songs for a Mad King, the Sorceress (Dido and Aeneas) directed by Sasha Waltz with the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin at the Berlin State Opera and the Chief Sailor (Marais’ Alcyone) with Jordi Savall at Versailles.
His concert appearances include Bach’s Mass in B minor with Collegium 1704 and Václav Luks, the St John Passion with Ton Koopman, Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri and the Mozart Requiem at the Philharmonie in Paris. He has also worked with conductors such as Ottavio Dantone, Gabriel Garrido, Christina Pluhar and Paul Agnew.
Yannis François was recently mentored by Barbara Hannigan as part of her Equilibrium Young Artists Programme and sang Nick Shadow (The Rake’s Progress) in Brussels, California and Aldeburgh.
Current and future plans include Gaveston (Boieldieu’s La Dame blanche) in Rennes, Compiègne and Quimper, Le Malade imaginaire and Le Mariage forcé on tour with Concert Spirituel and Hervé Niquet, Mercury in Cupid and Death with the Correspondances Ensemble and Sébastien Daucé at the Thêâtre des Bouffes du Nord and in Caen and L’incoronazione di Poppea at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Versailles and in Moscow.
Given his passion and knowledge for neglected repertoire, he collaborates regularly with artists such as Jakub Józef Orliński, Philippe Jaroussky, Julie Fuchs, Jeanine de Bique, Bruno de Sá and Lea Desandre on the development and recording of various CD projects.