Toby Spence

Introduction

Toby Spence has sung with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, the Paris Opera, ENO, the Bavarian State Opera, the Teatro Real, Madrid, Theater an der Wien, the Hamburg Opera and at the Salzburg, Aix-en-Provence and Edinburgh festivals.

On the concert platform he works with Sir Simon Rattle, Andris Nelsons, Thomas Adés, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Symon Bychkov.

Operatic highlights of the 2013/14 season include Tom Rakewell and Tito in Vienna, and Tamino and Tito in Munich.

On the concert platform he sings with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Vasily Petrenko, the Bayerischer Rundfunk and Edward Gardner, and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Michael Tilson Thomas.

This is for information only and should not be reproduced. Please contact us for a full biography and for performance details

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News & Features

Repertoire

Opera
ADES:
The Tempest/ Ferdinand

BERNSTEIN:
Candide/ Candide

BRITTEN:
Billy Budd / Captain Vere
Curlew River/ Madwoman
Rape of Lucretia/ Male Chorus
Turn of the Screw/ Peter Quint

GLUCK:   
Iphigénie en Tauride/ Pylades

GOUNOD:
Faust/ Faust

HANDEL:
Acis and Galatea/ Acis
Hercules/ Hyllas

MONTERVERDI:
Il ritorno d’Ulisse/ Telemaco

MOZART:
Così fan tutte/ Ferrando
Don Giovanni/ Don Ottavio
Idomeneo/ Idamantes
Die Zauberflöte/ Tamino
La Clemenza di Tito/ Tito

OFFENBACH:
La belle Helene/ Paris 

STRAUSS                              
Die Schweigsame Frau/ Henry Morosus

STRAVINSKY:   
The Rake’s Progress/ Tom Rakewell

THOMAS:   
Hamlet/ Laertes

VERDI:    
Falstaff/ Fenton

WAGNER:   
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg/ David

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Media Player

Video

  • SZYMANOWSKI
    Szymanowski Symphonies (Valery Gergiev, LSO)

Schedule

Royal Festival Hall, London

J. STRAUSS Die Fledermaus


Rosalinde - Aga Mikolaj
Gabriel von Eisenstein - Toby Spence
Frank - Alan Opie 
Orlofsky - Pamela Helen Stephen 
Alfred - Pablo Bemsch
Falke - Jacques Imbrailo 
Dr Blind - Simon Butteriss 
Adele - Malin Christensson

Philharmonia / John Wilson

Philharmonie am Gasteig, Munich

HAYDN  Insanae et vanae curae 
MENDELSSOHN Symphony No 5 ("Reformation")
BRUCKNER Mass in D minor

John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Lucy Crowe, Soprano
Jennifer Johnston, Mezzosoprano 
Toby Spence, Tenor
Günther Groissböck, Bass

Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks

Philharmonie am Gasteig, Munich

HAYDN  Insanae et vanae curae 
MENDELSSOHN Symphony No 5 ("Reformation")
BRUCKNER Mass in D minor

John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Lucy Crowe, Soprano
Jennifer Johnston, Mezzosoprano 
Toby Spence, Tenor
Günther Groissböck, Bass

Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks

Frauenkirche, Dresden

HAYDN  Insanae et vanae curae 
MENDELSSOHN Symphony No 5 ("Reformation")
BRUCKNER Mass in D minor

John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Lucy Crowe, Soprano
Jennifer Johnston, Mezzosoprano 
Toby Spence, Tenor
Günther Groissböck, Bass

Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks

Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich

MOZART La clemenza di Tito

Adam Fischer, conductor
Jan Bosse, director

Tito Vespasiano - Toby Spence
Vitellia - Kristine Opolais
Sesto - Tara Erraught
Servilia - Hanna-Elisabeth Müller
Annio - Angela Brower
Publio - Tareq Nazmi

Bayerisches Staatsorchester
Chor der Bayerischen Staatsoper 

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INTERVIEWS/ARTICLES

The Road Ahead
Ashutosh Khandekar / Opera Now / November 2013
Click here to read article

An introspective journey
John Allison / The Sunday Telegraph / 5 May 2013
Click here to read article

Toby Spence on his role in Eugene Onegin
Neil Fisher / The Times / 12 November 2011
Click here to read interview

