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Christopher Purves

Baritone

  • British Baritone Christopher Purves is renowned for his commanding stage presence and impeccable musicianship, captivating audiences worldwide throughout his illustrious career. Through his celebrated interpretations of a diverse and eclectic range of roles and repertoire, Purves is in great demand with many prestigious theatres around the world, working with orchestras, conductors and directors of the highest calibre.


    Highlights of Purves’ 2023/24 season include Alberich in Wagner Das Rheingold in the new Ring Cycle directed by Barrie Kosky for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Alberich in Wagner Ring Cycle for Zurich Opera House, the Forester in Janáček The Cunning Little Vixen for the Canadian Opera Company and the title role in Handel Saul for the Royal Danish Theatre. On the concert platform, Purves will perform Sharpless in Puccini Madama Butterfly with the CBSO under Kazuki Yamada.

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  • Recent operatic highlights have included Balstrode in Peter Grimes for the Bayerische Staatsoper, Teatro alla Scala and the Teatro Real, Madrid; Alberich in instalments from Wagner Ring Cycle for Zurich Opera House, Houston Grand Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, and Canadian Opera Company; a return to the title role in Barrie Kosky’s production of Handel Saul at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Houston Grand Opera and the Adelaide Festival; and roles including the title role in Verdi Falstaff, Golaud in Debussy Pelléas et Mélisande, title role in Puccini Gianni Schicchi, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly and the title role in Mozart Don Giovanni for houses including Glyndebourne, English National Opera, Opéra National de Lyon, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Opera North, Salzburger Festspiele and Chicago Lyric Opera.


    Purves is particularly affiliated with 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 the Teatro Real, Madrid and the English National Opera, Protector in George Benjamin Written on Skin at The Royal Opera House, and for composer Sir James Macmillan, Purves has originated roles in The Sacrifice at Welsh National Opera, Ines de Castro at Scottish Opera and Parthenogenesis at the Edinburgh International Festival. Other recent contemporary highlights include two Kaija Saariaho operas, with Purves performing the roles of Father-in-Law in Innocence for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and Tsargo in a concert staging of Adriana Mater for the San Francisco Symphony.


    On the concert platform, recent highlights include HK Gruber Frankenstein!! with the San Francisco Symphony, Haydn Die Schöpfung with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Beethoven Missa Solemnis with the Orchestra of Opéra de Rouen Normandie, Balstrode in Peter Grimes at the Enescu Festival, Protector in Written on Skin at La Biennale di Venezia, the title role in Bluebeard’s Castle with Opera North, the world premiere of The Anvil: An Elegy for Peterloo with the BBC Philharmonic, Alberich in Das Rheingold with the New York Philharmonic, Peasant in Schoenberg Gurrelieder with the London Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms, Acis and Galatea with La Nuova Musica, Mozart Requiem with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Bach St John Passion at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Bach St Matthew Passion with the Academy of Ancient Music, Elgar The Kingdom with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the BBC Proms, and a European tour of Handel Messiah with Emmanuelle Haïm and Le Concert d’Astree. 


    Purves recently released the solo album My Soul, What Fear You? (King’s College Recordings, 2023) in collaboration with pianist Simon Lepper. Otherwise, Purves’ extensive discography includes the title role in Mozart Le nozze di Figaro for Chandos, Handel Messiah and Saul with Harry Christophers and The Sixteen, Donizetti Maria di Rohan and Ricci La Prigione di Edimburgo for Opera Rara, Written on Skin with George Benjamin and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra; and Mozart Requiem with Stephen Cleobury and the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. Early in 2018 Purves’ second volume of Handel’s Finest Arias for Base Voice was released on Hyperion with Arcangelo and Jonathan Cohen to great critical acclaim, following the huge success of his debut solo disc in 2012.


    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.

    2023/24 season / 689 words. Not to be altered without permission.

Performances

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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


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


Berlioz
Mephistopheles La damnation de Faust


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

"As for Christopher Purves’s kilted Mephistopheles: suave, charming, merry, terrifying, he knows this role like the back of a scaly, clawed hand."

ArtsDesk, February 2023

"Christopher Purves was the most compelling Alberich I have ever witnessed. From his gnomic leering at the start, through to his renouncing love to his cursing of the ring, Purves caught the essence of his character."

Bachtrack, May 2022

"It was a fearsome, tour de force performance by British rock singer turned operatic baritone Christopher Purves, a man of quite ordinary size and quite extraordinary talent"

Opera Today, July 2021

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Intermusica represents Christopher Purves worldwide

Julia Maynard
Deputy Chief Executive / Head of Vocal & Opera
+44 20 7608 9902
jmaynard@intermusica.com

Zara Fyfe-Williams (on maternity leave)
Artist Manager, Vocal & Opera



Billie Allin
Assistant Artist Manager, Vocal & Opera
+44 20 7608 9903
ballin@intermusica.com

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

All artists

Chansonnier

HK Gruber

Counter-tenor

Tim Mead

Harpsichord

Richard Egarr

Piano accompanist

Roger Vignoles

Saxophone

Jess Gillam

Contralto

Avery Amereau