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Christopher Purves

Baritone

  • Christopher Purves has firmly established himself as one of the leading British baritones of his generation. Through his celebrated interpretations of a diverse and eclectic range of roles and repertoire, he is in great demand with many prestigious theatres around the world, working with orchestras, conductors and directors of the highest calibre. He started his musical life as a choral scholar at King’s College, Cambridge, and went on to become a member of experimental rock group Harvey and the Wallbangers.

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  • Operatic highlights of the 2017-18 season include Golaud in Pelléas et Mélisande in Hong Kong and at Glyndebourne in Stefan Herheim’s new production with Robin Ticciati, and Trinity Moses in Weill The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny for Opernhaus Zurich and Fabio Luisi. In concert Purves will sing Balstrode in Peter Grimes at the Edinburgh Festival with Edward Gardner and Bergen Philharmonic, Peasant in Schoenberg Gurrelieder with Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms, Creon in Enescu Oedipe with Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall and Enescu Festival, Berlioz l’Enfance du Christ with Robin Ticciati and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and Bach St Matthew Passion with Richard Egarr and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.


    Recent operatic highlights include the title role in Richard Jones’ new production of Don Giovanni for English National Opera, The Protector Written on Skin for the Royal Opera House, title role in Barrie Kosky’s production of Saul at the Adelaide Festival, Alberich Götterdämmerung for Houston Grand Opera, Gamekeeper The Cunning Little Vixen and the title role Saul for Glyndebourne Festival Opera, his debut at the Opera de Paris in Schoenberg Moses und Aron, Alberich Götterdämmerung at the Bayerische Staatsoper and in Siegfried with Canadian Opera Company and Houston Grand Opera, title role Gianni Schicchi at Opera North, Sharpless Madama Butterfly in his house debut at Chicago Lyric Opera, Balstrode Peter Grimes at Teatro alla Scala and Nono’s Al gran sole carico d’amore at the Salzburger Festspiele.


    On the concert platform, recent highlights include Acis and Galatea with La Nuova Musica, Mozart Requiem with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, St John Passion at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, St Matthew Passion with the Academy of Ancient Music, Elgar The Kingdom at the First Night of the BBC Proms with Sir Andrew Davies and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Haydn’s Die Schöpfung with Masaaki Suzuki and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig; a European tour of Handel’s Messiah with Emmanuelle Haïm and Le Concert d’Astree. A keen recitalist, Purves works regularly with pianist Simon Lepper, and has appeared at the Aldeburgh Festival, Opera North and Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge.


    Purves has a great affinity for contemporary repertoire and has created roles in a number of notable premieres, most recently singing Walt Disney in the world premiere of Phillip Glass’ The Perfect American at Teatro Real Madrid and ENO. He also premiered George Benjamin’s Written on Skin to widespread critical acclaim and for composer Sir James Macmillan, Purves has created roles in The Sacrifice at Welsh National Opera, Ines de Castro at Scottish Opera and Parthenogenesis at the Edinburgh International Festival.


    Purves’ extensive discography includes the title role in Le nozze di Figaro for Chandos, Handel Messiah and Saul with Harry Christophers and The Sixteen, Donizetti’s Maria di Rohan and Ricci’s La Prigione di Edimburgo for Opera Rara, Written on Skin with George Benjamin and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra; and Mozart’s Requiem with Stephen Cleobury and the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. In 2012 Purves’ debut solo CD, Handel’s Finest Arias for Base Voice, was released on Hyperion with Arcangelo and Jonathan Cohen, to great critical acclaim.

    2016-2017 season / 588 words. Not to be altered without permission

Performances

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Season highlights

Ephraimite Moses und Aron 
Opéra National de Paris


Alberich Götterdämmerung
Bayerische Staatsoper 


Alberich Siegfried
Canadian Opera Company 


Protector Written on Skin
Mahler Chamber Orchestra (tour) 


Alberich Siegfried
Houston Grand Opera 


Gamekeeper Cunning Little Vixen
Glyndebourne Festival Opera 

Concert repertoire

Bach
St. Matthew Passion
St. John Passion
Christmas Oratorio
Magnificat
Mass in B minor