Spence sings his first Lensky at ENO this month
Roger Pines / Opera Magazine / November 2011
Click here to read the article

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WARDSBROOK CONCERTS

In addition to his busy singing career, Toby - with his brother Magnus - has launched an exciting recital series in Wardsbrook, East Sussex. The concerts take place in a beautifully converted Tudor barn in the heart of the Sussex Downs. The series in 2013 features four wonderful recitalists - Stéphane Degout, Sarah Connolly, Sir Thomas Allen and Christiane Karg - along with the accompanist Malcolm Martineau, with all the proceeds of the events going to St. Michael's Hospice in Hastings. For information on the Wardsbrook concerts please click here

To listen to Toby talking about Wardsbrook on Radio 4, please click here



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Press

CD: Mahler – Das Lied von der Erde

London Philharmonic Orchestra/Yannick Nézet-Séguin/Sarah Connolly/Toby Spence, Royal Festival Hall

"Recorded at the Royal Festival Hall in 2011, it finds the tenor Toby Spence in ringing voice for the demanding Drinking Song, which he delivers as effortlessly as the incomparable Fritz Wunderlich. He makes light work of Of Youth, while the forced jollity of The Drunkard in Spring comes across forcefully." Hugh Canning, Sunday Times, 29 September 2013

CD: Szymanowski Symphonies Nos 3 & 4; Stabat Mater

Valery Gergiev/Toby Spence/Denis Matsuev/Simon Halsey/London Symphony Chorus/London Symphony Orchestra, LSO Live

"Toby Spence impresses with his ardent delivery of the taxing tenor part" 
Barry Forshaw, Classical CD Choice, 12 September 2013

Elgar

The Dream of Gerontius

Gloucester Cathedral

"Toby Spence, apparently fully recovered from throat surgery, looks an unlikely old man close to death, but his clean lyric tenor seems to have found new reserves of heft"
Hugh Canning, 11 August 2013

Britten 'Serenade for tenor, horn and strings'; Zev Gordon 'The Gleam of Hidden Skies', 13 July 2013

Cheltenham Town Hall

"a fine performance of Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, featuring tenor Toby Spence"


Rian Evans, The Guardian, 15 July 2013

Britten, War Requiem: 25 June 2013

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Edward Gardner, St Paul's Cathedral, London

"Toby Spence sang his “Dona nobis pacem” with the purity of a choirboy"

Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 26 June 2013
"Toby Spence, back on tremendous form after recent illness, beautifully captured Britten's pacifist anger in the tenor solos."
Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 26 June 2013
"Rhythmic rigour and a sense of despair focused Toby Spence’s tenor"

Hilary Finch, The Times, 27 June 2013

Gloriana: 20 June 2013

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

"Toby Spence makes a credibly sympathetic figure of the solipsistic Essex, full of a vigorous vitality which is undermined by maudlin melancholy. After serious health concerns, Spence is almost back to his best. Albeit weak and unpredictable, Essex’s devotion to the Queen is not in doubt. By turns tender, ebullient and defiant, Spence’s Essex is petulant, querulous but also truthful, winning our heart with his delicately expressive, self-revelatory second lute song, ‘Happy were we’, while arousing our distrust by - a theatrical masterstroke by Jones - surreptitiously and presumptuously usurping the unoccupied throne, when the royal party has departed after the ceremonial entertainments which close Act 2. The rapid blackout exacerbates our unease regarding his audacious intentions."

Claire Seymour, Opera Today, 22 June 2013
"Toby Spence, back in top voice after a serious illness as the very best and fullest of Britten tenor"
David Nice, The Arts Desk, 21 June 2013
"Toby Spence, as Essex, has regained all his pristine vocal lustre."
Michael Church, The Independent, 21 June 2013
"Toby Spence’s lithe, boyish, ambitious Essex is a wonderfully rounded portrayal"
Michael Tanner, The Spectator, 29 June 2013
"Toby Spence is a dashing Essex"
Hugh Canning, Sunday Times, 30 June 2013

