"Handel wrote some of his greatest roles for alto ... I’m spoilt for choice!" Tim Mead discusses his Handel roles past & present
Intermusica caught up with counter-tenor Tim Mead to ask about the many Handel roles he has sung and find out which ones are next on the horizon. Tim is currently singing the role of Goffredo in Rinaldo at Glyndebourne.
What was the first Handel role you sang professionally?
I think it was the role of David in Saul at Opera North in 2005 in a semi-staging by John Fulljames, alongside now familiar Handelians Lucy Crowe and Christian Curnyn, with whom I have since happily collaborated on a number of Handel operas. Before that I’d been well-served by student productions singing Melo in Sosarme, the title role in Ezio for the London Handel Festival, Athamas in Semele for British Youth Opera, and I had a stab at the title role in Cesare in a plucky undergraduate production during my time at Cambridge University.
What is your favourite Handel role and aria to sing and why?
Handel wrote some of his greatest roles for the alto voice, so I’m spoilt for choice! I’ve always been drawn to characters who express quiet, thoughtful and loving personalities alongside more traditional heroic qualities. It’s difficult to pick just one role, but a few definitely top the list. Cesare was the first Handel role I ever attempted and it remains a firm favourite. The whole opera is packed with great arias and Cesare has some truly stand out moments, such as ‘Aure, deh per pieta’ and ‘Va tacito’. His character is a great mix of fierce warrior, noble commander and lover, as well as a little humour.
Agrippina is possibly my favourite Handel opera and the role of Ottone is incredibly rewarding to sing. In an opera that is full of slightly ridiculous characters, Ottone stands as the noble heart of the piece and his lament ‘Voi che udite’ is truly heartbreaking.
I think that Handel’s greatest work is Theodora. It seems to me to be Handel at his musical and dramatic best, even in the context of an oratorio. The role of Didymus is achingly beautiful and the first time I performed the final duet (with Rosemary Joshua and The English Concert) is a moment I’ll not forget. It is astonishingly powerful music.
Having said all that, the aria I’ve most enjoyed performing recently is the triumphant final aria from Bertarido in Rodelinda, ‘Vivi tiranno'. His coloratura flourishes become statements of power, control and authority in that remarkably effortless way that Handel does so well. I’ve been enjoying pushing the limits of the speed at which these barrages of semi-quavers (even more numerous with ornamentation!) can sound effectively. This is normally a negotiation with the oboist who is also charged with this feat. I’m fortunate to have had some very obliging and talented colleagues!
How has your interpretation of roles such as Goffredo in Rinaldo, which you’re currently singing at Glyndebourne, changed since you first performed them?
One of the disadvantages of having performed so many different Handel roles over the course of my career is that I’ve not been able to repeat roles as often as I would have liked. An interpretation should always grow with repetition, but I tend not to consciously set this as an aim. A role will naturally evolve in the context of a new production, where differing thoughts on character or situation will affect the way the music is approached. There is also a broad church in the field of baroque style at the present time, so the preferences of the conductor can have a huge influence on how the characters are formed and express themselves.
With Goffredo at Glyndebourne, I’ve had a six-year break from the production leading up to this revival. The main difference in my approach is that I now bring six years more performing (and life) experience and also have a different set of colleagues to interact with on stage. This has mainly manifested itself in the way Goffredo carries himself and delivers his recitative. In the Christian army of this production, Goffredo is the only adult, cast in the role of a teacher commanding his schoolboy soldiers. In the eyes of his charges, Goffredo is always in command, always has an answer and is always right! Even in the most extreme circumstances, nothing is rushed and there is never any doubt as to this character’s strength or control. It’s this sense of authority that I feel has really grown in the intervening years. I think that is a quality that will inevitably develop the longer one spends with a character and their words.
How does your approach to performing a Handel role in concert, such as the upcoming Jephtha performance at the Proms, differ from performing in a staged production?
I hope that my approach doesn’t change all that much between the two modes of performance. It can be tempting to focus solely on musical concerns in the concert environment and be seduced by pure vocalism. The communication of the drama through music should, however, always be the primary concern, whether you’re in a theatre or not. Handel’s text may be repetitive, but that really is a gift for exploring ways of expressing the thought processes of the character. I sang Hamor in Claus Guth’s staging of Jephtha at Paris Opera last season and I’m sure I’ll bring much of what I learnt about the character to the concert performance at this year’s Proms.
Which Handel roles are you hoping to perform in the future?
I think I’ve performed over 20 Handel roles, but there are still many more to explore and I’ll be adding Dardano in Amadigi to my roles in the coming seasons. There are still a couple of ‘repertoire’ Handel roles that I need to add to my list, such as Arsamene in Xerxes and Polinesso in Ariodante. I’m keen to be in more new productions so I can be involved in the creative process with some of my favourite roles. A new Cesare would be a dream, as would a staged Theodora.
Glyndebourne's Rinaldo runs until 25 August. Find out more here.
Tim Mead performs at Wiener Staatsoper with Le Concert d’Astrée & Emmanuelle Haïm
Tim Mead makes his debut on the stage of Wiener Staatsoper on 4 June 2019, singing Handel arias and duets with soprano Patricia Petibon and Le Concert d’Astrée under the direction of Emmanuelle Haïm. This concert is part of Le Concert d’Astrée’s Desperate Lovers tour, referring to the love duets and arias of the soprano and countertenor protagonists in Handel’s operas. The tour began in April, with performances at venues including the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Victoria Hall in Geneva, Grand Théâtre in Aix-en-Provence and the Théâtre du Champs-Elysées in Paris. Following the performance in Vienna, the tour culminates with two performances at the Opéra de Lille on 18 and 19 June.
Mead has received rave reviews for his performances on the tour to date:
“The agile vocality of the British countertenor in ‘Più d'una tigre altero’ from Tamerlano and ‘Vivi, tiranno’ from Rodelinda and his suppleness of tone in ‘Vaghe pupille’ from Orlando blend wonderfully in the duets, in which the intertwining of voices is particularly brilliant.”
“When hearing the first piece by the English countertenor Tim Mead, an overwhelming aria from Tamerlano, we realised that we were listening to one of the best of his voice type, for the beauty of his timbre in all the facets, his formidable projection and his precision of an absolutely impeccable and expressive agility. Characteristics that were confirmed in his next aria, ‘Vivi, tiranno’ from Rodelinda.”
Mead also worked with Emmanuelle Haïm earlier this season when they collaborated on Rodelinda at Opéra de Lille. During rehearsals for Desperate Lovers, Haïm praised Mead’s “magnificent” voice – watch the video below:
Intermusica artists star in the Royal Opera House’s 2019/20 season
The Royal Opera House announced their 2019/20 season on 14 May 2019, unveiling a wide range of new commissions, world premieres and revivals, supported by a diverse range of ticketed and free daytime events, activities and festivals for people of all ages. The season is the first full season since the completion of Covent Garden’s three-year Open Up initiative and features 13 new productions (including two world premieres). Among the new works is the world premiere of Jules Maxwell The Lost Thing, an adaptation of Shaun Tan’s picture book. The production is staged in association with Candoco Dance Company, the commission features a cast of disabled and non-disabled singers, dancers and musicians.
>Click here to see full details of the Royal Opera House’s new season.
Following his critically acclaimed performances in Billy Budd in April, Jacques Imbrailo returns to the Royal Opera House to star as Albert in Massenet Werther from 17 September. Benoît Jacquot’s production is conducted by Edward Gardner and also features Stephanie Wake-Edwards, who begins her debut season as a Jette Parker Young Artist with the role of Käthchen.
Rhian Lois returns to Covent Garden on 25 September to perform as Jerusha in Gerald Barry The Intelligence Park at the Linbury Theatre. Conducted by Jessica Cottis, the production is the first of Barry’s opera in London since 1990.
On 14 October, Evelino Pidò conducts the premiere of a new production of Donizetti Don Pasquale from Damiano Michieletto. The production stars Bryn Terfel and is co-produced with the Opéra national de Paris and Teatro Massimo, Palermo. The performance on 24 October will be broadcast live to cinemas around the world as part of the Royal Opera House’s Live Cinema Season.
