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Toby Spence

Tenor

Biography

Toby Spence in action.
Toby Spence as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte © ROH. Mark Douet

English tenor Toby Spence made his Royal Opera debut in 1996 as Ovando (Alzira). His many roles since include Simpleton (Boris Godunov), Ferdinand (The Tempest), Count Almaviva (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Vána Kudrjáš (Kát’a Kabanová), Tom Rakewell (The Rake’s Progress), David (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex (Gloriana) and Tamino (Die Zauberflöte) for The Royal Opera, Song of the Earth for The Royal Ballet and an appearance in the Life Reimagined Gala. In the 2018/19 Season he sings Captain Vere (Billy Budd) for The Royal Opera.

Spence grew up in London and read Music at New College, Oxford. He went on to study with David Pollard at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and made his professional debut as Idamante (Idomeneo) with Welsh National Opera. He sings regularly with ENO and Bavarian State Opera, and has also appeared for companies including the Metropolitan Opera, New York, Vienna State Opera, Theater an der Wien, Teatro Real, Madrid, Liceu, Barcelona, Rome Opera, Frankfurt Opera, Garsington Opera and Glyndebourne. Along with his Royal Opera roles his repertory includes Idomeneo, Tito (La clemenza di Tito), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Gabriel von Eisenstein (Die Fledermaus), Henry Morosus (Die schweigsame Frau), Anatol (Vanessa) and Gandhi (Satyagraha).

Spence regularly sings in concert and recital, in repertory including Bach’s St John Passion, Beethoven’s Missa solemnis and Britten’s War Requiem. In 2012 he founded the recital series Wardsbrook Concerts with his brother Magnus. Awards include the 2011 Royal Philharmonic Society Singer of the Year.

Videos

News and features

Watch LIVE: Insights into The Royal Opera's Billy Budd on 4 April 2019

3 April 2019
Watch LIVE: Insights into The Royal Opera's <em>Billy Budd</em> on 4 April 2019

Join the cast and creative team including Toby Spence, Deborah Warner and Ivor Bolton as they explore Britten's opera.

Life Reimagined Gala: Kevin O'Hare and Kasper Holten preview their highlights

18 February 2015
Life Reimagined Gala: Kevin O'Hare and Kasper Holten preview their highlights

The Director of The Royal Ballet and Director of The Royal Opera on what they're most excited for at the upcoming gala.

Listen: Toby Spence on Die Zauberflöte – ‘I can't think of an opera that engages so wholeheartedly with humanity’s biggest questions’

13 February 2015
Listen: Toby Spence on Die Zauberflöte – ‘I can't think of an opera that engages so wholeheartedly with humanity’s biggest questions’

English tenor Toby Spence discusses the very essence of Mozart’s masterpiece.

Photos

Toby Spence

Toby Spence in Gloriana, The Royal Opera

Toby Spence as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte

Toby Spence as Tamino, Nadezhda Karyazina as Second Lady, Sinéad Mulhern as First Lady and Claudia Huckle as Third Lady

Toby Spence as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte

Toby Spence as the Earl of Essex in Gloriana

Toby Spence as the Earl of Essex and Mark Stone as Lord Mountjoy in Gloriana

Toby Spence as Captain Edward Fairfax Vere in Billy Budd, The Royal Opera

Toby Spence as Tamino, Georg Zeppenfeld as Sarastro and Janai Brugger as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte

Toby Spence as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte

Toby Spence as Tamino and and Janai Brugger as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte

Toby Spence as David, Simon O'Neill as Walther and apprentices in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Jacques Imbrailo as Billy Budd and Toby Spence as Captain Edward Fairfax Vere in Billy Budd, The Royal Opera

Toby Spence as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte

Toby Spence as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte

Toby Spence as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte

Toby Spence as the Earl of Essex and Susan Bullock as Queen Elizabeth I in Gloriana

Toby Spence as the Earl of Essex, Mark Stone as Lord Mountjoy and Kate Royal as Lady Rich in Gloriana

Susan Bullock as Queen Elizabeth I, Toby Spence as the Earl of Essex and Mark Stone as Lord Mountjoy in Gloriana

Toby Spence as David in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Toby Spence as Captain Edward Fairfax Vere in Billy Budd, The Royal Opera

Toby Spence as Captain Edward Fairfax Vere and Thomas Oliemans as Mr Redburn in Billy Budd, The Royal Opera

Susan Bullock as Queen Elizabeth I, Toby Spence as the Earl of Essex and Patricia Bardon as Countess of Essex in Gloriana

Kate Royal as Lady Rich, Toby Spence as the Earl of Essex. Patricia Bardon as the Countess of Essex and Mark Stone as Lord Mountjoy in Gloriana