Recital, January 2013

Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

"Vocal Arts D.C. presented [...] the first local recital of Toby Spence [...]. The English tenor’s fine performance at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater brought that mysterious Czech song cycle to life, as well as Robert Schumann’s poignant “Dichter¬liebe,” in the original high keys.[...] Spence seemed at ease, glowing with all of his [...] charismatic confidence [...]. His voice had heroic fullness when he needed it, including a resonant high A in Schumann’s “Ich grolle nicht,” taken here at a slower tempo to accentuate the sense of bitter disbelief in the text.Spence’s take on “Dichter¬liebe” emphasized a jaw-clenched defiance over outright rage, aided by the avid storytelling of pianist Carrie-Ann Matheson, a narrative quality so important in this cycle, in which the piano is a co-starring character. Spence took his time with many of the tempi, giving a rueful quality to “Hor’ich das ¬Liedchen klingen” and a stark, seething tenseness to “Ich hab’ in Traum geweinet.”" Washington Post, Charles T. Downey, 17 January 2013

Concert, December 2012

London Symphony Orchestra, Valery Gergiev, Barbican

"[...] tenor Toby Spence sang with clean eloquence — in Polish too" The Times, Geoff Brown, December 2012

Toby Spence & Kevin Murphy Recital: November 2012

The Frick Collection, New York

"Spence was in town for Antonio in the (other) Met's Tempest. A lyric tenor of wide-ranging musical interests and stylistic acumen, he's enjoyed a varied and successful international career in opera and concert. […] expressive artistry, dynamic suppleness and a pleasant timbre prevailed; […] he demonstrates full knowledge of the required sounds and the meanings conveyed. Coloristic effects here extended to fine diminuendos […] The final "Urlicht" was musically superb and charged with emotion.
[…] Spence gave a fine, fluid account of the cycle, attentive to shifting mood and the transitions between songs. A lovely, clearly heartfelt "Ich ben der Welt abhanden gekommen" made a moving encore. Let's hope Spence will return for many more local recitals."  

Opera News / David Shengold / November 2012

Thomas Adès

The Tempest

Metropolitan Opera New York

"Toby Spence, who created the role of Ferdinand, here sang the role of Antonio, Prospero’s scheming brother. Robust of tone, and looking as youthful as ever, he made a strong impression, even if playing the villain doesn’t look like natural territory for him."

Mark Pullinger Opera Britannia web review
"The tenor Toby Spence is a wily, unctuous Antonio." Anthony Tommasini New York Times
"tenor Toby Spence plays the villainous Antonio with flair." Mike Silverman Associated Press
"Toby Spence (Antonio) and William Burden (King of Naples) delivered flashes of their trademark tenor sound with remarkable diction."

David Patrick Stearns Blog

Kenneth Macmillan

Song of the Earth

Royal Opera House

"Toby Spence sang superbly and the leads were first class."

Louise Levene The Sunday Telegraph

Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Bruckner Te Deum

Royal Festival Hall

"Toby Spence stood out for his luminous tenor solos in dialogue with Pieter Schoemann's violin." John Allison The Sunday Telegraph
"The LPO and the London Philharmonic Chorus rose to almost every challenge, and the luxury quartet of Christine Brewer, Mihoko Fujimura, Toby Spence and Franz-Josef Selig ensured a white hot performance of the Te Deum." Martin Kettle The Guardian

Wagner

Die Meistersinger

Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Toby Spence more or less took over the show as David, but his portrayal is so acute, and so well sung, that it was hard to mind. 

Michael Tanner The Spectator
"Toby Spence's David remained ideal- impossibly youthful and athletic for such an experienced singer."

Hugh Canning The Sunday Times

Wagner

Die Meistersinger

Royal Opera House

"Toby Spence's confidently sung David was similarly vibrant." John Allison Opera Magazine
"Toby Spence brings ardour to the role of David" Colin Anderson The Opera Critic
"..Toby Spence's wonderfully youthful and athletic David, the star of the show.." Hugh Canning The Sunday Times

Recordings

Mahler – Das Lied von der Erde

LPO CONDUCTED BY YANNICK NÉZET-SÉGUIN

Yannick Nézet-Séguin conductor
Sarah Connolly mezzo-soprano
Toby Spence tenor
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Pieter Schoeman leader

Recorded at the Royal Festival Hall, 19 February 2011
LPO Live 2013