Hailed recently 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’s unique skills as a singing actor and the rare honesty of his musicianship are steadfastly earning him a place at the top of the profession.
Highlights for this season include his Metropolitan Opera debut as Brian Two Boys, Steersman The Flying Dutchman in concert with the CBSO under Andris Nelsons and at Scottish Opera, his Grange Park Opera debut as Chevalier de la Force Les Dialogues des Carmelites, Don Ottavio Don Giovanni New Zealand Opera and Steva Jenufa at La Monnaie, Brussels. Concerts include his New York recital debut, a recital series with Malcolm Martineau, Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings, Elgar’s The Kingdom at Kings College, Cambridge and appearances at Kings Place, Oxford Lieder Festival, St Johns Smith Square, Spitalfields festival and the Purcell Room.
On stage, Nicky’s other roles include Brian in the World Premiere of Nico Muhly’s Two Boys, Novice Billy Budd (dir. David Alden) for the ENO; Tamino The Magic Flute (dir. Sir Thomas Allen), Baron Lummer Intermezzo for Scottish Opera; Lampwick The Adventures of Pinocchio at Opera North, Quint The Turn of the Screw for Arcola Theatre, London and Opera North (c); Thomas Mason in Jenny McLeod’s opera Hohepa for New Zealand Opera, MacHeath The Beggar’s Opera, Tom Rakewell The Rake’s Progress and Jaquino Fidelio at Opera Holland Park. Future opera plans include Isacco La Gazza Ladra for Frankfurt Opera, and he will also make major role debuts at ENO, WNO and for Amsterdam Opera.
Recent concert performances include Act 1 of Tristan and Isolde with the BBC Scottish Symphony and Donald Runnicles, Finzi Dies Natalis BBC Concert Orchestra and David Hill, Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with L’Orchestre National d’Ile de France under Gordan Nikolic and at the Wigmore Hall with Chamber Domaine and Thomas Kemp, C-minor Mass at the Cadogan Hall with the English Chamber Orchestra, Brahms Liebesliederwalzer at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, a Beethoven recital at The Forge, a Britten Song-Cycle Series in Aldeburgh and a recital series at Kings Place as part of their Britten 100 celebrations.
An experienced recording artist, Nicky 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. In latter years, he has enjoyed successful collaborations on record with Graham Johnson (Schumann: The Complete Songs Vol. 10 / Hyperion), Britten Songs with Malcolm Martineau (Onyx) Messiaen’s La Mort du Nombre with Sholto Kynoch (Stone Records), and a disc of premiere Hoddinott recordings. Adding to his credentials in contemporary repertoire, his recent world-premiere recording of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s song cycle A Constant Obsession, for Resonus Classics received uniformly excellent reviews. Earlier this year, Nicky released his debut solo recital disc with Malcolm Martineau entitled As you like it: Shakespeare Songs, which brought him great acclaim:‘Nicky Spence is a young singer with a lovely sound, an astonishingly varied emotional range, and a way of telling a story through a song that grips the listener and doesn’t let go… He has the true singer’s gift of communication, without which these works would just be pretty but dull sounds. Instead – with the help of some superb accompanying from Malcolm Martineau – he brings them alive with joy, pain, love, despair and wit.’ – Warwick Thompson *****
Future recording plans include a CD of Eichendorff settings by Wolf, with Sholto Kynoch, a disc of premiere pieces by Jonathan Dove for Naxos and a recital disc of French Repertoire with Malcolm Martineau for Chandos Records.
Nicky is currently a Harewood Artist at the ENO. Following his formative training at the Scottish Youth Theatre and the NYMT, Nicky graduated from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and went on to study at the National Opera Studio. A former Britten-Pears Young Artist, Georg Solti and Samling Scholar, Nicky’s awards also include the National Bruce Millar Opera Prize, the Kathleen Ferrier Young Singers Award, the Concordia Barthel Prize, the Sybil Tutton Award, a Young Classical Performer of the Year nomination at the Classical Brit Awards and inclusion into of the Gold Medal Final at the Guildhall School.
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 Musicians Benevolent Fund. Nicky works enthusiastically with various charities both locally and Nationwide, which includes the presidentship of his hometown’s very own Dumfries Musical Theatre Company.
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