Nicky Spence


Hailed by the Daily Telegraph as ‘a voice of real distinction,’ Nicky Spence is fast emerging as ‘one of our brightest young tenors.’ An artist of great integrity, Nicky Spence’s unique skills as a singing actor and the rare honesty in his musicianship are steadfastly earning him a place at the top of the profession.

Highlights in Nicky’s 2018/19 season include Ein Hirt & Ein Junger Seemann in Tristan und Isolde for the Opéra national de Paris; Nikita  in Janáček’s From the House of the Dead at La Monnaie and also for the Opéra national de Lyon; Shipman in Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tale of Tsar Saltan also for La Monnaie and Sergeant Johnny Strong in the world premiere of Iain Bell’s Jack the Ripper: The Women of Whitechapel at the English National Opera. On the concert platform he will sing Bruckner’s Te Deum  at La Monnaie, the title role in Act III of Parsifal with the Hallé Orchestra and Sir Mark Elder and Handel’s Messiah Internationally.

His recital appearances this season include Wigmore Hall, Milton Court, Middle Temple Hall and the Oxford Lieder, Leeds Lieder and Chiltern Arts Festivals. He will also give a series of performances of Janacek’s The Diary of One who Disappeared to mark its centenary and new recording due for release this year with Hyperion and pianist Julius Drake.

Nicky’s 2017/18 Season included two important debuts, at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden for From the House of the Dead, and at Teatro Real for Pirzel in Die Soldaten.  Other highlights include Les Illuminations with the New World Symphony in Miami under Mark Wigglesworth, a recital tour of Janáček The Diary of one who Disappeared and further recital appearances at the Wigmore Hall, Oxford Lieder Festival and Chiltern Festival, Leonard Bernstein’s Songfest with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, projects with Geneva Camerata, the Myrthen Ensemble and the London Mozart Players, Bach’s St Matthew Passion with the Bach Choir, and the much anticipated release of the last volume in his Strauss Song Series with Roger Vignoles (Hyperion). 

On the opera stage, Nicky created the role of Brian in the world premiere of Nico Muhly’s opera Two Boys at ENO, a role he reprised for his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2013. Becoming a great exponent of Janáček’s music, Nicky will shortly record The Diary of the one who Disappeared with Julius Drake and has notably appeared in Jenůfa (La Monnaie, Brussels, ENO); Katya Kabanova (Seattle Opera, Opera Holland Park, London) and The Makropoulos Case (Oper Frankfurt).

Nicky’s other role successes include Alwa in Berg’s Lulu, David in Richard Jones’ Die Meistersingers von Nürnberg, Novice Billy Budd (ENO); Andres Wozzeck, ein junger mann Moses und Aron (Opéra de Paris); Tamino Die Zauberflöte directed by Sir Thomas Allen, Baron Lummer Intermezzo for Scottish Opera; Francesco Benvenuto Cellini (De Nederlandse Opera); Chevalier de la Force Les Dialogue des Carmelites for Grange Park Opera; Rodolphe Guillaume Tell (Welsh National Opera); Don Ottavio Don Giovanni (New Zealand Opera); and in concert: Mime Das Rheingold (Hallé Orchestra / Sir Mark Elder), Steuermann Der Fliegender Holländer (CBSO / Andris Nelsons), Iago Rossini’s Otello (Buxton Festival), Young Sailor Tristan und Isolde (BBCSSO / Donald Runnicles), and Courtois Leoncavallo’s Zaza (Opera Rara / Maurizio Benini). 

Nicky appears internationally in concert and his recent repertoire has included Bruckner Te Deum (Atlanta Symphony / Donald Runnicles); Dvorak Saint Ludmila (Hallé Orchestra / Sir Mark Elder); Tippet A Child of Our Time (Auckland Philharmonic); Britten War Requiem (Berlin Konzerthaus); Britten Les Illuminations (Stavanger Symphony / Yan Pascal Tortelier); Beethoven 9th Symphony (Philharmonia); Bach Magnificat / G Minor Mass (BBC Proms / David Hill); Finzi Dies Natalis (BBCCO / David Hill); Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Bach’s St Matthew Passion (Royal Festival Hall); Elgar’s The Kingdom (Kings College, Cambridge); Bach’s B Minor Mass (Northern Sinfonia / Paul McCreesh); Mozart’s C Minor Mass (Cadogan Hall) and Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with L’Orchestre Nationale d’Ile de France and at Wigmore Hall.

In demand on the recital platform, Nicky sings regularly with the Myrthen ensemble and enjoys collaboration with leading artists such as Malcolm Martineau, Julius Drake, Roger Vignoles, Graham Johnson, Sholto Kynoch, Iain Burnside, Simon Lepper and Joseph Middleton. His recital life brings him regularly to venues such as the Wigmore Hall, Kings Place, Purcell Room, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, 5BMF, New York and Tonhalle, Zürich. 

Nicky has also recorded prolifically and his discography includes the forthcoming final disc of Roger Vignoles’ Strauss Song Series (Hyperion), French Melodié, Shakespeare Settings (both with Martineau), Buxton Orr with Iain Burnside (Delphian), and works by Schumann, Wolf, Britten and world premieres of Jonathan Dove, Pavel Haas, Alun Hoddinott and Mark-Anthony Turnage. 

Scotland born, Nicky trained at the Guildhall School and the NOS and progressed to become one of the inaugural Harewood Artists at the ENO. Nicky is a Samling Artist, recently joining their team as a leader of young singers, and was nominated by the International Opera Awards for Young Singer of the Year in 2015 and was also one of ten artists included in the Times Breakthrough Award at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards celebrating the best up and coming young British talent from across the Arts industry.

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