Leo Hussain made a critically acclaimed debut at Covent Garden in 2016 helming the Royal Opera’s first production of Enescu Oedipe. He returns to the Royal Opera House on 1 November to conduct David McVicar’s production of Die Zauberflöte, which also features Hongni Wu as Zweite Dame. Wu is currently a member of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme, with other roles in the 2019/20 season including Flora in La traviata, Karolka in Jenůfa and Tebaldo in Don Carlo.
Tim Mead returns to the Royal Opera House to star in David McVicar’s new production of Britten Death in Venice from 21 November. Performing under the baton of Sir Mark Elder, Mead performs the role of Apollo opposite Mark Padmore and Gerald Finley.
Gregory Kunde performs one of his signature roles at Covent Garden from 9 December, starring in the title role of Verdi Otello under the baton of Sir Antonio Pappano. Keith Warner’s production also stars Freddie De Tommaso, who makes his Covent Garden debut as Cassio.
Pamela Helen Stephen, Vlada Borovko, Hongni Wu and Stephanie Wake-Edwards join the cast for Richard Eyre’s production of La traviata from 17 December. Stephen takes the role of Annina, while Borovko stars as Violetta on 1 February 2020. She also returns to star as Musetta in three performances of La bohème directed by Richard Jones on 7, 11 and 13 February. Wake-Edwards and Wu share the role of Flora.
Lise Davidsen sings her first lead role at the Royal Opera House from 1 March 2020 when she stars opposite Jonas Kaufmann in a new production of Beethoven Fidelio. The production is directed by Tobias Kratzer, who directs Davidsen in Wagner Tannhäuser at this summer’s Bayreuth Festival. The production will be broadcast live in cinemas on 17 March.
Hongni Wu and Stephanie Wake-Edwards join the cast of Janáček Jenůfa from 24 March 2020. Directed by Claus Guth and conducted by Vladimir Jurowski, Wu takes the role of Karolka while Wake-Edwards sings the Herdswoman.
Ruxandra Donose returns to the Royal Opera House for two productions next season. On 27 April, she joins Christof Loy’s production of Wagner Tristan und Isolde to sing the role of Brangäne under the baton of Semyon Bychkov. She then returns on 29 June to star in Don Carlo as Eboli. Nicholas Hytner’s production also features Hongni Wu as Tebaldo.
Stephanie Wake-Edwards continues her debut season as a Jette Parker Young Artist with the role of Kate Pinkerton in Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s production of Puccini Madama Butterfly from 22 June. This co-production with the Gran Teatre del Liceu is conducted by Dan Ettinger.
Hongni Wu and Stephanie Wake-Edwards round off the season alongside their colleagues on the Jette Parker programme with the Jette Parker Young Artists Summer Performance on 18 July.
Tim Mead joins the Royal Ballet for world premiere of Medusa at Covent Garden
Tim Mead joins the Royal Ballet on 8 May 2019 to give the world premiere of Medusa, a new ballet from choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. Cherkaoui is the Artistic Director of Royal Ballet of Flanders and of his own company, Eastman, and is Associate Artist at Sadler’s Wells. Medusa is his first production for the Royal Ballet and is set to a mix of electronic music and songs by Henry Purcell sung by Mead with the orchestra of the Royal Opera House.
Purcell’s music features strongly in Mead’s repertoire. His recent recording of the composer’s works, made with the French baroque ensemble Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien, was Sunday Times' Album of the Week and also received a rave review from Gramophone: "a top-class English countertenor of the kind that could have been made for this music, notwithstanding that not everything here was written for his voice-type. His singing radiates rich colour, smooth lyricism and exquisite musicality."
Mead’s return to Covent Garden comes during a busy season that has featured opera productions and tours across Europe, Asia and the US. This summer he returns to Glyndebourne Festival Opera to star as Goffredo in Handel Rinaldo and joins the Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the BBC Proms to star as Hamor in Handel Jeptha. Other upcoming highlights include his return to Philadelphia Opera as Athamas in Handel Semele, Didymus in Handel Theodora at the Wiener Konzerthaus with Arcangelo and Jonathan Cohen and a concert tour of Europe and Asia with Les Arts Florissants and William Christie.
Medusa is part of a triple bill evening featuring works from three of today's leading choreographers: alongside the world premiere of Medusa, the Royal Ballet presents Christopher Wheeldon's Within the Golden Hour and Crystal Pite's Flight Pattern. The triple bill will be broadcast live in cinemas on 16 May – click here for more information.
Intermusica at the 125th BBC Proms
The BBC have announced the programme for the 125th BBC Proms, launching eight weeks of music-making of the highest quality, over 80 concerts and a host of world premieres. The festival also marks 150 years since the birth of Proms founder Sir Henry Wood and the 50th anniversary of the moon landings. As ever, Intermusica is well represented at the festival, with 24 artists taking part and our International Touring team bringing two world-class orchestras to the London stage. All concerts will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and several will be televised on BBC Four. See below for full details.
Mark Wigglesworth is joined by Nicola Benedetti and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain on 25 July. Wigglesworth conducts the London premiere of Lera Auerbach Icarus (2011) followed by Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto and Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet Suite. The concert will be televised on BBC Four on 28 July.
Simon Halsey and his numerous choirs feature throughout the Proms. On 29 July, the BBC Proms Youth Choir joins Omer Meir Wellber and the BBC Philharmonic for Haydn The Creation. Halsey then prepares the singers of the London Symphony Chorus and Orfeó Català as they join Sir Simon Rattle and the LSO to perform Walton Belshazzar’s Feast on 20 August. The concert will be shown on BBC Four on 23 August. Finally, more than 600 singers will unite for the European premiere of John Luther Adams In the Name of the Earth (2018) on 8 September.
On 2 August, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Thomas Dausgaard perform Sir James MacMillan The Confession of Isobel Gowdie, which premiered at the Proms nearly 30 years ago in 1990. The concert will be televised live on BBC Four. MacMillan is currently celebrating his 60th birthday with a year of special performances – visit jamesmacmillan.co.uk to see the full MacMillan at 60 calendar.
Ben Gernon and the BBC Philharmonic (where he is Principal Guest Conductor) give two performances. On 5 August, Gernon conducts a programme of Malcolm Arnold Peterloo Overture, Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with soloist Alexander Gavrylyuk and excerpts from Tchaikovsky Swan Lake. They repeat the concert the following morning in a Relaxed Prom, in which the concert environment is adapted to better suit audience members with autistic spectrum conditions, sensory, communication or learning difficulties.
On 10 August, Lise Davidsen reunites with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra, with whom she recently recorded her highly anticipated debut album for Decca (out 31 May). She will sing Richard Strauss Op.27 Songs, which also feature on the album.
On 13 August, Martyn Brabbins conducts a special concert with personal significance: it features the world premiere of Pictured Within: Birthday Variations for M. C. B., a new take on Elgar Enigma Variations commissioned by the BBC to mark Brabbins’ 60th birthday. This unique work features a new set of variations by 14 living composers including Intermusica’s Brett Dean, Sally Beamish, Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Dai Fujikura – plus one distinguished mystery composer to write the theme. Brabbins also conducts Elgar’s original Variations as well as Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music and Brahms Song of Destiny, featuring the BBC Singers and English National Opera Chorus. The concert will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Four on 8 September.
Also on the 13 August, Martin James Bartlett performs in a late-night mixtape concert, exploring the fringes of Minimalism and meditative listening. Joined by 12 Ensemble, Tenebrae and director Nigel Short, Bartlett will perform the slow movement from Bach Keyboard Concerto in F minor; Chopin Nocturne in D flat major, Max Richter Vladimir’s Blues and Peteris Vasks Fruits of Silence.
Andreas Haefliger returns to the Proms on 19 August for the world premiere of a new Piano Concerto written especially for him by fellow Swiss musician Dieter Ammann. He is joined for the concert by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sakari Oramo. This new work is co-commmissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Konzerthaus Wien, Lucerne Festival, Münchner Philharmoniker and Taipei Symphony Orchestra.
