Edmund Toliver is often proclaimed, as a most talented singer and performer in such notable newspapers as;
                   "The most outstanding singing came from Zelotes Edmund Toliver."
                                                                             (International Herald Tribune, Zurich);
                   "Zelotes Edmund Toliver sang the part of Hunding revealing a huge
                     sonorous bass marshaled with great skill."
                                                                              (The Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Z. Edmund Toliver headshot

Zelotes Edmund Toliver began his full-time vocal-career in Europe as an ensemble member with the Vienna State Opera. Major guest contracts at: The Zurich Opera; "Deutsche" Opera - Berlin; Theâtre du Châtélet - Paris; Bavarian State Opera - Munich; Netherlands Opera and the Grand Theater of the Geneva Opera.

He has worked with such leading conductors as: Erich Leinsdorf, Heinrich Hollreiser, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Nello Santi, Giuseppe Patanè, Giuseppe Sinopoli and Horst Stein (Vienna), Niksa Bareza and Fabio Luisi (Graz), Ralf Weikert (Zurich), Esa-Pekka Salonen and Jeffery Tate (Paris and Minneapolis), James Conlon (Cologne), Lawrence Renes and Ton Koopmann (Netherlands), Hartmut Haenchen (Amsterdam) and Armin Jordan (Geneva).

In Europe, Asia and Africa Mr. Toliver has had Guest Performances in: Amsterdam - Berlin - Bergen - Budapest - Cologne - Düsseldorf - Essen - Freiburg - Geneva - Graz - Hannover - Innsbruck - Kassel - Mannheim - Munich - Windhoek, Namibia - Osaka - Paris - Rotterdam - Salzburg - Strasbourg - Tokyo - Vienna - Wiesbaden - Zurich, among numerous other cities. During his years in Europe, he has also been a member of the ensembles in Coburg, Graz, Austria and Dortmund.

In the United States Mr. Toliver, made his opera debut during his student years with The Michigan Opera Theatre and since has appeared with The Wolf Trap Opera, The Cincinnati Opera, The New York City Opera, and The Lyric Opera of Chicago.  He has held cover contracts as Gurnemanz in Parsifal with the Washington Opera and the State Opera in Berlin, Germany. Further cover contracts have been in the roles of Hunding in Die Walküre and Osmin in the Abduction from the Seraglio at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

He has convincingly portrayed among his many roles: Don Basilio, Sarastro, Sparafucile, Boito's Mefistofele, King Phillip, Grand Inquisitor, Ramphis, King Henry, Gurnemanz, King Marke and Pogner. His interpretations as Fasolt, Hunding, Fafner and Hagen in the Graz Production of Wagner's "Ring des Nibelungen" - including television recordings - brought him into recognition as a truly outstanding Wagner performer. His repertory encompasses almost all of the major-bass rolls in Mozart, Verdi, as well as, Wagner Operas.

Born on Long Island, New York, Zelotes Edmund Toliver studied at Illinois Wesleyan University earning a Bachelor of Music Education Degree with Honors. He received his Master of Music and Doctor of Musical of Arts Degrees at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he sang major roles in fourteen different operas.

His principal teachers of voice were Professor David Nott and Professor Willis C. Patterson. In Vienna, Austria, he studied with Prof. Franz Schuch-Tovini and won prizes in many international music competitions, including: The International Verdi Voice Competition; Buseto, Italy; The Sixth International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, and was a Regional Winner in the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in Washington, D.C. Mr. Toliver has received a career study award from the Grinnell Foundation, a National Opera Institute study grant and a professional study grant from the Metropolitan Opera National Council.

Under the baton of James Conlon, he appeared on the complete recording of the opera Madame Butterfly, with the Orchestre de Paris and in Alexander von Zemlinsky's "Der Traumgörge with the Cologne Philharmonic Orchestra. The Austrian Radio (ORF) has aired his evening of "Negro Spirituals". Edmund has a Compact Disc recording of Negro-Spirituals "The Songs of Old Souls". He has appeared in concert with the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, conducted by Gunther Schuller and recently in solo-concert at the Sarov Festival in Russia.

Zelotes Edmund Toliver is not only a guest in many of the European and American opera and concert stages. In addition to singing recitals, he is also member of an opera ensemble that tours through various cities in Belgium bringing opera to the young and old.

Dr. Toliver has been a member of other college music faculties in Europe and the United States. He is currently active as a voice-teacher with the Music College in Muenster, Germany. In 2014 he has been invited to South Korea to give master classes in voice.


  • Roberto Abbaddo
  • Matthias Aeschbacher
  • Guido Ajmone-Marsan
  • Gian-Carlo Andretta
  • Bruno Bartoletti
  • Nikša Bareza
  • Prof. Franz Bauer-Theussel
  • Wolfgang Bozic
  • Emerson Buckley
  • Prof. Friedrich Cerha
  • James Conlon
  • John Demain
  • Christoph von Dohnanyi
  • Hans Graf
  • Dr. Peter Gülke
  • Theodor Guschlbauer
  • Hartmut Haenchen
  • Michael Halász
  • Heinrich Hollreiser
  • Armin Jordan
  • Calvin Kellogg
  • Berislav Klobucar
  • Ton Koopmann
  • Siegfried Köhler
  • Bernhard Lang
  • Erich Leinsdorf
  • Fabio Luisi
  • Anton Marik
  • Giuseppe Patané
  • Ivan Parik
  • Christoff Prick
  • Lawrence Renes
  • Wolfgang Rot
  • Esa-Pekka Salonen
  • Nello Santi
  • Gunther Schuller
  • Reinhard Schwarz
  • Edgar Seipenbusch
  • Giuseppi Sinopoli
  • Horst Stein
  • Jeffrey Tate
  • Hans Urbanek
  • Mario Venzago
  • Laurent Wagner
  • Arend Wehrkamp
  • Ralf Weikert

In addition to opera, Edmund Toliver has appeared in numerous Cantata, Oratorio and Solo performances.

  • Detroit Symphony
  • Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Austin Civic Chorus and Orchestra (Texas)
  • National Symphony Orchestra (Washington, D.C.)
  • Symposium Orchestra of the Vienna Meisterkurse
  • Milano Lyrico Sinfonico
  • ORF Orchestra Vienna Austria
  • Chamber Orchestra Bucharest
  • Radio Orchestra Moscow
  • Wiener Philharmoniker
  • Chattanooga Symphony
  • Little Orchestra of New York
  • Grazer Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Grazer Symphonic Orchestra
  • Dortmund Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Thüringen Philharmonic Suhl
  • Orchestre National de France
  • Orchestre de Paris
  • Bavarian Radio Orchestra
  • Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg
  • Gürzenich Orchestra / Cologne Philharmonic
  • Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
  • Netherlands Chamber Orchestra
  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Arnheim Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
  • Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra
  • Munich Chamber Orchestra
  • Munich Philharmonic Orchestra