Iestyn Davies MBE (19 November)

The success of last season’s appearance by the countertenor James Bowman has encouraged us to invite another great practitioner of the art!

One of the stars of the younger generation of countertenors, Iestyn Davies was born in York, studying piano and recorder and being mentored by his father Ioan (for many years cellist of the Fitzwilliam String Quartet). From the age of eight he sang as a treble in the choir of St John’s College Cambridge before beginning to sing countertenor at Wells Cathedral School. He returned to St John’s as a choral scholar, graduating in archaeology and anthropology.

In 2004 he won the Audience Prize at the London Handel Singing Competition and in 2010 was named ‘Young Artist of the Year’ by the Royal Philharmonic Society. Since then he has occupied the ranks of today’s top countertenors on stage and in the opera house. His many roles include that of Ottone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea at Zürich and Glyndebourne, Oberon in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the voice of Apollo in the same composer’s Death in Venice. Conductors with whom he has worked include Gustavo Dudamel, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Ton Koopman and Sir Charles Mackerras.

He is an ardent supporter of Liverpool FC, an enthusiast for historic buildings and churches, an ambassador for the Landmark Trust, and his Alan Bennett impressions have gained admiration from none other than Dame Maggie Smith and Sir Nicholas Hytner, in whose production of Farinelli and the King he sang the title role on Broadway in 2017.

Our vice-president Martin Neary will act as benevolent interrogator this evening.

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