Singers Sofia Fomina, Marta Fontanals-Simmons and Thomas Atkins appear in Glyndebourne Festival Opera’s production of Mozart The Magic Flute on 27 August. Fomina stars in the concert staging as Pamina while Fontanals-Simmons sings Second Lady and Atkins takes the roles of Second Priest and First Man in Armour.
Richard Egarr returns to the Proms on 30 August to conduct the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (with whom he has a long association) Handel Jeptha, part of a cycle celebrating the composer’s works. The cast features Tim Mead as Hamor and Cody Quattlebaum as Zebul.
Sir John Eliot Gardiner completes his epic five-season Berlioz series on 2 September, conducting a performance of his opera Benvenuto Cellini with his Monteverdi Choir and Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique.
On 10 September, Intermusica brings the Czech Philharmonic and Semyon Bychkov to the Proms. The concert features Smetana The Bartered Bride, the Letter Scene from Eugene Onegin and Shostakovich Symphony No.8.
Nicholas Collon and his Aurora Orchestra return to the Proms on 12 September presenting another eagerly anticipated major symphony from memory. This year they present Berlioz Symphonie fantastique in an immersive theatrical staging. Collon and the orchestra will give a repeat performance in a late-night Prom that same evening and BBC Four will record the first performance for broadcast on 13 September.
As the festival draws to a close, Intermusica’s International Touring team brings a second orchestra to London: on 13 September, Andrew Manze returns with his NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover for Beethoven Night, in which Manze conducts extracts from Fidelio and Symphony No.5, as well as music by Handel and Bach.
Richard Egarr conducts Handel's Brockes Passion at the Barbican on Good Friday with Tim Mead & Cody Quattlebaum
Richard Egarr brings Handel’s rarely performed oratorio Brockes Passion to the Barbican on Good Friday, 19 April 2019, for the Academy of Ancient Music’s annual Passiontide celebration. The performance comes on the 300th anniversary of the work’s premiere, and Egarr is joined by Intermusica’s Tim Mead as Judas and Cody Quattlebaum as Christus, who perform alongside Robert Murray, Gwilym Bowen, Nicky Spence, Elizabeth Watts and Ruby Hughes.
Egarr then returns to the Utah Symphony in Salt Lake City, his first return after his highly successful debut with the orchestra last season. Egarr conducts three concerts on 25, 26 and 27 April, leading the orchestra in Schumann Symphony No.2 as well as Mozart Symphony No.31 ‘Paris’ and Rodrigo Concierto de Aranjuez with soloist Pablo Sáinz Villegas.
Host of Intermusica artists to appear in Barbican 2019/20 classical season, including portraits for Yuja Wang and Antoine Tamestit
The Barbican has announced its 2019/20 classical season with a promise to deliver ‘a year of life-affirming musical experiences’.
Among the highlights is Yuja Wang, selected for the Barbican’s ‘Artist Spotlight’, who will perform solo and chamber repertoire across four concerts. On 18 November, Wang gives the London premiere of John Adams Piano Concerto, Must the Devil have All the Good Tunes (a work written especially for her) with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel. On 21 November, she appears alongside Andreas Ottensamer, Principal Clarinet with the Berlin Philharmonic. On 13 January, Wang performs with Gautier Capuçon in a concert featuring Chopin Introduction et polonaise brillante. The Spotlight series culminates in a solo recital on 31 March 2020: click here for complete details.
Antoine Tamestit has been selected for the London Symphony Orchestra’s Artist Portrait and will showcase his musical inspirations across three concerts. Sticking close to this season’s theme of ‘roots and origins’, he begins with a work written for him – Jörg Widmann’s Viola Concerto – on 19 April with Daniel Harding. On 11 June, Tamestit performs Berio Voci with François-Xavier Roth and three days later, the Walton Viola Concerto (which Tamestit refers to as his ‘special concerto’) with Alan Gilbert. The Portrait also includes four chamber concerts at LSO St Luke’s in May and June – click here for more details.
Richard Egarr and the Academy of Ancient Music begin their Beethoven 250 anniversary celebrations with the composer’s complete incidental music for Goethe’s Egmont on 2 October. They will be joined by violinist Viktoria Mullova on 20 November for Bach Violin Concerto No.1 alongside orchestral and vocal works by CPE Bach, JS Bach, Haydn and Grimani. Following Egarr’s critically acclaimed performances and recording of Castello’s First Book of Sonatas in 2016, he will conduct the Second Book in a concert on 22 April.
Following lauded Mendelssohn and Schumann cycles, Sir John Eliot Gardiner returns to the London Symphony Orchestra on 20 October, this time bringing together three works that define the ‘Czech sound’ – Janáček Ballad of Blaník and Glagolitic Mass along with Dvořák The Golden Spinning Wheel. Conductor and orchestra will then perform Suk Symphony No.2, 'Asrael', and Dvořák Cello Concerto with soloist Truls Mørk on 24 October. In the space of just one week in May, Gardiner and his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique will perform all of Beethoven Symphonies: starting with No.1, scheduled alongside Creatures of Prometheus on 11 May, the cycle will conclude on 16 May.
Also appearing in the Barbican’s 2019/20 classical season are pianists Daniil Trifonov (30 Apr 2020) and Kirill Gerstein (6 June 2020); conductors Martyn Brabbins (1 Nov 2019) and Ben Gernon (2 May 2020); singers Marta Fontanals-Simmons (3 Oct 2019), Lise Davidsen (10 Feb 2020), Mary Bevan (19 Mar 2020) and Tim Mead (10 Apr 2020); as well as Colin Currie (23 Oct 2019), Ning Feng (13 Feb 2020) and Simon Halsey, in his role as Choral Director of the London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.
Intermusica will tour the Oslo Philhamonic with Vasily Petrenko in October, marking their 100th anniversary season with concerts across major cities in Europe. They will appear at the Barbican on 22 October to perform Strauss Don Juan, Shostakovich Symphony No.10 and Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor with Leif Ove Andsnes.
Click here for complete season details.
Tim Mead joins the Deutsches Symphonieorchester Berlin for Handel's Messiah at the Berliner Philharmonie
Tim Mead continues his festive period with a return to Berlin to sing Handel's Messiah with the Deutsches Symphonieorchester Berlin. Mead joins Louise Alder, Magdalena Kožená, Allan Clayton and Florian Boesch in a new scenic staging from Frederic Wake-Walker. The performances take place on 15 and 16 December and are conducted by the orchestra's Music Director, Robin Ticciati.
Mead then finishes the year with a performance of Purcell songs and dances at Lyon's Chapelle de la Trinité on 19 December. Mead performs alongside Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien and their director François Lazarevitch, with whom he recently recorded the Purcell works for Alpha. Click here to listen to the album.
Tim Mead returns to Wigmore Hall and the Théâtre des Champs Elysées
Tim Mead begins a busy festive period with a retun to Wigmore Hall on 7 December 2018. Performing alongside Louise Alder and Arcangelo, Mead sings a program of cantatas by Scarlatti, Porpora and Handel. The concert will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 at 7.30pm on 12 December. Mead next works with Arcangelo and their director Jonathan Cohen in January, when they perform Bach's B minor Mass in Hong Kong.
Three days later, Mead reunites with Emmanuelle Haïm and Le Concert d’Astrée for the final concert in their tour of France. Mead sings the role of Bertarido in a concert performance of Handel Rodelinda.
Tim Mead performs Pergolesi Stabat Mater on tour of the UK with the Academy of Ancient Music
Tim Mead joins the Academy of Ancient Music, soprano Keri Fuge, and conductor Christian Curnyn this month for five performances of music by Handel, Corelli, and Pergolesi from 15 February 2018. The programme, entitled Mortal Voices, includes Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater alongside Handel’s Cantata Il Duello Amoroso. The tour begins with a concert at Milton Court in London and also visits Cambridge, Bury St Edmunds, Bath and Southampton.
