Hailed by the Daily Telegraph as ‘a voice of real distinction,’ Nicky Spence is fast emerging as one of ‘our finest young singers.’ An artist of great integrity, Nicky Spence’s unique skills as a singing actor and the rare honesty in his musicianship are steadfastly earning him a place at the top of the profession.
2015-16 Season highlights include his debut at the Bastille for Opéra National de Paris in Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron, Leoncavallo’s Zazá with the BBCSO at the Barbican under the baton of Maurizio Benini, La Gazza Ladra & The Makropoulos Case at Frankfurt Oper, and Števa in David Alden’s landmark production of Jenůfa at English National Opera. Concert appearances include performance of works by Bach at the BBC Proms with the Academy of Ancient Music, Dvorak Saint Ludmilla with the Hallé Orchestra under Sir Mark Elder, a Russian premiere at the Mariinsky, Russia, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Bach St Matthew Passion, Royal Festival Hall, and in recital at Leeds Lieder+ Festival, St Martins-in-the-field, Purcell Room and Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow. Recordings this season include a disc of French Mélodie with Malcolm Martineau (Chandos Records) to follow-up on their critically acclaimed recital disc debut ‘As you like it: Shakespeare Songs’, a new work ‘For an Unknown Solider’ written for him and the Mozart Players (Onyx), and premiere works by Pavel Haas (Resonus Records).
Last season’s highlights included David in multi-award winning Die Meistersingers von Nürnberg at the English National Opera with Edward Gardner, a Rossini double bill at Welsh National Opera with Carlo Rizzi, and Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini at De Nederlandse Opera under Sir Mark Elder. Concerts included recitals with Roger Vignoles, Julius Drake, Malcolm Martineau, The Allegri Quartet and the Doric Quartet as well as performances of Handel with Tromsø Chamber Orchestra, Recitals at Zürich Tonhalle, Purcell Room, Oxford Lieder Festival and Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with the Auckland Philharmonia in New Zealand.
On the opera stage, Nicky Spence created the role of Brian in the world premiere of Nico Muhly’s opera Two Boys at the ENO, a role he reprised for his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2013 conducted by David Robertson. His other recent roles include Števa in Jenůfa at La Monnaie, Brussels, Steuermann in Der Fliegender Holländer in concert with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Andris Nelsons and at Scottish Opera, Iago in Rossini’s Otello for the Buxton Festival, and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni at New Zealand Opera. Other performances have included roles in Billy Budd (dir. David Alden), Benvenuto Cellini (dir. Terry Gilliam), Les Dialogues des Carmélites (dir. John Doyle), Die Zauberflöte (dir. Sir Thomas Allen), Intermezzo, The Beggar’s Opera, The Turn of the Screw, The Rake’s Progress, and Fidelio.A great champion of the work of Jonathan Dove, Nicky has appeared in many of his operas including The Adventures of Pinnochio at Opera North, Flight for BYO and I Giardini della Storia for the Batignano Festival in Italy.
Recent concert performances include Tristan und Isolde with the BBC Scottish Symphony under Donald Runnicles, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Barbican with the Philharmonia, Finzi’s Dies Natalis with the BBCCO, Elgar’s The Kingdom at Kings College, Cambridge, Mozart C Minor Mass at Cadogan Hall, and Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with L’Orchestre National d’Ile de France and at The Wigmore Hall.
In recent years, Nicky Spence also made his New York recital debut with Malcolm Martineau, performed a live broadcast at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, a Britten Song-Cycle Series in Aldeburgh, a recital series at Kings Place as part of their Britten 100 celebrations, and appearances at the Oxford Lieder Festival, Middle Temple Hall, St. John’s Smith Square, Spitalfields festival with the Songsmiths and the Purcell Room.
An experienced recording artist, Nicky Spence first attracted a long-term recording contract with Universal Classics at a young age and has increasing recognition on stage, radio and television as a presenter and performer alike, having contributed to tours and Platinum Selling disks the world over. The tenor’s discography now also includes recital collaborations with Graham Johnson (Schumann: The Complete Songs Vol. 10 / Hyperion), Britten Songs with Malcolm Martineau (Onyx), Messiaen’s La Mort du Nombre (Stone Records) and a disc of premiere Hoddinott recordings. Adding to his credentials in contemporary repertoire is a recent world-premiere recording of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s song cycle A Constant Obsession, for Resonus Classics, which has received uniformly excellent reviews.
Nicky Spence trained at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the National Opera Studio. He took his place as an inaugural Harewood Artist at the ENO in 2011, which is made possible by the American Friends of the ENO.
Hailed as ‘Scotland’s Top Tenor’, Nicky contributes heavily to the culture of his homeland. As one of Scotland’s proudest sons, Nicky has performed for the Royal Family and other heads of State on several occasions including the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall. As a spokesperson for Scottish culture, Nicky has been commissioned to write documentaries, comment on current affairs and has toured extensively with the world’s most popular stars, leading to the success of his own debut album of Scots songs My First Love, which reached the top ten in the Scottish Pop Charts. A committed charity worker, Nicky is Age UK’s youngest patron and an ambassador for the Help Musicians UK. Nicky works enthusiastically with various charities both locally and Nationwide, which includes the presidentship of his hometown’s very own Dumfries Musical Theatre Company.
Nicky has also recently been nominated by the International Opera Awards for Young Singer of the Year 2015 and was also one of ten artists up for this year’s Times Breakthrough Award at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards celebrating the best of up and coming young British talent from across the Arts.
UPDATED IN AUGUST 2015
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