Christopher Tonkin

Christopher Tonkin

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Bio

Known for his sweet, dark timbered voice, intensive characterisation, and striking physicality, Australian-born baritone Christopher Tonkin has captivated audiences across the globe. Praised in recent seasons by such publications as Opera Insider for his &ldquosubstantial voice”, “dramatic authority” and “delicately nuanced performance”, Tonkin has performed a vast repertoire encompassing more than forty roles in some of the world’s greatest opera theatres across Europe, Australia and in the United Kingdom.   In December of the 2015/2016 season, Tonkin made a highly successful role debut as Marcello (La bohème) for Staatsoper Hannover. Other recent European credits include Il Conte Almaviva in Staatsoper Hannover’s critically acclaimed production of Le nozze di Figaro and Pollux in Alexander Charim’s production of Rameau's Castor et Pollux (broadcast live on NDR Niedersachsen Radio). Away from the operatic arena, Tonkin debuted with the world-renowned Lucerne Festival as the baritone soloist in Der Tod Jesu in 2015. Repertoire performed in Australia has in recent years included the Count in Capriccio and Novice’s Friend in Billy Budd for Opera Australia's Sydney season, the Black Minister in the La Fura dels Baus internationally renowned production of Le Grand Macabre (Adelaide Festival), and for Victorian Opera the roles of Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Belcore in L'elisir d'amore, for which he received a Green Room Award nomination, and Chou En-Lai in the 2013 award-winning production of Nixon in China.   Christopher grew up in Geelong, Australia, before moving to Melbourne, where he completed a Bachelor of Music Performance at the Victorian College of the Arts under the tutelage of renowned English tenor Gerald English and Anna Connolly. While there, he won several awards and scholarships, sang in masterclasses with Sir Donald McIntyre and Richard Bonynge, and performed with the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic, the Melbourne Chorale and Opera Australia’s touring school’s company, OzOpera, as well as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.   After graduating from the VCA, Christopher won the Opera Foundation Italian Opera Award, which granted an opportunity to study and perform in Europe. He spent a summer studying in Pisa, Italy, performed the role of Silvio in the Galati Theatre summer production of I Pagliacci in Romania, and finally relocated to London to take up a position at the prestigious Royal Academy of Music. While under full scholarship at the Academy, Christopher was also awarded the patronage of the Kohn Foundation and the Josephine Baker Trust.   Christopher's principal study with universally acclaimed pedagogue Raymond Connell was supplemented by the tutelage of distinguished musical mentors as Anthony Legge, Jonathan Hinden, Audrey Hyland and Iain Ledingham, and by masterclasses with celebrated professionals Alan Opie, John Mark Ainsley and John Graham-Hall. During his time at the Academy, Christopher sang leading roles in each of the six productions presented, a highlight being Le nozze di Figaro, in which Christopher performed the role of Count Almaviva in a production directed by John Copley CBE, conducted by Sir Colin Davis. Upon graduating with his Postgraduate Diploma, Christopher was awarded the coveted ‘Diploma of Royal Academy of Music’, granted for performance excellence and distinguishing him as one of the Academy’s top graduates. During his time in the UK, Christopher regularly sang at venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, the Barbican and Chichester Cathedral, and was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on several occasions.   In addition to his operatic engagements, Christopher has had extensive oratorio and concert experience throughout Australia, the UK and Europe. He has performed several times with the internationally praised Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, including bass soloist in Handel’s Messiah, the Bach Cantata BWV 207, and as L’Horloge Comtoise and Le Chat in a concert performance of L’Enfant et les sortileges, as well as Happy in La Fanciulla del West. Other concert repertoire includes Bach’s St Matthew Passion, St John Passion, Christmas Oratorio, Magnificat, Coffee Cantata, Cantatas BWV 12, 22, 23, 75 and 128, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Mozart’s Vespers and Requiem, Haydn’s Nelson Mass, Maria Theresa Mass and Paukenmesse, Purcell’s Ode to St Cecilia, Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater, Vaughan-Williams’ Five Mystical Songs and Songs of Travel, Rudi Stephan’s Liebeszauber and Schumann’s Dichterliebe.   Other past engagements have included Don Giovanni for Melbourne Opera, Anténor in Dardanus, Robert in Iolanta, Marco in Gianni Schicchi, Tarquinius in Rape of Lucretia and Drebyednyetsov in Paradise Moscow at the Royal Academy Opera (London, UK).   Future engagements include a venture into the heroic German repertoire during Christopher’s role debut as Hans in Der Traumgörge.
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