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, and last season making his debut conducting the Czech Philharmonic. 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 Thomas will give solo recitals in London, Paris, Lisbon and the Czech Republic, and will partner with Kirill Gerstein in recital at Carnegie Hall and Tanglewood. His other engagements this season include conducting the London and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras, the Finnish Radio and Boston Symphony orchestras, as well as the Orchestre de Paris, the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester and Britten Sinfonia.
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. Mathew 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.
Highlights of recent seasons have included debuts with the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony, Cleveland and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin as well as return engagements with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Gothenburg Symphony and the Orchestra of Accademia Santa Cecilia.
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, Concertgebouworkest 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 Jungendorchester 2009-2012.
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.
Her future engagements include Zerlina Don Giovanni for the Royal Opera, Ann Trulove The Rake’s Progress at the Glyndebourne Festival, Marzelline Fidelio at the Bayerische Staatsoper, the title role in Partenope for the San Francisco Opera, Susanna Le nozze di Figaro for the English National Opera and the Canadian Opera Company and her début with the Vienna State Opera.
Her roles in the 2018/19 season include Romilda Serse, Pamina Die Zauberflöte, Gretel Hänsel und Gretel and Monica in a new production of Menotti’s The Medium for the Oper Frankfurt and débuts at the Teatro Réal, Madrid in the title role of La Calisto and at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich as Gretel.
On the concert platform she sings the title role in Theodora at the BBC Proms with Arcangelo and Jonathan Cohen; the title role in Semele on tour with the Monteverdi Choir and Sir John Eliot Gardiner; Messiah with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin in performances staged by Frederick Wake-Walker; Carmina Burana with the LPO and Jérémie Rhorer; Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem with the RLPO and Vasily Petrenko; Jessie in Turnage’s The Silver Tassie with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Ryan Wigglesworth; Mozart Arias in Salzburg with the COE and Robin Ticciati and The Plaintiff in Trial by Jury with the OAE and John Wilson.
Her recital appearances include London’s Wigmore Hall with William Vann, the Bath Mozartfest with Joseph Middleton, the Stefaniensaal in Graz with Gary Matthewman and the Alte Oper in Frankfurt with Lars Vogt.
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.