Representation: General Management
Born in Cambridge Christopher Purves was a choral scholar at King’s College Cambridge where he studied English. On leaving university he joined the highly innovative rock & roll group Harvey and the Wallbangers, touring and recording, before he was offered the opportunity to sing Don Pasquale with Opera 80. He subsequently appeared in Mozart’s Mass in C in Aix-en-Provence with Harry Christophers and The Sixteen, followed by his debut at English National Opera as Masetto in Don Giovanni.
In a close collaboration with the director Richard Jones, Christopher has enjoyed much critical acclaim for his interpretations of Wozzeck at Welsh National Opera, Tonio Pagliacci for English National Opera and more recently the title role in Falstaff at the Glyndebourne Festival and Beckmesser in Die Meistersinger for Welsh National Opera.
Further operatic appearances include Marco Gianni Schicchi at Covent Garden, Lescaut Manon Lescaut and Balstrode Peter Grimes for Opera North, the title role in Don Giovanni and The General in James Macmillan’s The Sacrifice for Welsh National Opera, Alcina at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich and Sharpless in Anthony Minghella’s production of Madama Butterfly for English National Opera. Christopher made his Salzburg debut in Katie Mitchell’s production of Nono’s Al gran sole carico d’amore, a production revived at the Staatsoper in Berlin. He created the role of Executioner in James Macmillan’s Ines de Castro for Scottish Opera and appeared in Parthenogenesis also by Macmillan at the Edinburgh International Festival. In the 2010/11 season Christopher made his debut at Houston Grand Opera as Balstrode in Peter Grimes and at the Netherlands Opera as Redburn in Billy Budd. In London he sang Méphistophélès in Terry Gilliam’s outstanding production of The Damnation of Faust for ENO, which won the Southbank Sky Arts 2012 opera award. Christopher premiered George Benjamin’s commission Written on Skin at the Festival d’Aix en Provence in July 2012, which received huge international acclaim not only at its premier but also for subsequent performances with Netherlands Opera, Covent Garden, Bayerische Staatsoper Munich and Toulouse. Engagements in the 2012/13 season also included Walt Disney in the premiere of Phillip Glass’ opera The Perfect American for Teatro Real Madrid and ENO, and a BBC Proms performance of Frank Zappa’s The Adventures of Greggery Peccary with the Aurora Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall.
On the concert platform Christopher has appeared in performances of Beethoven Symphony 9 with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Aci, Galatea e Polifemo and Acis & Galatea with the Gabrieli Consort and Paul McCreesh at the Wigmore Hall and Alexander’s Feast, Haydn’s Nelson Mass with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Mahler’s 8th Symphony at the Casa da Musica in Porto. He made his debut as a recitalist at the Aldeburgh Festival and subsequently at Opera North and Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge for performances of Schubert’s Schwanengesang. Christopher works regularly with Simon Lepper. Recordings include the title role Le Nozze di Figaro for Chandos Records, Messiah with Harry Christophers and The Sixteen and Maria di Rohan for Opera Rara. In 2012 he debut solo CD of virtuoso Handel arias was released by Hyperion.
This season’s engagements include concert performances of Bach Aus der Tiefen, rufe ich and Handel Aci, Galatea e Polifemo with Wratislavia Cantans in Wroclaw, his debut at Chicago Lyric Opera as Sharpless Madama Butterfly, further performances of Written on Skin with L’Opera Comique de Paris, the role of Sam in Bernstein’s A Quiet Place at the Konzerthaus, Berlin, a European tour of Messiah with Le Concert d’Astree, concert performance of Berlioz’s L’Enfant du Christ with BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Centre London, and a return to Houston Grand Opera as Alberich in Das Rheingold. Subsequent engagements include Die Schöpfung at the Leipzig Gewandhaus, further performances of The Perfect American at the Brisbane Festival, Messiah performances in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and with Washington Symphony Orchestra, and a return to Glyndebourne Festival Opera for the title role of Handel’s Saul and as the Forester in Cunning Little Vixen.
Promoters please note: if you wish to include this biography in a concert programme etc, please contact Hazard Chase to ensure that you receive the most up to date version.
Email: Camilla Wehmeyer