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Due to the ongoing effects of closure at the Royal Opera House, information about artists is only updated periodically during this time. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

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 returned to sing Beckmesser (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg) and the Protector (Written on Skin).

Purves was born in Cambridge and studied English at King’s College, Cambridge. Opera engagements include Falstaff, Saul and Gamekeeper (The Cunning Little Vixen) for Glyndebourne Festival, Balstrode (Peter Grimes) for La Scala, Milan, Alberich (Der Ring des Nibelungen) for Houston Grand Opera, Bavarian State Opera and Canadian Opera Company, Don Giovanni, 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, Gianni Schicci and Lescaut (Manon Lescaut) for Opera North and Don Pizzaro (Fidelio) with London Philharmonic Orchestra. His extensive work in contemporary opera includes the role creations of Protector (including the US premiere at Lincoln Center), 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, New York Philharmonic, 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

Cast change: James Cleverton to sing in Written on Skin on 18 January 2017

18 January 2017
Cast change: James Cleverton to sing in <em>Written on Skin</em> on 18 January 2017

British baritone to sing the role of the Protector from side stage, covering Christopher Purves.

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

1 March 2013
Listen: The cast and creative team speak about Written on Skin

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