Beethoven
Missa Solemnis
Symphony No.9


Berlioz
L’enfance du Christ
La damnation de Faust


Brahms
Ein deutsches Requiem


Britten
War Requiem
Cantata academica, Carmen basiliense


Charpentier
Les leçons tenebres


Dvořák
Te Deum


Elgar
The Dream of Gerontius
The Apostles
The Kingdom


Fauré
Requiem


Handel
Acis and Galatea
Aci, Galatea e Polifemo
Alexander’s Feast
Apollo e Dafne
Belshazzer
Israel in Egypt
Jephtha
Judas Maccabeus
La Resurrezione
Messiah
Saul
Samson
Susanna


Haydn
The Creation
The Seasons
Masses


Honneger
Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher


Mahler
Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
Das Klagende Lied


Mendelssohn
St Paul
Elijah


Monteverdi
Vespers 1610


Mozart
Requiem
Masses


Mussorgsky
Songs and Dances of death


Purcell
Fairy Queen
Harmonia Sacra
Indian Queen
King Arthur
Ode to St Cecilia’s day


Rossini
Petite Messe Solennelle


Stravinsky
Les Noces


Vaughan Williams
A Sea Symphony
Five Tudor Portraits


Verdi
Requiem


Walton
Belshazzar’s Feast
The Bear


Zemlinsky
Lyric Symphony

Opera repertoire

Benjamin
Protector Written on Skin


Berg
Title role Wozzeck
Dr Schön Lulu


Bernstein
Sam A Quiet Place


Britten
Superintendent Budd Albert Herring
Balstrode Peter Grimes
Redburn Billy Budd


Debussy
Golaud Pelléas et Mélisande


Donizetti
Don Pasquale Don Pasquale
Dulcamara L’elisir d’amore
Cecil Maria Stuarda
Chevreuse Maria di Rohan


Glass
Walt Disney The Perfect American


Gluck
Agamemnon Iphigenie en Aulide


Handel
Melisso Alcina
Acchilla Giulio Cesare
Garibaldo Rodelinda


Haydn
Buonafede Il mondo della luna
Melibeo La fedeltá premiata


Humperdinck
Father Hänsel und Gretel


Janáček
Forester Cunning Little Vixen


Leoncavallo
Tonio I Pagliacci


Macmillan
Executioner Ines de castro
General The Sacrifice 


Mozart
Don Giovanni, Leporello Don Giovanni
Papageno Die Zauberflöte
Figaro, Count Le nozze di Figaro


Osmin Zaide


Pintscher
Title role Thomas Chatterton


Puccini
Marcello La bohème
Schicchi/Marco Gianni Schicchi
Sharpless Madama Butterfly
Lescaut Manon Lescaut
Scarpia Tosca


Rossini
Podesta La gazza ladra
Dandini La Cenerentola


Schumann
Siegfried Genoveva


Smetana
Budivoj Dalibor


R. Strauss
Faninal Der Rosenkavalier


Stravinsky
Nick Shadow The Rake’s Progress


Verdi
Falstaff, Ford Falstaff
Germont La traviata


Wagner
Beckmesser Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
Alberich Das Rheingold
Alberich Siegried
Alberich Götterdämmerung


Zappa
Title role The Adventures of Greggery Peccary

Christopher Purves’s superb Golaud, an eviscerating performance of violence, bewilderment and misery…

Classical Source

Mr. Purves is revelatory. Really singing, rather than sneering or shouting, the role of Alberich, he is dignified, even suave. His ethical capitulations for wealth and influence are all the more disturbing because he expresses himself so eloquently. His curses are not unlike those we might hurl if our backs were against the wall.

The New York Times

Christopher Purves, one of the great operatic artists of the present, is the complicated and dangerous Protector

Spectator

Intermusica represents Christopher Purves worldwide

Julia Maynard
Director / Head of Vocal & Opera
+44 20 7608 9902
jmaynard@intermusica.co.uk

Isla Mundell-Perkins
Associate Manager, Vocal & Opera
+44 20 7608 9915
imundell-perkins@intermusica.co.uk

If you have any queries, please fill in the form below, and we will be in touch soon

All artists

Special projects

Charles Hazlewood

Clarinet

Mark Simpson

Chansonnier

HK Gruber

Counter-tenor

Tim Mead

Rupert Enticknap

Piano accompanist

Roger Vignoles