One of the most exciting tenors Britain has to offer today, David Butt Philip has attracted major acclaim with recent debuts such as the title role Der Zwerg at Deutsche Oper Berlin, Florestan in a new production of Fidelio at Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the title role of Brett Dean’s Hamlet at Glyndebourne, Essex Gloriana at Teatro Real, Erik Der fliegende Hollander at Opéra de Lille, Laca Jenufa at Opera North and Grigoriy Boris Godunov at Royal Opera House Covent Garden and the BBC Proms. An alumnus of the Jette Parker Young Artists Program Royal Opera House, his current and future engagements include debuts with Wiener Staatsoper, Staatsoper Berlin and Metropoilitan Opera, New York, as well as returns to Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Teatro Real Madrid, Glyndebourne and Deutsche Oper Berlin.
Highlights of the 2020/21 season include his company debut with Staatsoper Berlin as Florestan Fidelio; the Prince at Teatro Real in Christof Loy’s new production of Rusalka; Rodolfo at the English National Opera in their Drive & Live production of La Boheme; Boris in a new production of Katja Kabanova at Glyndebourne; and Laca in a concert version of Janáček’s Jenůfa with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Karina Canellakis at Het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
Last season, Butt Philip sang his first Florestan Fidelio - first at the National Theatre in Prague and then in the coveted new Tobias Kratzer production at Covent Garden, jumping in for an ailing Jonas Kaufmann. The performance starring Butt Philip and Lise Davidsen was subsequently aired on BBC4, and met with great acclaim. He also returned to the title role of Brett Dean’s Hamlet, this time in a new production by Matthew Jocelyn in Cologne. British audiences saw him as Don Jose Carmen at English National Opera, and further invitations included new productions of Rusalka at ENO and of Fidelio at Glyndebourne. Highlights on the concert platform include Verdi Requiem with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales; performances of Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with the Hallé Orchestra and Sir Mark Elder at Bridgewater Hall and the Barbican; as well as a streamed performance from Royal Opera House of Das Lied von der Erde with Sir Antonio Pappano and Dame Sarah Connolly.
Recent engagements include his widely acclaimed role debut in the title role of Der Zwerg in a new production by Tobias Kratzer at Deutsche Oper Berlin; Froh Das Rheingold and Essex in Sir David McVicar’s new production of Gloriana, both at Teatro Real and Erik Die Fliegende Hollander at Opéra de Lille. British audiences saw him at Royal Opera House as Grigoriy Boris Godunov and Narraboth Salome; at English National Opera in Daniel Kramer’s new production of Britten’s War Requiem - for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award - and Pinkerton and Rodolfo; at Opera Holland Park as Count Vaudemont in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta and Folco in Mascagni’s Isabeau; at Opera North as Laca Jenufa and Luigi Il Tabarro; and as Laertes in the premiere of Brett Dean’s Hamlet at the Glyndebourne Festival, later appearing with them on tour in the title role.
On the concert platform, Butt Philip has performed Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius with the Hallé Orchestra and the Tonnkünstler Orchestra at Musikverein Vienna; Verdi’s Requiem with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and London Philharmonic Orchestra; Britten’s War Requiem with Opera Orchestra National Montpellier and Orquestra Sinfonica Portuguesa; Brett Dean’s From Melodius Lay with Vladimir Jurowski and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin; Prokofiev’s Seven, they are seven with the Philharmonia under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy and at the BBC Proms; Faust La damnation de Faust in a concert performance with the Orchestra of Opera North and with the Hallé Orchestra; Froh Das Rheingold with the Hallé Orchestra and the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the Tanglewood Festival; Beethoven 9 with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin and the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall; Beethoven Missa Solemnis with Rundfunkchor Berlin and Kammerakademie Potsdam; A Child of our Time in Lisbon; Handel’s Messiah with the Mozart Festival Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall; Mahler Das Klagende Lied with Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic Orchestra; Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle at the Barbican; and Haydn Nelson Mass with the Hallé under Sir Mark Elder.
Born and brought up in Wells in Somerset, Butt Philip was a chorister at Peterborough Cathedral. He is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music, the Royal Academy of Music, the National Opera Studio and is also a Samling Artist, an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music and winner of the prestigious John Christie Award in 2011.
Title role Der Zwerg
Deutsche Oper Berlin
English National Opera
Grigory Otrepiev Boris Godunov
Royal Opera House
Froh Das Rheingold
Count Vaudemont Iolanta
Opera Holland Park
The Dream of Gerontius
Das klagende Lied
Petite messe solenelle
Don Jose Carmen
Male Chorus The Rape of Lucretia
Boris Káťa Kabanová*
Title role Werther
Tamino Die Zauberflöte
Grigoriy Boris Godunov
Pinkerton Madama Butterfly
Luigi Il tabarro
Rodolfo La bohème
Dick Johnson La fanciulla del West *
Bachus Ariadne auf Naxos*
Gabriele Adorno Simon Boccanegra*
Froh Das Rheingold
Erik Der fliegende Holländer
Walther von Stolzing Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
* in preparation
Guardian, October 2017
He sings with uncompromising conviction and blazing intensity. He’s a superb actor, too...It’s an exceptional, career-making achievement
David Butt Philip, a former Royal Opera Young Artist making his debut at ENO – a company whose English-language policy is crying out for singers like him to vindicate it. It’s an impressively complete performance: his Rodolfo is likable and unassuming on stage, but when he sings he unleashes a warm, easy-sounding tenor voice with plenty of heft and ping at the top. His first aria hymns Mimi’s little frozen hands in impeccable Italianate style.
…a cast dominated by David Butt Philip’s sensationally well sung Don José… the scale of his singing, his subtlety – a wonderful messa di voce on the climactic note of the Flower Song – and his transition from the diffident, even shy brigadier of Act 1 to homicidal psychopath in Act 4 suggested a great future in the role… There’s a goldmine of promise here.