Mead has just returned from Paris, where he made an enormously successful debut at the Opera National de Paris, singing Hamor in Handel’s Jephtha under the baton of William Christie.
"The viewer has the striking confirmation of the talent and dramatic presence of counter-tenor Tim Mead. The fullness of his tone and the panache of his technique give Hamor (Iphis's fiancé) an undeniable aura. The duo of lovers in Act I is a moment of pure happiness!"
La Croix, January 2018
”As the lover Hamor, Tim Mead is exemplary, a warm voice and honest singing, both in the quality of the stage performance and vocally”
Later this season he appears as Endimione in La Calisto for the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, and also sings the title role in Handel Giulio Cesare with Christian Curnyn and the Early Opera Company at St John’s Smith Square in London.
Tim Mead sings Hamor in Jeptha in debut with Opera National de Paris
Tim Mead makes his highly anticipated debut at the Opera National de Paris this month, as Hamor in Handel’s Jephtha, under the baton of William Christie. Claus Guth’s production opens at the Palais Garnier on 13 January, and also stars Ian Bostridge and Marie-Nicole Lemieux.
Mead began the season with an appearance at the Los Angeles Philharmonic alongside Gustavo Dudamel as part of their opening night gala, and was subsequently praised for his “magnetic” performance as Bertarido in Handel’s Rodelina at English National Opera.
Later this season he appears as Endimione in La Calisto at Bayerische Staatsoper and performs in concert with the Netherlands Bach Society, Academy of Ancient Music, Les Musiciens de Saint Julien, and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.
Susan Bickley & Tim Mead return to English National Opera for Rodelinda
Susan Bickley and Tim Mead return to English National Opera on 26 October 2017 for the revival of Richard Jones’ acclaimed production of Handel Rodelinda. Christian Curnyn conducts a stellar cast also featuring Rebecca Evans in the title role and Neal Davies as Garibaldo.
Bickley reprises the role of Eduige, a portrayal the Guardian described as a “deft liaison of ferocity and wit” when the production premiered in 2014. Last season Bickley created the role of Paulina in Ryan Wigglesworth's The Winter's Tale for ENO, and subsequently received acclaim for her Genevieve in Pélleas et Mélisande for Garsington Opera. in 2018 she can be seen as Ericlea in Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria for the Royal Opera at the Roundhouse.
Mead began the season with an appearance at the Los Angeles Philharmonic alongside Gustavo Dudamel as part of their opening night gala. In January he makes his debut at the Opéra National de Paris as Hamor in Jephtha, before appearing as Endimione in La Calisto at Bayerische Staatsoper in the spring.
Tim Mead performs at Los Angeles Philharmonic's opening night gala with Gustavo Dudamel
Tim Mead returns to Los Angeles on 26 September 2017 to join Anna Prohaska, Yuja Wang, Yefim Bronfman and Gustavo Dudamel for the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s opening night gala at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The follows soon after Mead made his debut with the orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl in August, singing Vivaldi's Stabat mater and Gloria to critical acclaim:
"The mostly dark, mostly lugubrious Stabat Mater — not exactly ideal fare for the famously easygoing, alfresco dining ambience of the Bowl — was nevertheless a grateful vehicle for the expressive, soothing, beautiful timbre of the English countertenor Tim Mead."
Los Angeles Times
In October, Mead returns to English National Opera as Bertarido in Handel Rodelinda under the baton of Christian Curnyn, and in January makes his highly-anticipated debut at the Opera National de Paris as Hamor in Jephtha under William Christie.
Mead recently garnered praise for his performance of Bach St John Passion with the Dunedin Consort at the BBC Proms:
"Counter-tenor Tim Mead, at his most beautiful in Es Ist Vollbracht, led the distinguished lineup of soloists in the arias."
“"Ach, mein Sinn," the aria of Peter's regret at his denial, touched those depths you always dream of achieving in the best meditations. So, too, did counter-tenor Tim Mead's exquisite, hall-filling beauty of sound in "Es ist Vollbracht""
Arts Desk, five stars
Tim Mead makes LA Philharmonic debut at the Hollywood Bowl
Tim Mead makes his Los Angeles Philharmonic debut on 10 August 2017 under the baton of Nicholas McGegan, singing Vivaldi Stabat Mater and Gloria at the Hollywood Bowl. Mead recently received acclaim for his performance of works by Vivaldi given in recital at La Sainte Chapelle in Paris for Les Grandes Voix:
"In the Stabat Mater, the interpretation of 'Eja Mater' is divine, the melodic line admirably fluid, accompanied by a pointed rhythm of the strings. After a short pause, Nisi Dominus is both vigorous and precious."
Res Musica, July 2017
Next season Mead makes his highly anticipated debut at the Opéra National de Paris as Hamor in Jephtha under the baton of William Christie, and returns to English National Opera as Bertarido in Rodelinda under Christian Curnyn. Mead also returns to the Los Angeles Philharmonic on 26 September to perform alongside Yefim Bronfman, Anna Prohaska, Yuja Wang, and Gustavo Dudamel as part of their opening night gala.
Tim Mead closes the Festival de Paris with Les Accents at the Sainte Chapelle
Tim Mead sings Vivaldi Stabat Mater and Nisi Dominus with Thibault Noally and Les Accents on 29 June 2017, the closing concert of Festival de Paris. The performance takes place at Paris’ famed Sainte Chapelle, the royal chapel within the medieval Palais de la Cité.
Mead sings a further performance of the Stabat Mater on 10 August with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl under the baton of Nicholas McGegan.
Mead’s last appearance in Paris, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, garnered huge acclaim, and he returns to the city next season to debut at the Opera National de Paris as Hamor in Claus Guth’s production of Handel Jephtha, under the baton of William Christie.
Intermusica at the 2017 BBC Proms
The BBC announced the line-up for the 2017 Proms on 20 April 2017, and as ever Intermusica artists and orchestras play a leading role in the festival. Every Prom is broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and on the BBC website, with select concerts broadcast on BBC television live or at a later date.
Simon Halsey’s Proms Youth Choir give the opening concert of the Proms on 14 July, performing John Adams Harmonium alongside the BBC Symphony Chorus and BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Edward Gardner.
Joshua Weilerstein makes his debut at the Proms on 19 July, conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra at 7.30pm the Royal Albert Hall. Weilerstein conducts a programme of Rebel Les élémens – le chaos, Berlioz Symphonie fantastique and Pascal Dusapin’s cello concerto Outscape, for which he is joined by his sister, cellist Alisa Weilerstein.
Nicholas Collon and his Aurora Orchestra return to the Proms to perform another symphony from memory at 7.30pm on 22 July. This time, they perform Beethoven Symphony No.3 ‘Eroica’, preceded by an introduction from Tom Service accompanied by excerpts from Collon and the orchestra. The programme for the concert also includes Strauss Metamorphosen.
John Wilson makes the first of two appearances at this year’s Proms at 6.30pm on 25 July when he performs with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Wilson, the orchestra’s Associate Guest Conductor, leads the orchestra in a programme of Vaughan Williams Symphony No.9 and Holst The Planets.
Christopher Purves also makes two appearances at the Proms this year, with his first coming on 27 July. Purves joins Juanjo Mena, the BBC Philharmonic and the Crouch End Festival Chorus to perform the London premiere of Mark Simpson The Immortal, an oratorio inspired by Victorian séances.
Mark Wigglesworth is joined by pianist Stephen Hough and the BBC Philharmonic at 7.30pm on 29 July to perform Brahms Piano Concerto No.1, David Sawyer The Greatest Happiness on Earth and Haydn Symphony No.99.
Sir James MacMillan’s European Requiem receives its European premiere at the Proms at 7pm on 30 July from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and conductor Xian Zhang, with Jacques Imbrailo performing as the baritone soloist.
Sir John Eliot Gardiner returns to the Proms on 2 August with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, this time for a late night Prom at the Royal Albert Hall at 10.15pm. Gardiner conducts his ensembles in a performance of cantatas by Bach and Schütz.
Sir John Eliot Gardiner makes his second Proms appearance of the year at 7.30pm on 8 August, this time conducting the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique in a performance of Berlioz La damnation du Faust.
