Born in Guadeloupe (French West Indies), Yannis François began his career as a dancer with Léna Blou. In 2000 he was accepted into the École-Atelier Rudra Béjart in Lausanne and later became a member of the Béjart Ballet. While taking part in the compulsory group singing lessons within the École Rudra, Maurice Béjart was impressed by Yannis’ voice and encouraged him to explore a singing career in parallel with his dance career. In june 2010 he graduated with a master’s degree from the Conservatoire de Lausanne where his teacher was Gary Magby. On the opera stage, Yannis has sung Curio in Händel’s Giulio Cesare alongside Andreas Scholl (Ottavio Dantone, Opéra de Lausanne), Peter Quince in A Midsummer night’s dream by Britten (Théâtre du jorat, Elsa Naouri-Rooke), Don Alfonso in Cosi fan tutte (Concert version, Jesús López Cobos, Domingo Hindoyan), Seneca in L’incoronazione di Poppea (BFM Geneva, Leonardo García Alarcón), Nettuno in La Liberazione di Ruggiero by Francesa Caccini (Gabriel Garrido, Victoria Hall), Radamanto and dancer in Peri’s Euridice (L’Arpeggiata, Christina Pluhar), the title role in Don Giovanni and Melisso in Alcina by Händel. He has also sung the roles of the Drunket poet, Corydon, Sleep and Winter in The Fairy Queen by Purcell with the European Union Baroque Orchestra under the baton of Paul Agnew.
In 2013 he was selected for Jordi Savall’s 3rd Baroque Academy as well as the 20th Ambronay European Baroque Academy in which he sang Plutone in Orfeo by Monteverdi with Leonardo García Alarcón. He was also chosen for the role of Sedecia in the first staged performance of La Caduta Gierusalemme di Giovanni Paolo Colonna at the Opera Barga Festival. In 2014 he was Le Pirée in the operetta Phi-Phi at (Opéra de Lausanne) and in 2015 sang the role of Isacius in Richardus I by Telemann/Händel conducted by Michael Hosftetter at the Stadttheater Giessen . In 2017, Yannis sang the role of le Chef des matelots and covered the role of Pélée in Alcione by Marin Marais conducted by Jordi Savall at the Opéra Comique de Paris and the Théâtre Royal de Versailles. The production is set to be revived at the Grand Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona in 2020. For the seasons 2018-2019 he is mentored by soprano and conductor Barbara Hannigan through her « Equilibrium » projects.
Yannis also has a keen interest in oratorio as well as chamber and contemporary music. Among the works that he has performed are La Susanna of Scarlatti (Giorgio Paronuzzi), the Bass solo in Bach’s Weinachts-Oratorium and Mass in B minor (Václav Luks/Collegium 1704), in Bach’s Johannes-Passion (Ton Koopman) and the work of the same title by Haendel, Mozart’s Requiem, Das Paradies und die Peri by Schumann, Ravel’s Chansons Madécasses, To cast a shadow again by Eric Ewazen and Laurent Petitgirard’s Le Fou d’Elsa. He created the title role in Jekyll by Raoul Lay and the Ensemble Télémaque in Marseille and sang the title role in the extraordinary monodrama by Peter Maxwell Davies: Eight Songs for a Mad King, a masterpiece of contemporary music.
In order to satisfy his constant desire for movement, Yannis continues to take dancing engagements such as The Ugly Duckling and Blummenkabarett (Cie Buissonnière Cisco Aznar), Purgatoire by Shahrokh Moshkhin Ghalam, Dido and Aeneas and Amours baroques/Monteverdi (Gabriel Garrido, Noemi Lapzeson), Deserting Las Vegas with Eternal Tour in New-York, Santa Fe, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Rup_tures by Compagnie Trilogie Lénablou.
Yannis is equally passionate about discorvering and researching manuscripts and forgotten music of various periods and bringing them back to life: He has created recital programmes for solo albums and concerts by artists such as Julie Fuchs, Max Emanuel Cenčić and Jakub Józef Orliński.
Upcoming projects: the title role in El Cimarrón by Henze at the festival Les Jardins Musicaux in Cernier (CH). In 2019, he will be Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress by Stravinsky in California, Brussels and Aldeburgh under the baton of Barbara Hannigan, and later the Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas in Staatsoper Berlin, Teatro Real de Madrid, and Hong-Kong in a production staged by Sasha Waltz.