ABOUT US

IESTYN DAVIES
countertenor

 

 

 

 
 

Grammy Award-Winning British countertenor Iestyn Davies, known for bringing clarity, expressivity, technical dexterity, and uncanny intelligence to every role he sings, is justly ranked among the world’s leading practitioners of his art. Performing a wide palette of repertoire—from Early Music to Thomas Adès—Mr. Davies has already forged an astonishing career in the US, Europe, and his native UK. Mr. Davies has become a regular performer at some of the most prestigious opera houses in the world—gracing the stages of the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro Alla Scala, Royal Opera House, Salzburg Festival, Glyndebourne Festival, Lyric Opera of Chicago, English National Opera, among others. The New York Times called a recent performance of his “clear, full, and plangent, with crisp diction and unassuming eloquence” (2014).  

In the fall of 2017, Mr. Davies travels to New York to take on two major roles in tandem: slated to sing Francisco de Ávila in Thomas Adès’ new work The Exterminating Angel at The Metropolitan Opera, he will also make his Broadway debut as the “voice” of Farinelli in the musical Farinelli & The King, alongside legendary actor Mark Rylance. Recounting the true story about the friendship between the castrato Farinelli and King Philip V of Spain, the musical is based on a play by Claire van Kampen, musical director, composer, playwright and wife of Mr. Rylance.

Mr. Davies will begin his New York fall appearances in recital at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, in a program entitled “Thomas Adès and Friends: An Afternoon of Song.” In the spring he takes on the lead in Handel’s Rinaldo in concert at the Barbican Theatre in London and at Carnegie Hall in New York.

Last season, Mr. Davies appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw, and returned to the Salzburg Festival. In concert he performed at Carnegie Hall and Wigmore Hall, toured Europe with the English Concert performing Handel’s Orlando, and travelled throughout Japan in recital with lutenist Thomas Dunford. It was in 2015 that Mr. Davies first took on the role of the voice of Farinelli at the Globe Theatre. The hugely successful project transferred to the West End season and received several Olivier Award nominations.

Mr. Davies operatic engagements have included Ottone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea with the Zürich Opera and Glyndebourne Festival Opera; Arsace in Handel’s Partenope with the New York City Opera; Oberon in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Houston Grand Opera, English National Opera and The Metropolitan Opera; Apollo in Britten’s Death in Venice with the English National Opera and La Scala, Hamor in Handel’s Jephtha with the Welsh National Opera and Opera National de Bordeaux; Steffani’s Niobe with the Royal Opera House; Unulfo in Handel’s Rodelinda with The Metropolitan Opera; Trinculo in Adès’ The Tempest with The Metropolitan Opera; the title role in Handel’s Rinaldo with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Glyndebourne Festival Opera; Bertarido in Handel’s Rodelinda with the English National Opera; David in Handel’s Saul at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera; and ­­­the Boy in Benjamin's Written on Skin with Opéra Comique and the Munich and Vienna Festivals.

A prolific concert artist, Mr. Davies performs in recital at the major halls of the world. His concert engagements have included performances with Gustavo Dudamel at the Teatro alla Scala, with Ton Koopoman at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Tonhalle in Zurich, as well as at the Barbican, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Lincoln Center, and the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms. He has appeared as soloist with several orchestras, including the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Britten Sinfonia, Concerto Köln, Concerto Copenhagen, Ensemble Matheus, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Academy of Ancient Music, and Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

His recordings include two versions of Handel’s Messiah (New College Oxford, AAM/Naxos) and (Polyphony, Britten Sinfonia/Hyperion), Handel’s Chandos Anthems on Hyperion, Handel’s Flavio for Chandos with The Early Opera Company and Christian Curnyn, Bach’s Easter Oratorio with Retrospect Ensemble, his debut solo recording Live at the Wigmore Hall with his own Ensemble Guadagni, a disc of Porpora Cantatas with Jonathan Cohen and Arcangelo, an award winning disc of works for Guadagni for Hyperion and a disc of Handel arias with The King’s Consort for Vivat. In the 2014-15 season he released The Art of Melancholy, a recital of Dowland songs for Hyperion, “Flow my tears,” songs for lute, viol, and voice on the Wigmore Live label, and “Arise my muse” for which he received the Gramophone Recital Award.

Born into a musical household, Mr. Davies began singing as a chorister at St. John’s College, Cambridge, under the direction of Dr. George Guest and later Christopher Robinson. After graduating in Archaeology and Anthropology from St John’s College, Mr. Davies studied at the Royal Academy of Music, of which he is now a Fellow. In 2010 he was the recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Young Artist of the Year Award, in 2012 the Gramophone Recital Award, and in 2013 the Critics’ Circle Awards for Exceptional Young Talent (Singer).