Lise Davidsen makes her debut at the Proms at 7.30pm on 10 August with the BBC Philharmonic and John Storgårds. Davidsen joins the orchestra to perform Sibelius Luonnotar and extracts from Grieg Peer Gynt.
John Wilson’s second Proms appearance this year comes on 11 August when his John Wilson Orchestra returns for its annual concert. This year, Wilson leads the orchestra in two performances of Rogers & Hammerstein Oklahoma!, at 2pm and 7.30pm.
Christopher Purves joins the London Symphony Orchestra and Sir Simon Rattle for a performance of Schoenberg Gurrelieder at 7.30pm on 19 August. Also performing are three of Simon Halsey’s choruses – City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus, London Symphony Chorus and Orfeó Català. Halsey also leads a Gurrelieder Proms Extra Sing Day at London Imperial College earlier that day.
Tim Mead returns to the Proms alongside John Butt and the Dunedin Consort for the third concert of the Proms’ Reformation Day at 7.45pm on 20 August. Mead follows last year’s Bach Mass in B minor with Bach St John Passion, singing alongside a cast that also includes Sophie Bevan, Nicholas Mulroy, Matthew Brook and Andrew Tortise.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Beyond the Score® appears at the Proms at 7.30pm on 23 August, with a performance of Dvorák Symphony No.9 ‘From the New World’ given by the Hallé Orchestra and Sir Mark Elder alongside a multi-media exploration of the symphony directed by Beyond the Score founder Gerard McBurney.
Leonidas Kavakos reunites with Riccardo Chailly at 6.30pm on 25 August, as Intermusica bring the conductor and his Filarmonica della Scala to the Proms to perform Brahms and Respighi. Kavakos joins the orchestra for Brahms Violin Concerto, which is followed by Respighi Fountains of Rome and Pines of Rome.
Joélle Harvey returns to the Proms as Glyndebourne’s production of Mozart La clemenza di Tito comes to the Royal Albert Hall at 7pm on 28 August. Harvey takes the role of Servilia, with accompaniment from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Robin Ticciati.
Intermusica is delighted to bring the Oslo Philharmonic and Vasily Petrenko to the Proms at 7.30pm on 29 August. Petrenko conducts the orchestra in an all-Russian programme of Stravinsky The Firebird (1919 version), Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.4 and Shostakovich Symphony No.12.
The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra bring an all-Mendelssohn programme to the Proms this year from 1pm on 3 September. Conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado, the orchestra perform Mendelssohn Hebrides Overture, Violin Concerto with Isabelle Faust and Symphony No.5
Ben Johnson joins Sakari Oramo, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and an international cast of soloists for the Last Night of the Proms on 9 September. The Last Night begins from 7.15pm and will be broadcast live on BBC Two, and Johnson sings Kodály Te Deum.
Sarah Tynan & Tim Mead star in Semele in Boston with the Handel & Haydn Society
Sarah Tynan and Tim Mead travel to Boston in May to join the Handel & Haydn Society for two performances of Handel Semele on 5 and 7 May 2017. Performing at Symphony Hall under the baton of Harry Christophers, Tynan sings the title role while Mead takes the role of Athamas.
Tynan and Mead are joined by a cast including Jeremy Budd, Matthew Brook, Paula Murrihy, Mireille Asselin, Woodrow Bynum and Stefan Reed.
Both Tynan and Mead are noted performers of Handel - Tynan recently sang the title role of Partenope at English National Opera, while Mead sang Ottone in Agrippina at Opera Vlaanderen:
"In the title role, Sarah Tynan is a queen bee with Nancy Cunard looks, Marlene Dietrich poses as she flaunts her pins on a handy chair and a voice gliding over the high coloratura like a butterfly over a flowerbed."
Times, March 2017
“This revival benefits from an exceptional Ottone in the person of Tim Mead. With a top drawer enchanting tone across the board and a wholly invested stage-presence, the English counter-tenor has everything going for him.”
Res Musica, March 2017
Tim Mead sings Ottone in Agrippina with Opera Vlaanderen
Tim Mead returns to Opera Vlaanderen this month in the role of Ottone Handel Agrippina from 23 March 2017. Mariame Clément’s production is conducted by Stefano Montanari. Mead last performed at Opera Vlaanderen in the title role of their hugely successful production of Philip Glass Akhnaten in 2015:
“Tim Mead’s Akhnaten sang with amazing purity, a kind of ethereal metaphor of the pharaoh’s philosophy.”
Opera Now, April 2015
Next month Mead can be seen as The Boy in George Benjamin Written on Skin at the Bolshoi, and Athamas in Handel Semele with the Handel & Haydn Society, Boston.
Agrippina runs from 23 March to 4 April.
Tim Mead performs in recital at Wigmore Hall
Tim Mead returns to Wigmore Hall on 29 January 2017 for a solo recital accompanied by pianist James Baillieu. The duo performs English songs by Howells, Quilter, Purcell, Dankworth, Vaughan Williams and Britten.
"It’s a rich, mellifluous sound, more in the rounder, warmer realm of Andreas Scholl than his predecessors. His aria I Know a Bank Where the Wild Thyme Blows, a signature moment in the opera, is a spellbinding achievement, sensuously phrased and beautifully judged."
Guardian, five stars, August 2016
Later this season, Mead returns to Opera Vlaanderen as Ottone in Handel Agrippina, and reprises the role of the Boy in George Benjamin Written on Skin at the Bolshoi. In concert Mead can be seen alongside the Chamber Orchestra Basel, Handel and Haydn Society in Boston, and Dunedin Consort.
Richard Egarr makes his CBSO debut conducting Handel Semele with Tim Mead
Richard Egarr makes his debut with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra this month when he conducts the orchestra in a performance of Handel Semele on 25 January 2017. Egarr is a noted performer of Handel's music, with award-winning Harmonia Mundi recordings of the solo keyboard suites and the organ sonatas to his name (with the Academy of Ancient Music), as well as many critically-acclaimed performances of the Messiah and other oratorios.
Egarr is joined for the concert by fellow Intermusica artist Tim Mead, who sings the role of Athamas. He has regularly performed Handel to critical acclaim, including two Messiahs in December 2015 with both the Gabrieli Consort and Players and the New York Philharmonic:
The alluring countertenor Tim Mead was consistently excellent, especially his somber account of the aching aria 'He Was Despised.'"
New York Times, December 2015
In addition to the CBSO, the concert features the CBSO Chorus, who will be prepared for the performance by Simon Halsey.
Tim Mead joins L'Arpeggiata in concert at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées
Tim Mead performs at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on 18 January 2017 with L'Arpeggiata alongside soprano Emőke Baráth and conductor Christina Pluhar. The programme for the concert includes selections by Monteverdi, as well as Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, which Mead has recently recorded with La Nuova Musica for future release. On 25 January, he can also be seen as Athamas in Handel Semele with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Richard Egarr.
Later this season, Mead returns to Opera Vlaanderen as Ottone in Handel Agrippina, and also reprises the role of the Boy in George Benjamin’s Written on Skin at the Bolshoi. In concert Mead can be seen alongside the Chamber Orchestra Basel, Handel and Haydn Society in Boston, and Dunedin Consort.
Intermusica tours Shakespeare in Love with the English Concert, Tim Mead & Mary Bevan to Hong Kong & China
Complimenting the Halle’s China tour of orchestral works inspired by Shakespeare in July this year, Intermusica continues to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death by touring the English Concert under Harry Bicket to Hong Kong and China from 11 December 2016.
The tour is a unique musical project showcasing Shakespeare’s influence on baroque repertoire. Featuring the soprano Mary Bevan and counter-tenor Tim Mead, the programme for the concerts includes vocal and instrumental works by Purcell, Arne, Locke and Handel, who were all inspired by plays including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, Cymbeline and Julius Caesar.
