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Winner of the BBC Musician Magazine Personality of the Year 2022, Opera Singer Nicky Spence is an artist of great integrity and one of Scotland’s proudest sons. Described in The Times as ‘a tenor who combines heroic tone and a poetic sensibility that takes the breath away’, Nicky has earned his place at the top of the profession as a most compelling singing-actor.
Nicky was schooled locally in Dumfries and Galloway before receiving a scholarship to the Guildhall School as their youngest singer at 17 years old. During his training, he won a record contract with Decca Records before taking a place at the National Opera Studio and latterly a position at the English National Opera as one of their inaugural Harewood Artists.
Safely inhabiting the repertoire of Strauss, Janáček and Wagner, Nicky is fulfilling his exciting potential as a Heldentenor having recently made his role debut as Parsifal with the Hallé orchestra under Sir Mark Elder. Nicky has recorded prolifically and is a regular featured recitalist at the Wigmore Hall, London though he can mostly be found on the International stages of Opera de Paris, Covent Garden and the Metropolitan Opera, New York.
The 2022/23 season sees Nicky taking the role of guest artist in residence at the Copenhagen Opera Festival. On the Opera stage, he will make his role debut as Siegmund in a new production of Die Walküre for the English National Opera directed by Richard Jones and conducted by Martyn Brabbins. Nicky also returns to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Laca in Claus Guth’s new production of Jenůfa conducted by Henrik Nánási. Later this Summer, he makes his debut as Erik in Der Fliegender Holländer alongside Sir Bryn Terfel for Grange Park and will make his debut at the Deutche Staatsoper in the 2022/23 season, as Gregor in Věc Makropulos, in another production by Claus Guth conducted by Sir Simon Rattle following his role debut in the same role for Welsh National Opera this Autumn.
Nicky is also a keen charity worker which encompasses his position as patron for both Blackheath Halls in London and Scottish Opera's Young Company, as an ambassador for Help Musicians UK, and proud president of Dumfries’s own Musical Theatre Company. In 2019, Nicky joined the board of the Incorporated Society of Musicians.
Nicky is a Samling Artist, recently joining their team as a leader of young singers, and enjoys giving masterclasses internationally. Spence was nominated by the International Opera Awards for Young Singer of the Year in 2015 and was also one of ten artists included in the Times Breakthrough Award at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards celebrating the best up and coming young British talent from across the Arts industry. In 2020 he won the BBC Music Magazine Vocal Award and Gramophone’s Solo Vocal Award for his critically acclaimed recording of Janáček’s The Diary of One who Disappeared with Julius Drake and he was nominated as Singer of the Year by the Royal Philharmonic Society.
During the pandemic, Nicky was a volunteer vaccinator and he's just taken up the role of judge and mentor on Sky Arts' TV show Anyone can sing and lead presenter in Sky's new TV documentary Sing when you're winning.. Another recent role is as one of ten Sky Arts Access Icons across the arts which sees Nicky figure heading their new campaign offering free resources to primary schools to unpack the art of opera and inspire young singers of the future.
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