Toby Spence


A native of London, the tenor Toby Spence studied at New College, Oxford, where Edward Higginbottom was among his teachers, and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London with David Pollard. In 1995 he made his stage debut as Idamante in Mozart’s Idomeneo at the Welsh National Opera. Soon afterward he performed the same role at the Bavarian Staatsoper and was invited to the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels (Cavalli’s La Calisto under René Jacobs) and to the Mozartwoche in Salzburg, where he took part in a production of Mozart’s Mitridate under Roger Norrington that was seen the following summer at the Salzburg Festival. Spence has also regularly performed at London’s Royal Opera House, the Opéra National de Paris, the Theater an der Wien, and the Teatro Real Madrid. His repertoire ranges from Baroque opera through Gluck and the major Mozart roles to Berlioz, Stravinsky, and Britten. At the world premiere of Thomas Adès’ The Tempest he created the role of Ferdinand. In 2014 Spence performed the title role in Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito at the Vienna Staatsoper, sang in Britten’s War Requiem at the Edinburgh Festival and the BBC Proms, and appeared as Henry Morosus in Strauss’s Die schweigsame Frau at the Bavarian Staatsoper and as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. In 2015 he went on to perform this role at London’s Royal Opera House as well. Toby Spence has worked with such conductors as Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Marc Minkowski, Andris Nelsons, Sir Antonio Pappano, Kirill Petrenko, and Sir Simon Rattle. In 2012, with his brother Magnus Spence, he founded a festival devoted to lieder in Wardsbrook. In the same year he received the Royal Philharmonic Society Award in the category “Singer of the Year.”

LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 27 March 1999 singing Mozart’s Litany K. 125 and the Requiem with the Academy of Ancient Music under Paul Goodwin.

August 2015