Entitled ‘Shakespeare in Love’, the concept was jointly created by Intermusica and the English Concert specifically for the Asia market and is another example of how Intermusica closely collaborates with orchestras and ensembles to design and deliver pioneering tours with strong artistic integrity. The tour visits Hong Kong’s City Hall alongside the ensemble’s debuts in the Qintai Concert Hall Wuhan, Shanghai’s Grand Theatre and the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing.
11 December: City Hall, Hong Kong
13 December: Qintai Concert Hall, Wuhan
15 December: Grand Theatre, Shanghai
17 December: NCPA, Beijing
Tim Mead sings Ode to St Cecilia with the Dunedin Consort at Wigmore Hall
Tim Mead returns to Wigmore Hall on 22 November 2016 with the Dunedin Consort to celebrate St Cecilia’s Day with a performance of Purcell Ode to St Cecilia. John Butt conducts the Dunedin Consort and soloists Joanne Lunn, Nicholas Mulroy and Matthew Brookin this performance which also includes selections from The Tempest and music from Purcell's contemporary Matthew Locke.
Highlights for the rest of the season include a concert tour to Asia with The English Concert and Harry Bicket, and Ottone in Handel Agrippina for Opera Vlaanderen.
Tim Mead joins Les Arts Florissants to sing Bach at BBC Proms
Tim Mead joins William Christie and Les Arts Florissants on 1 September 2016 for a performance of Bach Mass in B Minor at the BBC Proms. They will be joined on stage by soprano Katherine Watson, tenor Reinoud Van Mechelen, and baritone André Morsch. Mead is renowned for his “virtuoso” performances of the Bach repertoire, and has previously recorded the Mass in B Minor with Arcangelo for Hyperion, to critical acclaim.
Mead has been starring as Oberon in Britten A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Glyndebourne this summer, and has received rave reviews:
"It’s a rich, mellifluous sound, more in the rounder, warmer realm of Andreas Scholl than his predecessors. His aria I Know a Bank Where the Wild Thyme Blows, a signature moment in the opera, is a spellbinding achievement, sensuously phrased and beautifully judged."
"Tim Mead, with his perfect enunciation, is a pearly, clear-voiced Oberon"
"Some starry casts have inhabited this production over the years, and this revival is no exception. Mead sounds better than ever – a chilly Oberon whose “I know a bank” rings metallic-pure, only swelling into the faintest flutter of vibrato for the final note of a phrase, a sensualist’s practised caress."
Next season he will return to Opera Vlaanderen as Ottone in Handel Agrippina, headline an Asian tour with The English Concert, and will reprise the role of The Boy in George Benjamin’s Written on Skin for the Bolshoi.
Tim Mead & Anthony Gregory star in A Midsummer Night's Dream at Glyndebourne
Tim Mead and Anthony Gregory return to Glyndebourne Festival Opera on 11 August 2016 to star in the upcoming revival of Peter Hall’s popular production of Britten A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Mead reprises the role of Oberon alongside Gregory, who makes his debut in the role of Flute. The cast also includes Kathleen Kim as Tytania, Kate Royal as Helena, Matthew Rose as Bottom, and Duncan Rock as Demetrius, under the baton of Jakub Hrůša.
Mead has previously sung Oberon for Bergen National Opera, where he was praised for his “ethereal voice” (Bergen Journal), “his soothing countertenor crooning an irresistible invitation to sleep” (Opera Now). Next season Mead can be seen as Ottone in Handel Agrippina at Opera Vlaanderen, and reprises his acclaimed performance as the Boy in George Benjamin Written on Skin with the Aix-en-Provence Festival at the Bolshoi Theatre.
Anthony Gregory returns to Glyndebourne following his performance last season as Peter Quint and Prologue in Britten The Turn of the Screw with Glyndebourne on tour. Gregory joins the Glyndebourne tour in 2016/17 as Ottavio Don Giovanni and returns to Glyndebourne later in the season. Other future engagements include the role of Lysander A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Aix-en-Provence in their tour to Bahrain and Florizel in the world premiere of Ryan Wigglesworth The Winter’s Tale at English National Opera.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs at Glyndebourne until 28 August.
Tim Mead leads Melancholia at Theater Basel
Tim Mead travels to Switzerland this month to lead Theater Basel’s new production, Melancholia, from 12 May 2016. The piece is a co-production with the Young Theater Basel, and explores the theme of Melancholy from the songs of John Dowland and the madrigals of Monteverdi through to the present day. Andrea Marcon conducts and Sebastian Nübling directs the production alongside Ives Thuwis, who choreographs the corps of young dancers who accompany the international cast of singers.
Mead has recently finished a hugely successful European tour with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, singing the role of the Boy in George Benjamin Written on Skin, and this summer can be seen as Oberon in Britten A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Glyndebourne.
"The countertenor Tim Mead sings the Boy and looks the part. With his melting, pure sound, he shapes expressive phrases beautifully."
New York Times
"Tim Mead captured the Boy’s androgynous sexuality with astonishing beauty"
Melancholia runs at Theater Basel from 12 May - 24 June, and will also be featured at the Holland Festival in Amsterdam on 14 and 15 June. For more information, visit Theater Basel’s website.
Intermusica leads eight major Asia tours in 2016
Intermusica will take eight world-class ensembles to Asia in 2016 in a year of ground-breaking firsts. Watch our video below to find out more.
Academy of Ancient Music
- Conducted by Richard Egarr
- First British orchestra to play in Prince Mahidol Hall, Bangkok
- Marking 275th anniversary of Vivaldi’s death
Budapest Festival Orchestra
- Conducted by Iván Fischer with soloist Ning Feng
- BFO’s debut in Xi’an, the ancient capital of China
- Chinese premiere of Dutilleux’s L’arbre des songes
Choir of King's College, Cambridge
- Choir’s debut in Nanjing and Tianjin and fourth Intermusica tour to China
- Opening Beijing NCPA’s International Chorus Festival
Colin Currie Group
- Group's Macau debut
- Celebrating Steve Reich’s 80th birthday year
- Debut of Steve Reich's music at Macu International Music Festival
- Conducted by Sir Mark Elder
- Hallé's debut in Wuhan and Shanghai
- First British orchestra to collaborate with Chinese choruses in the Chinese premiere of William Walton’s Henry V
- Conducted by Andrew Manze
- UNESCO World Cities of Music collaboration with Tongyeong
- Sir Andras Schiff’s debut concerto tour of China
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
- Conducted by Osmo Vänskä with soloist Renaud Capuçon
- OSR's debut in India
The English Concert
- With soloists Tim Mead and Mary Bevan
- ‘Shakespeare in Love’: a concept designed by Intermusica in collaboration with The English Concert to celebrate Shakespeare 400
- The English Concert’s debut in Wuhan, Shanghai and Beijing
“Exquisite”: praise for Christopher Purves & Tim Mead in Written on Skin European tour
Christopher Purves & Tim Mead have received acclaim throughout Europe for their roles in Written on Skin, described as “exquisite” and “a marvel”, on tour with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Beginning on 12 March in Dortmund, the tour stopped at Cologne, Barcelona, Madrid and at culminated at London’s Barbican Centre on 19 March.
Read some of the reviews below:
“Mead makes a chilly seducer, magnetic but horribly impassive. It’s a physical performance that’s the twin of his vocal delivery, which brings both Brittenish purity and Baroque power to bear on music that’s tainted even as it is exquisite. His duets with Hannigan are indecently sensual, sparking harmonics that ripple back through the orchestra.
It is Purves you can’t take your eyes off. The subtle rhetoric of his delivery is a marvel. The notes are just the start of expressive details and shading that render this tyrant disquietingly human. It is he who leads the orchestra into its sudden, cataclysmic flares of sound – moments where Benjamin treats his whole ensemble as a percussion section, striking and shaking them – and matches them in the heft of his anger, his violence.”
“Hannigan’s impersonation of Agnès’s fury and sudden insatiable desire was matched by Purves’s painful transition from pride to fear to rage. The virtuosity of their singing, with diction so decisive and precisely nuanced that Crimp’s words burnt my ears, was astonishing. Cool and ambiguous, Mead was the melismatic foil to their heat.”
