The Kennedy Center

Christopher Ainslie


Christopher Ainslie started his singing career as a chorister in Cape Town, his home city. In 2005 he moved to London to study at the Royal College of Music, where he graduated with distinction.
Ainslie has rapidly established himself as a leading interpreter of the countertenor repertoire, and is also active in exploring repertoire not usually associated with the voice-type.  He has appeared twice at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Innocent 4 The Minotaur and the title role in Artaxerxes), at Glyndebourne (Ottone L'incoronazione di Poppea andEustazio Rinaldo), Opéra de Lyon (Voice of Apollo Death in Venice), Drottningholm (Ottone Poppea), Göttingen Handel Festival (the title role inTamerlano), Opera North (Oberon A Midsummer Night's Dream, Voice of Apollo Death in Venice, and Ottone Poppea), and Central City Opera (the title role in Amadigi).  Other roles include the title role in Poro, and AlessandroTolomeo at the London Handel Festival, Medoro Orlando with Independent Opera, Arsace Partenope at the Les Azuriales Festival, the title role inRinaldo in Latvia, and Unulfo Rodelinda, The Messenger Thebans, andHelicon in the UK premiere of Glanert's Caligula for English National Opera.
Equally at home on the oratorio and recital stages, Ainslie's recent performances include a recital at Wigmore Hall; Bach's Magnificat and Handel's Amadigi with the Retrospect Ensemble at Wigmore Hall; a recital with players from The English Concert, Handel's Messiah (London Handel Festival, Detroit Symphony and Philadelphia Orchestra); Bach's Weihnachts-Oratorium (Moscow Conservatory); Blow's Venus & Adonis (Les Arts Florissants and B'Rock); Purcell's Ode to St Cecilia and Handel's Te Deum in D (B'Rock); the title role in Handel's Solomon (London Handel Festival); Belshazzar (Dresden); Saul (St John's, Smith Square); Judas Maccabeus(Vilnius); JephthaTheodora, and Samson (Cape Town); Bach's Matthäus-Passion (London Handel Festival); Bach's Johannes-Passion (Cadogan Hall); and Vivaldi's Gloria (Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra).
Ainslie's recordings include the title role in Arne's Artaxerxes and Zephyrusin Mozart's Apollo et Hyacinthus, both with Linn Records and Classical Opera.
Ainslie is an exponent of the bel canto style rather than English choral tradition, and his expressive, colourful and dramatic singing continually attracts critical acclaim.  In 2011 Ainslie won the Gianni Bergamo Countertenor Competition in Switzerland; in 2008 he was the first countertenor to win the Richard Tauber Competition at Wigmore Hall, and in 2007 he was awarded the Michael Oliver Prize in the London Handel Festival Singing Competition.
Recent and future engagements include Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice for Opéra de Lyon and Opéra National de Lorraine, Ottone in Agrippina for the Göttingen Handel Festival, David in Saul for Glyndebourne, Bach's B Minor Mass with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Handel's Messiah with the Ulster Orchestra and with the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge, and Orff's Carmina Burana with the Choir and Orchestra of Radio France.
Christopher Ainslie