Opera For Beginners

Artist Profile: Alastair Miles, ‘The Finest British Bass of His Generation’

British bass Alastair Miles, born on July 11, 1961, is one of UK’s great artists, with The Guardian calling him the “finest British bass of his generation.”

He actually got his career started as a flute player and a music teacher before embarking on a vocal career. In the early 1980s, he sang as a Lay Clerk in the Choir of St. Albans Cathedral and started taking lessons with Bruce Boyce, who pointed him toward a career in opera.

His career took off after he received the 1986 Decca-Kathleen Ferrier Award and the 1987 John Christie Award. He also took home the Gramophone magazine’s Best Choral Award in 1993 for his work in Mendelssohn’s “Elijah.”

He has performed at all the major houses in the world including the Metropolitan Opera, The Netherlands Opera, the San Francisco Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and the Deutsche Oper Berlin, among others.

He has over 80 recordings and his collaboration with Opera Rara has helped bring many neglected works of the Italian and French repertoire to the forefront.

Major Roles

Miles has built a career that specializes in Italian opera. He has sung his fair share of Donizetti works and even operas by Rossini, but many turn to him as a Verdi bass. He has made a career out of all the major Verdi roles in the repertoire, with Filippo II perhaps his most lauded. He has performed the role in Vienna, Opera North, the Deutsche Oper Berlin.

Watch and Listen
Here he is in “Don Carlos.”

And here he is in Mozart’s Requiem.

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