The English bass, Christopher Purves, studied at Clifton College in Bristol and English at Kings College Cambridge before performing and recording with the highly innovative vocal rock & roll group Harvey and the Wallbangers.
Concert engagements include Mozart’s Mass in C at Aix-en-Provence with The Sixteen, Igor Stravinsky’s Les Noces with Philippe Herreweghe in Brussels, Monteverdi’s Vespers 1610 with Richard Hickox, J.S. Bach’s B Minor Mass (BWV 232) at the Chaise Dieu Festival, George Frideric Handel’s Judas Maccabeus in Nuremberg and Saul at the Covent Garden and La Chaise Dieu Festivals with the Gabrieli Consort, Berlioz’s L’enfance du Christ, John Tavener’s Apocalypse at the Proms with the City of London Sinfonia, the St John Passion (BWV 245) with Paul Goodwin in Madrid, G.F. Handel’s Messiah and Haydn’s Nelson Mass with Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra and Ulster Orchestra, G.F. Handel’s La Resurrezione with Les Musiciens de Louvre, Arthur Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au Bûcher with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Libor Pesek, Les Mamelles de Tirésias with the London Sinfonietta under Sir Simon Rattle, Manoah in Samson with Harry Christophers and Susanna with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in Paris, Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem and The Creation with the Ulster Orchestra, Belshazzar’s Feast with the Orchestra of Opera North under Paul Daniel and with the Hallé Orchestra, Lucifer in G.F. Handel’s La Resurrezione for Paul McCreesh in Rome, Amsterdam and London, Alexander’s Feast in Munich with Marcus Creed and Aci, Galatea e Polifemo with the Orquestra Nacional d’Espana.
Christopher Purves' operatic engagements include Marco in Gianni Schicchi the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro for Scottish Opera and Opera North; Marcello in La Bohème for Scottish Opera; Papageno in Magic Flute and Faninal in Der Rosenkavalier for Welsh National Opera and Opera North; Podesta in La Gazza Ladra for Garsington Opera; the Forester in Cunning Little Vixen; Siegfried in Genoveva, Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore, Lescaut in Manon Lescaut and Balstrode in Peter Grimes for Opera North; the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro, Zebul in Jephtha, Germont in La Traviata, title role in Don Giovanni and a critically acclaimed portrayal of the title role in Alban Berg'sWozzeck for Welsh National Opera; Sharpless in Anthony Minghella’s new production of Madama Butterfly for English National Opera, Alcina at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich and a controversial production of J.S. Bach’s St Matthew Passion (BWV 244) at the Glyndebourne Festival. He created the role of Executioner in James Macmillan’s Ines de Castro and performed Parthenogenesis also by Macmillan and Zaide at the Edinburgh International Festival where he has also appeared as Cecil in Maria Stuarda with Sir Charles Mackerras. Recordings include Le Nozze di Figaro for Chandos Records in which he sings the title role and the forthcoming release of Messiah with Harry Christophers and The Sixteen.
Recent engagements include The Sacrifice, a new commission by James MacMillan, and Ford Falstaff both for Welsh National Opera, Messiah in Boston for the Handel and Haydn Society, further performances of Peter Grimes for Opera North and Nick Shadow The Rake’s Progress for Garsington Opera.
Future engagements include Tonio Pagliacci for English National Opera, the title role in a new production of Falstaff for the Glyndebourne Festival, Balstrode Peter Grimes at Houston Grand Opera and The Traveller Death in Venice for New York City Opera.