“The MCO played it with an almost queasy beauty, and the singing was flawless. Christopher Purves and Barbara Hannigan, who also created the roles of the Protector and Agnès, are remarkable vocal actors, and their interpretations intensify with time. Tim Mead captured the Boy’s androgynous sexuality with astonishing beauty”
“Her performance is matched by the magnificent countertenor Tim Mead, with beautiful voice and interpretive line. Christopher Purves is also great in his less sympathetic but equally difficult role.”
“Christopher Purves (Protector), with opaque voice, embodied with truth and virulence the sinister husband and murderer. Countertenor Tim Mead (First Angel, Boy), whose sound has the timbre of mezzo, knew how to act, speak and refine. The success in the packed theatre was complete. Rightfully.”
“Tim Mead, the main novelty of the cast, is already one of the great countertenors of all time, and one cannot imagine a Boy sung better than his.”
“… the countertenor Tim Mead (The Boy and First Angel) also dazzled with a voice of delicate nuances, and baritone Christopher Purves (Protector) showed a strong theatrical instinct.”
“…when the voice of Tim Mead combines with the wonderful soprano Barbara Hannigan, the emotional centre of the opera is reached. With expressive singing Christopher Purves is the "protector" of his wife…”
Christopher Purves & Tim Mead star in Written on Skin on tour with Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Tim Mead and Christopher Purves reprise their roles in George Benjamin Written on Skin on tour with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra from 12 March 2016. Benjamin himself conducts these semi-staged concert performances in Dortmund (12 March), Cologne (13 March), Barcelona (16 March), Madrid (17 March) and at the Barbican in London (19 March). Written on Skin was last performed in August 2015 at Lincoln Center, as part of the Mostly Mozart Festival, with both Mead and Purves attracting praise for their performances:
"The countertenor Tim Mead sings the Boy and looks the part. With his melting, pure sound, he shapes expressive phrases beautifully."
New York Times, August 2015
"Tim Mead's stunningly pure, otherwordly countertenor in the role of the Boy..."
Washington Post, August 2015
"The baritone Christopher Purves, the original Protector, brings a stentorian voice and imposing swagger to the role, while projecting the words with impressive clarity."
New York Times, August 2015
"Christopher Purves was firm, sinister and aching in the role of the Protector, desperate to keep a shifting world under his control."
Washington Post, August 2015
Following the tour, Purves travels to Houston Grand Opera to appear as Alberich in Wagner Siegfried, and this summer he sings the Gamekeeper in Janacek The Cunning Little Vixen at Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Mead appears this spring at Theater Basel, as part of their Melancholia programme, and this summer can also be seen at Glyndebourne, singing Oberon in Britten A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Tim Mead returns to New York Philharmonic for Handel's Messiah
Tim Mead returns to New York this month for five performances of Handel’s Messiah with the New York Philharmonic on 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19 December 2015. Jane Glover conducts the performances at David Geffen Hall, which also feature soprano Heidi Stober, tenor Paul Appleby and baritone Roderick Williams alongside the Westminster Symphonic Choir. Mead previously sang Messiah in his New York Philharmonic debut in 2012, prompting the New York Times to comment on “his luminous voice, impeccable control and expressive phrasing.”
Mead has recently made a stunning role debut as Oberon in Britten A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Bergen National Opera, a role he repeats later this season at Glyndebourne Festival Opera. This spring he can also be seen on tour with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Les Arts Florissants, as well as in a new programme with Theater Basel entitled Melancholia.
Paul McCreesh conducts Gidon Saks, Ben Johnson and Tim Mead in Britten's A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Bergen National Opera
Paul McCreesh returns to lead the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra this month, conducting Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Bergen National Opera from 7 November 2015. The production – a revival directed by Robert Carsen – runs for four performances on 7, 9, 11 & 13 November, and features a host of Intermusica singers, including countertenor Tim Mead as Oberon, tenor Ben Johnson as Lysander and Gidon Saks playing the role of Bottom.
Saks is making his house and role debut as Bottom, having just made highly successful appearances at the Edinburgh Festival as Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress and in the title role of Bluebeard’s Castle at the Komische Oper Berlin. Later this season he can be seen as Gyges in Der Konig Kandaules at Opera Vlaanderen, and as the King of France in Lear at the Opera de Paris.
Tim Mead is also making his house debut in Bergen. He has most recently been seen at Opera de Lille singing the role of Arsamene in their production of Cavalli’s Xerse, and at Lincoln Center in the U.S. premiere of George Benjamin’s Written on Skin. Mead reprises the role of Oberon at the Glyndebourne Festival this summer.
Ben Johnson’s most recent operatic success was in the role of Carlo in Verdi’s Giovanna d’Arco for the Buxton Festival. Equally at home in twentieth century and contemporary repertoire, Johnson is renowned for his performances of works by Britten, including the War Requiem and Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings. Later this month he sings Arvo Pärt’s Passio with the Choir of Kings College, Cambridge.
McCreesh last conducted Bergen Philharmonic in 2012, when he led the orchestra – along with the Bergen Philharmonic Choir, plus Kor Vest and local students – in a large-scale performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah.
Tim Mead sings Arsamene in Cavalli's Xerse with Emmanuelle Haïm at Opéra de Lille
Tim Mead travels to Opéra de Lille this month, where he sings Arsamene in Cavalli Xerse from 2 October 2015. Under the baton of Emmanuelle Haïm, the cast also features Ugo Guagliardo, Carlo Allemano, Emöke Barath, and Camille Poul. Opéra de Lille and Haïm's period ensemble, Le Concert d’Astrée, perform the 17th century version of Cavalli’s opera, which includes the ballets added by Jean-Baptiste Lully to the original score. Renowned Flemish director Guy Cassiers directs the production in cooperation with choreographer Maud Le Pladec.
Mead arrives in Lille on the back of a hugely successful summer in the United States, where he received widespread acclaim for his performances in the title role of Handel Richard the Lionheart at Opera Theatre of St Louis, and as The Boy in the US premiere of George Benjamin’s Written on Skin at Lincoln Center.
“Tim Mead, in the title role, proved to be that rarest of creatures, a macho countertenor. His sound was rich and forceful — even in the most florid passages, it maintained its startling vigor — and he brought an infectious swagger to his physical portrayal.”
Handel Richard the Lionheart, Opera News, August 2015
Later in the season, Mead sings Oberon in Britten A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Bergen National Opera and again at Glyndebourne in summer next year.
Christopher Purves & Tim Mead: Written on Skin at Mostly Mozart festival
Christopher Purves and Tim Mead perform at the Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival staging of George Benjamin’s Written on Skin on 11 August, in its highly-anticipated United States staged premiere. Christopher Purves reprises the role of Protector, which he originated, and Tim Mead sings the role of the Boy/First Angel. Written on Skin premiered in 2012 at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, and had its UK premiere at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 2013.
Called by Le Monde “the best opera written in twenty years,” Written on Skin is based on a medieval legend of the troubadour Guillaume de Cabestanh, and deals with modern themes of love, passion, cruelty, and revenge through the lens of the 12th-century tale.
Under the direction of Katie Mitchell, the cast also includes Barbara Hannigan, reprising the role of Agnès, and Victoria Simmonds and Robert Murray as Angels 2 and 3. Alan Gilbert will conduct the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in three performances on 11, 13 and 15 August.
Tim Mead & Devon Guthrie in Riccardo Primo at The Opera Theatre of St Louis
Tim Mead and Devon Guthrie both make their house debuts at The Opera Theatre of St Louis from 7 June 2015 in the North American premiere of Handel’s Riccardo Primo. Presented as Richard the Lionheart in a new translation by Lee Blakely, the production is directed by Blakely and conducted by Grant Llewellyn.
Tim Mead will sing the title role of Richard the Lionheart following a triumph at Opera Vlaanderen in the title role of Philip Glass Akhnaten, and this summer will appear at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival for the highly-anticipated New York premiere of George Benjamin’s Written on Skin.
Fellow Intermusica artist Devon Guthrie makes her debut singing the role of Pulcheria, the Governor of Cyprus’s daughter. Guthrie and Mead join a cast that also includes Susannah Biller as Costanza and Tai Oney as Oronte.
