Accessibility links


Sign In

Christopher Purves



Christopher Purves in action.
Christoper Purves as the Protector in Written on Skin, The Royal Opera © ROH/Stephen Cummiskey, 2012

English baritone Christopher Purves made his Royal Opera debut in 2007 as Marco (Gianni Schicchi) and has since returned to sing Beckmesser (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg) and the Protector (Written on Skin), a role he created. He returns in the 2016/17 Season to sing the Protector.

Purves was born in Cambridge and studied English at King’s College, Cambridge. Opera engagements include Falstaff and Saul for Glyndebourne Festival, Balstrode (Peter Grimes) for La Scala, Milan, Alberich (Das Rheingold) for Houston Grand Opera, Alberich (Götterdämmerung) for Bavarian State Opera, Alberich (Siegfried) for Canadian Opera Company, Sharpless (Madam Butterfly), Tonio (Pagliacci) and Méphistophélès (The Damnation of Faust) for English National Opera, Sharpless for Chicago Lyric Opera and Scottish Opera, Man/Ephraimite (Moses und Aron) for Paris Opéra, Wozzeck, Golaud (Pelléas et Mélisande) and Beckmesser for Welsh National Opera and Gianni Schicci and Lescaut (Manon Lescaut) for Opera North. His extensive work in contemporary opera includes the role creations of Walt Disney (Glass’s The Perfect American) and in MacMillan’s The Sacrifice, Inés de Castro and Parthenogenesis.

Purves appears regularly in concert with ensembles including the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Academy of Ancient Music, National Symphony Orchestra, Washington, and at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. His discography includes Le nozze di Figaro for Chandos, Messiah and Saul with The Sixteen, Maria di Rohan and La prigione di Edimburgo for Opera Rara and a CD of Handel arias for Hyperion.


News and features

Listen: The cast and creative team speak about Written on Skin

Listen: The cast and creative team speak about Written on Skin

1 March 2013

George Benjamin, Martin Crimp, Barbara Hannigan and Christopher Purves on the opera.