Conductors & Piano
Thomas Adès CBE
Renowned as both a composer and a performer, Thomas Adès works regularly with the world’s leading orchestras, opera companies and festivals.
Thomas appears regularly with, among others, the Los Angeles, New York and London Philharmonic Orchestras, the Boston, London, BBC and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestras. In opera, he recently conducted his latest opera The Exterminating Angel at the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House and at the Salzburg Festival. The piece was awarded World Premiere of the Year at the 2017 Opera Awards.
This season will see the release of Thomas’ album of solo piano music by Janacek, and he will join Simon Keenlyside in a recital of Schubert’s Winterreise at the Vienna State Opera. His other engagements this season include a residency with the Royal Concertgebouworkest, conducting the London and Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestras and his debut with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Thomas also returns to the Royal Opera House twice this season, to conduct Barry’s Alice’s Adventures Under Ground and the premiere of his new ballet The Dante Project.
David Afkham has just been announced as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Orquestra y Coro Nacional de España from September 2019. This position will build on the success of his tenure as Principal Conductor of the orchestra since 2014, which has featured critically acclaimed performances of Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder, Mahler’s Symphony No. 6, Bruckner Symphony No. 9, Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, Brahms’ Requiem, Haydn’s Die Schöpfung, as well as several world premieres and semi-staged projects with Wagner’s Die fliegende Holländer, Strauss’ Elektra, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle. Born in Freiburg, Germany, in 1983, David Afkham is in high demand as a guest conductor with some of the world’s finest orchestras and opera houses, and has established a reputation as one of the most sought-after conductors to emerge from Germany in recent years.
Future highlights as a guest conductor include returns with the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Münchner Philharmoniker, HR Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt, Swedish Radio Symphony, Orchestra of Accademia Santa Cecilia and NHK Symphony Orchestra, as well as debuts with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra and Dresden Philharmonic.
As an opera conductor, David Afkham made a noted debut at Glyndebourne Festival Opera in 2014, with Verdi’s La Traviata, later reviving the production for performances around the UK and Ireland for Glyndebourne on Tour. In 2017, he conducted Ginastera’s Bomarzo at Teatro Real in Madrid in a new production by Pierre Audi, to unanimous critical acclaim, and leading to an immediate re-invitation. In season 18/19 he made his German opera debut at Frankfurt Opera with Humperdinck’s Hänsel & Gretel, followed by Stuttgart Opera with Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer. He opens his 19/20 season at Theater an der Wien with Dvorak’s Rusalka. Future opera plans include Wagner’s Parsifal, Weinberg’s The Passenger, Mozart’s Così fan tutte and Strauss’ Arabella.
David Afkham began piano and violin lessons at the age of six in his native Freiburg. At 15, he entered the city’s University of Music to pursue studies in piano, music theory and conducting and continued his studies at the Liszt School of Music in Weimar. David Afkham was the first recipient of the ‘Bernard Haitink Fund for Young Talent’ and assisted Maestro Bernard Haitink in a number of major projects including symphony cycles with the Chicago Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra. He was the winner of the 2008 Donatella Flick Conducting Competition in London, and was the inaugural recipient of the ‘Nestle and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award’ in 2010. He and was Assistant Conductor of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester 2009-2012.
Highlights among David’s guest conducting projects to date include the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the 2016 and 2017 Tanglewood festivals, the London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Concertgebouw Orchestra, Staatskapelle Berlin, DSO-Berlin, Staatskapelle Dresden, Orchestre National de France, Gothenburg Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, as well as the Mostly Mozart Festival New York, tours with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie and Mahler Chamber Orchestra, and regular appearances at the Musikverein, Vienna with the Wiener Symphoniker and the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester.
For full biography, please download Artists “publicity pack” with season biography and photos opposite.
Armenian tenor Migran Agadzhanyan came to international attention in 2018 when he won 2nd prize at Operalia. He has worked at the major opera houses around Europe, including the Mariinsky Theatre where he regularly performs, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Opéra Royal de Versailles, Hamburgische Staatsoper, and Royal Swedish Opera, in roles including Don José Carmen, Pinkerton Madama Butterfly, Rodolfo La bohème, Macduff Macbeth, and Alfredo La traviata.