Tim Mead performs with Alison Balsom & English Concert at Wigmore Hall
Tim Mead joins trumpeter Alison Balsom, soprano Lucy Crowe and The English Concert for a late night concert at Wigmore Hall on 8 May 2015. Trevor Pinnock conducts the programme of works by Purcell and Handel.
Mead and Crowe previously sang together in March in a performance of Pergolesi Stabat Mater, a partnership that received significant praise from the critics:
“The pairing of Lucy Crowe and Tim Mead was perfectly suited to the five solo arias and seven duets which make up this work; Lucy Crowe … was so well complemented by Tim Mead’s rich and even counter-tenor….wonderfully balanced, with no sense of striving or competition, no over-emphasis on the emotion, but instead with beautifully shaped lines and brief but glorious moments of unison.”
Bachtrack, March 2015
Following this concert, Mead travels to the United States to sing the title role in the U.S. premiere of Handel Riccardo Primo (Richard the Lionheart) at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.
Gabrieli Consort & Players, Paul McCreesh & Intermusica soloists at Festival de Pâques
Intermusica tours the Gabrieli Consort & Players with conductor Paul McCreesh and soloists Tim Mead and David Stout to Festival de Pâques in Aix en Provence for a special Good Friday performance of Bach St Matthew Passion on 3 April.
Formed as an early music ensemble by Paul McCreesh in 1982, Gabrieli’s are world-renowned interpreters of great vocal and instrumental repertoire spanning from the renaissance to the present day and are acclaimed interpreters of Bach Passions.
Always performed in Paul McCreesh’s distinctive one-to-a-part formation, soloists on this occasion include Nicholas Mulroy as Evangelist, Mhairi Lawson, Tim Mead, Marcus Farnsworth. Helen Jane Howells, Helen Charlston, David Stout and Thomas Walker. The concert will be broadcast live on Radio Classique at 20:30 (CET time).
"A golden voice": Tim Mead praised for Akhnaten title role at Opera Vlaanderen
Tim Mead stars in a new production of Philip Glass Akhnaten at Opera Vlaanderen. With costumes designed by Walter Van Beirendonck, and sets and stage direction by Nigel Lowery, the production has received rave reviews. Mead, in particular, has been praised for his bold interpretation of the title role. Read the reviews below.
Akhnaten continues at Opera Vlaanderen in Ghent, with the final four performances on 4, 6, 8 and 10 March.
“… the excellent Tim Mead (who sings in baroque style) is exceptionally strong – that vocal range!”
Concert News, February 2015
“the counter-tenor who plays Akhnaten: Tim Mead. A very clever rendition, a man with a golden voice. Equipped with all the gestures, drama and expression… a menacing presence… is really the picture of the pharaoh. An absolute highlight.”
De Redactie, February 2015
“Countertenor Tim Mead took the title role. He did so with gusto. His key moment came in the fourth scene of the second act where he performed the hymn to the god Aton…original text of Akhenaten is the focal point of the whole history and the highlight of the opera. Mead did it justice.”
Opera Magazine, February 2015
“especially the Akhenaten of Tim Mead, who is a very worthy successor to Paul Esswood, the creator of the role in 1984, with a beautifully smooth voice”
Forum Opera, February 2015
“The British countertenor Tim Mead deserves special praise as Akhnaten ... 'Akhnaten' is visually and musically overwhelming.”
De Tijd, February 2015
"The Akhnaten of Tim Mead, a countertenor role (created by Paul Esswood), delighted”
Crescendo, February 2015
“The excellent ensemble of singers is dominated by Tim Mead as Akhnaten”
De Morgen, February 2015
“Akhnaten and Nefertiti come into the limelight: he (Tim Mead) strongly with a touch of sensuality…”
Trouw, February 2015
Tim Mead & Kai Rüütel star in Glass’s Akhnaten at Opera Vlaanderen
Tim Mead sings the title role in Philip Glass Akhnaten at Opera Vlaanderen in a production directed by Nigel Lowery, opening on 13 February. He is joined by Kai Rüütel, who sings the role of Nefertiti.
Mead recently performed a solo recital at Rome’s Accademia Filarmonica Romana and received critical acclaim for his performances of Handel Messiah in December, in which “his striking tone quality made big impact” (Classical Source). Later this year, he will make debuts with Opera Theater of St Louis, Opera de Lille and Bergen National Opera.
Kai Rüütel returns to Opera Vlaanderen after her “fierce” (Mundo Clasico) portrayal of Sonyetka in Calixto Bieito’s production of Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District in March of last year. Later this season she returns to Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, to revive the role of Meg Page in Falstaff and makes her recital debut in her native Estonia, together with Roger Vignoles. Further ahead she makes debuts with Teatro Real and Dallas Opera and returns for new productions at the Royal Opera House and Dutch National Opera.
Tim Mead performs a solo recital at Rome's Accademia Filarmonica Romana
“Electrifying” (Boston Classical Review, November 2014) counter-tenor Tim Mead makes his solo recital debut on 22 January in Rome. In a performance at the Accademia Filarmonica Romana, Mead will be joined by cellist Jonathan Manson and harpsichordist Laurence Cummings. The programme includes a variety of love songs by Purcell, Monteverdi, Dowland, Frescobaldi and Handel.
Following the recital, Mead will be performing the title role of Philip Glass Akhnaten at Opera Vlaanderen in Antwerp (opening on 13 February) and Ghent (opening on 4 March).
“The countertenor Tim Mead…dominates, the sound is forceful, confident, often thrilling – the presence attractive and engaging. The tone and timbre are immensely alluring. There is a precision that goes with the assurance. His coloratura was second to none.”
Seen and Heard International, February 2014
Tim Mead tours Handel’s Messiah with the Academy of Ancient Music around Europe
In December, Tim Mead tours Europe with the Academy of Ancient Music, singing Handel's Messiah in three cities. The tour also features soprano Ailish Tynan, tenor Robert Murray and baritone Jonathan Lemalu, as well as director and harpsichordist Richard Egarr. On 10 December, they will perform at London’s Barbican Centre, before travelling to Madrid for a further two performances at the Auditorio Nacional de Musica on 16 and 17 December. Following the concerts in Madrid, the tour will travel to Belgium for a final performance in Ghent on 19 December.
Mead has previously sung Messiah to great acclaim, praised for his “luminous voice, impeccable control and expressive phrasing” (New York Times, December 2012).
Tim Mead stars in Rinaldo at Glyndebourne Festival
Tim Mead returns to Glyndebourne Festival Opera to sing the role of Goffredo in a revival of Robert Carsen’s production of Rinaldo, opening on 9 August.
Mead, who previously sang the role of Eustazio in the same production at Glyndebourne in 2011, completes a quartet of counter-tenors in this production, which also includes Iestyn Davies in the title role, Anthony Roth Costanzo as Eustazio and James Laing as A Christian Magician. This revival will be directed by Bruno Ravella, with Ottavio Dantone conducting the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
Rinaldo will open at Glyndebourne on 9 August, with subsequent performances on 12, 14, 17, 19, 22 and 24 August.
Tim Mead sings Apollo in Opus Arte’s new release of Death in Venice
Tim Mead sings the role of Apollo in Deborah Warner’s production of Britten’s Death in Venice at English National Opera, which is released on DVD and Blu-ray on 3 March by Opus Arte. The production received rave reviews in the summer of 2013, with critics noting the “due radiance” (Financial Times, June 2013) and “honeyed allure” (Guardian, June 2013) of Mead’s Apollo.
Alongside Mead, John Graham-Hall sings the central role of Aschenbach and Andrew Shore appears in multiple roles. The production is conducted by Edward Gardner.
Forthcoming engagements for Mead this month include a recital with La Nuova Musica at St George’s Hannover Square as part of the London Handel Festival (12 March) and Monteverdi’s Madrigals with Arcangelo and Jonathan Cohen at the Wigmore Hall (18 March).
Watch the trailer for Death in Venice: