“A Rockstar of Baroque Opera” (New York Times) South African Christopher Ainslie is a leading presence in the countertenor world. Based in Germany, he is active around the globe on opera, concert, recital, and recording stages, and in repertoire spanning the eras, from early baroque to contemporary.
He has sung Brahms and Dowland in recitals at Wigmore Hall, Bach at Carnegie Hall, and operas at the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne, Teatro Real, Opera de Lyon, and so on, around the world
Ainslie is active in sport, and practices yoga and meditation, and brings an exciting combination of athleticism and stillness to his stagecraft.
REPERTOIRE IN A NUTSHELL
Ainslie is an alto countertenor, and most of the core repertoire of the voice type fits him perfectly. Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Matthäus Passion, Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Orfeo in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Handel’s Cesare, Ottone in L’incoronazione di Poppea: these fit like a glove and are regulars in Ainslie’s performance schedule.
Ainslie’s future engagements include Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Malmö Opera, Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice for Seattle Opera, Disinganno in Il Trionfo with Les Passions de l’Ame, and Bach’s Matthäus Passion with the Netherlands Bach Society.
Highlights of Ainslie’s opera performances in recent years include David in Saul at Glyndebourne and Théatre du Châtelet, Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at English National Opera, and Opera North, Orfeo in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice at Opéra de Lyon, Opéra National de Lorraine, and Opera de Massy, Prince Go-Go in Le Grand Macabre at Semperoper Dresden, Unulfo in Rodelinda at ENO and at Teatro Real and Opéra de Lyon, Ottone in Agrippina at the Göttingen Handel Festival and The Grange Festival, Cyrus in Belshazzar, also at The Grange Festival, and Ottone in L’incoronazione di Poppea at Glyndebourne, Opera North, and Drottningholm Palace Theatre.
Ainslie sang the world premiers of Antonio in The Merchant of Venice at the Bregenz Festival, Theseus/Messenger in Thebans at ENO, and Innocent 4 in The Minotaur at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
He has also sung the title roles in Handel’s Amadigi at Central City Opera and the Wigmore Hall, Tamerlano at the Göttingen Handel Festival, Poro in the London Handel Festival, and Giulio Cesare with English Touring Opera, Arne’s Artaxerxes at the Royal Opera House, Eustazio in Rinaldo at Glyndebourne, the Voice of Apollo in Death in Venice at Opéra de Lyon and Opera North, and Helicon in Caligula at ENO.
Ainslie has recorded the title role in Arne’s Artaxerxes, and Zephyrus in Mozart’s Apollo et Hyacinthus, both with Linn Records and Classical Opera.
On the concert platform, highlights include 43 performances of Handel’s Messiah with 20 orchestras around the world, including the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kenny Centre, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the London Handel Players, Classical Opera at the Wigmore Hall, Philharmonia Baroque; the World Premier of MacMillan’s A European Requiem at the Oregon Bach Festival, where he also sang Bach’s B Minor Mass, Bach’s Weihnachtsoratorium with Les Musiciens du Louvre and in the Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, Matthäus Passion in the London Handel Festival, where he also sang the Handel roles of Solomon, and Hercules.