This season he returns to the Deutsche Oper Berlin for Madama Butterfly, debuts at Royal Danish Opera in Barrie Kosky’s Carmen, and makes his Opera di Roma and Teatro di Pisa debuts. The coming seasons see debuts at Teatro di san Carlos Napoli, and New National Theatre Tokyo for Carmen, and his debut at Royal Opera House Covent Garden.
John Mark Ainsley
John Mark Ainsley has appeared with the world’s greatest orchestras and conductors, including the London, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco Symphony orchestras and the London, Berlin, Vienna and New York Philharmonic orchestras, with Davis, Haitink, Mackerras, Charles Dutoit, Masur, Norrington, Rattle and Abbado. He has performed on stage with the Glyndebourne Festival, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, English National Opera, Theater an der Wien, Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, Teatro all Scala Milan, Oper Frankfurt and Bayerische Staatsoper, with the Salzburg and Aix-en-Provence and Edinburgh festivals, and the BBC Proms. He has recorded extensively for the major labels and was nominated for a Gramophone Award. He won the Royal Philharmonic Society Singer Award, and is a Visiting Professor at the Royal Academy of Music.
In 2016 John Mark was diagnosed with Leukaemia. Fortunately this was an early diagnosis and with ongoing treatment the prognosis for his general health is very good. However, he has decided that it is time to retire from public performance. It is still very much his intention to remain involved with singing and performing through teaching, adjudication and master classes.
Louise Alder studied at the Royal College of Music International Opera School where she was the inaugural Kiri Te Kanawa Scholar.
In the 2019/20 season Louise returns to the Royal Opera as Zerlina Don Giovanni; to the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich as Marzelline Fidelio and to the Glyndebourne Festival as Ann Trulove The Rake’s Progress. She also makes debuts with the San Francisco Opera in the title role of Partenope and with the English National Opera as Susanna in a new production of Le nozze di Figaro.
In concert, she sings Schumann’s Szenen aus Goethes Faust with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Messiah with the New York Philharmonic/Harry Bicket, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Tokyo Philharmonic/Jonathan Nott, Mozart Arias at the Salzburg Mozartwoche with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra/Daniel Harding and the title role in Theodora at the Konzerthaus in Vienna with Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen.
In recital, she appears at the BBC Proms with Joseph Middleton, Wigmore Hall with both Joseph Middleton and James Baillieu and at the Oxford Lieder Festival and Fundación Privada Victoria de los Ángeles in Barcelona with Sholto Kynoch.
Azerbaijani soprano Dinara Alieva graduated at the Baku music academy and joined the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow as soloist in 2010. She has won prizes at the Operalia Competition, Francesco Viñas Competition and Maria Callas Competition, and has since performed with the Wiener Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Oper Frankfurt, Hamburgisch Staatsoper, Semperoper Dresden, Staatstheater Stuttgart and Bayerische Staatsoper. Ms Alieva’s growing discography includes Pace mio Dio, a CD of Italian opera arias for Delos Records, and a recording of great Italian love duets with Alexandr Antonenko.
Engagements for the 2018/19 season and beyond include Elisabeth Don Carlos at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Nedda Pagliacci at the Liceu Barcelona and Liu Turandot for the Wiener Staatsoper, as well as her debut appearances with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Violetta) and Paris Opera (Cio Cio-san Madama Butterfly).
Baritone & Director
Sir Thomas Allen
Sir Thomas Allen is an established star of the great opera houses of the world. He has sung over fifty roles at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; in 2012 he celebrated his 40th anniversary of his debut with the company. An acclaimed recitalist, he is equally renowned on the concert platform and has appeared with the world’s great orchestras and conductors. He is Chancellor of Durham University. His many honours include the title of Bayerischer Kammersänger awarded by the Bayerische Staatsoper. In the New Year’s Honours of 1989 he was created a Commander of the British Empire and in the 1999 Queen’s Birthday Honours he was made a Knight Bachelor. Among his proudest achievements is having a Channel Tunnel locomotive named after him; and most recently, being awarded the Queen’s Medal for Music 2013.
Marcelo Raul Álvarez is one of the most important singers of his generation; celebrated for his interpretation of the Verdi, verismo and French repertoire.
His career has taken him to the world’s finest opera houses and international festivals, including the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; The Metropolitan Opera, Opéra national de Paris, Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Teatro alla Scala, Wiener Staatsoper, The Lyric Opera of Chcago, Teatro Colón Buenos Aires, Teatro Real Madrid, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Staatsoper under den Linden, and Opernhaus Zürich.