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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 repertoire within and outside the traditional confines of the countertenor voice-type. Since moving to the UK, he has appeared twice at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Innocent 4 in The Minotaur and the title role in Artaxerxes), at English National Opera (Helicon in Caligula), at the Wigmore Hall in the title role in a staged performance of Amadigi, at Glyndebourne (Ottone in l'Incoronazione di Poppea and Eustazio in Rinaldo), Opera de Lyon (Voice of Apollo in Death in Venice), Drottningholm Slottsteater (Ottone in l'Incoronazione di Poppea), Göttingen Handel Festival (title role in Tamerlano) and Central City Opera (title role in Amadigi). Other roles include the title role in Poro, Alessandro in Tolomeo (London Handel Festival (LHF)), Medoro in Orlando with Independent Opera, Arsace in Partenope in Les Azuriales Festival and the title role in Rinaldo (Latvia).
Studying with Mark Tucker, Ainslie is an exponent of the bel canto rather than English choral tradition, and his expressive, colourful and dramatic singing continually attracts critical acclaim. In 2011 he won the Gianni Bergamo countertenor competition in Switzerland. He was the first countertenor to win the Richard Tauber competition at the Wigmore Hall (2008) and won the Michael Oliver Prize in the 2007 Handel Singing Competition
Equally at home on the oratorio and recital stages, Ainslie's recent performances include a recital at the Wigmore Hall, Bach's Magnificat, also at the Wigmore Hall (Retrospect Ensemble), a recital with players from The English Concert, Handel's Messiah (LHF, Detroit Symphony Orchestra 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, Handel's Te Deum in D (B'Rock), the title role in Handel's Solomon (LHF), Belshazzar (Dresden), Saul (St John's, Smith Square), Judas Maccabeus (Vilnius), Jephtha, Theodora and Samson (Cape Town), Bach's Matthäus-Passion (LHF), Bach's Johannes-Passion (Cadogan Hall) and Vivaldi's Gloria (Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra).
This season brings Ainslie's debut in New York City in the title role of Cavalli's Eliogabalo, Antonio in the world premier of The Merchant of Venice, by Andre Tchaikowsky, in the Bregenz Festival and his debut in the role of Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream with Opera North.
While qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in Cape Town, Christopher studied singing part time with Sarita Stern at the University of Cape Town College of Music, and viola with Jürgen Schwietering and Hermina de Groote. Since moving to London he has had lessons with Mark Tucker, Paul Farrington, Ryland Davies and David Daniels and has sung in master classes with Michael Chance, Peter Harvey, Ashley Stafford and Sarah Walker.
He is grateful for the support of Independent Opera in the formative years of his career.
© Christopher Ainslie
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