Iestyn Davies

Iestyn Davies, MBE (born 16 September 1979) is a British classical countertenor.

Iestyn Davies
Born (1979-09-16) 16 September 1979 (age 41)
Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
Occupation(s)chorister, singer

Education and backgroundEdit

Davies was born in York, England and first studied piano and recorder, mentored in his early years by his father Ioan.[1] From the age of eight he sang as a boy treble in the choir of St John's College, Cambridge. He began singing countertenor in his teens, at Wells Cathedral School. He returned to St John's as a choral scholar, graduating in archaeology and anthropology. He gained his DipRAM from, and was later appointed ARAM by, the Royal Academy of Music.[2] In 2004 he won the Audience Prize at the London Handel Singing Competition[3] and in 2010 was named "Young Artist of the Year" by the Royal Philharmonic Society.[4]

Davies' father Ioan was a long-standing cellist with the Fitzwilliam Quartet and a member of St. John's College.[5]


Davies's opera career to date has included[6] the role of Ottone in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea for both Zürich Opera [7] and Glyndebourne Festival Opera,[8] and in Handel's Partenope he has sung Arsace for New York City Opera [9] and Armindo for English National Opera.[10] He has sung Oberon in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream for Houston Grand Opera,[11] Apollo in Britten's Death in Venice for English National Opera[12] and Hamor in Handel's Jephtha for both Welsh National Opera[13] and Opéra National de Bordeaux. In 2010 he sang Creonte in Agostino Steffani's Niobe at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. In 2011, he sang the part of Unulfo in Handel's Rodelinda at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He returned to the Met in 2020 in another Handel opera, Agrippina, in which he sang the role of Ottone.[14]

He has appeared in concert at Teatro alla Scala with Gustavo Dudamel,[6] at the Concertgebouw and the Tonhalle with Ton Koopman, at the Barbican, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and Lincoln Center, and at the Royal Albert Hall in the BBC Proms.[15] He has worked with many leading orchestras including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Academy of Ancient Music, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Hallé Orchestra, the King's Consort, Northern Sinfonia, the English Concert, the Akademie für Alte Musik, Berlin, Retrospect Ensemble, the Parley of Instruments, Il Complesso Barocco, the Gabrieli Consort and Players, the Minnesota Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Concerto Köln, Concerto Copenhagen, Ensemble Matheus, Fretwork and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

Leading interpreters with whom Davies has collaborated include[6] conductors Rinaldo Alessandrini, Philippe Bender, Harry Bicket, Ivor Bolton, Frans Brüggen, Harry Christophers, Stephen Cleobury, Laurence Cummings, Christian Curnyn, Alan Curtis, Steven Devine, Richard Egarr, John Eliot Gardiner, Edward Gardner, Jane Glover, Paul Goodwin, Emmanuelle Haïm, Matthew Halls, Nikolas Harnoncourt, Edward Higginbottom, David Hill, Benedict Hoffnung, Christopher Hogwood, Peter Holman, Robert King, Nicholas Kraemer, Stephen Layton, Iain Leddingham, Charles Mackerras, Paul McCreesh, Kenneth Montgomery, Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Kent Nagano, Donald Nally, James O'Donnell, Enrico Onofri, Daniel Reuss, Jeffrey Skidmore, Jean-Christophe Spinosi, Charles Stewart, Patrick Summers, Elizabeth Wallfisch, Alison Balsom and Dominic Wheeler, and recitalists Julius Drake, Mark Padmore, Philip Langridge and Roger Vignoles.

Davies was the guest soloist in Leonard Bernstein's 'Chichester Psalms' at the Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in September 2013.

He sang his first full operatic performance for La Scala in Death in Venice. In London, he sang the role of Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream at English National Opera.

Beginning in December 2017, he performed the singing voice of Farinelli in Farinelli and the King at the Belasco Theatre on Broadway. The production ran for 16 weeks and featured Mark Rylance as King Philippe V of Spain. Davies is reprising the role he played at Shakespeare's Globe and in London's West End.[16]


Davies was made a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in 2012.[citation needed]

He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to music.[17][18]


Davies has an extensive and growing discography including a Wigmore Live CD (2010) of a 2009 recital with his own Ensemble Guadagni and three recordings as a treble chorister.[19]



  1. ^ Robert Cummings (2013). "Iestyn Davies – biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  2. ^ "Iestyn Davies". Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  3. ^ "London Handel Society website". Archived from the original on 28 March 2010.
  4. ^ "RPS Awards 2010 website". Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  5. ^ "News | Christ Church, Oxford University". Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  6. ^ a b c "Public domain record of artist's previous engagements". Archived from the original on 5 December 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  7. ^ "Zurich Opera page on Iestyn Davies". Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  8. ^ "London Evening Standard review by Barry Millington". Archived from the original on 5 May 2013.
  9. ^ "Wall Street Journal review by Heidi Waleson". The Wall Street Journal. 21 April 2010.
  10. ^ "Observer review by Anthony Holden". The Guardian. London. 12 October 2008.
  11. ^ " - The Classical Music Network". Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  12. ^ "Sunday Times review by Hugh Canning". The Times. London. 3 June 2007.
  13. ^ "Guardian review by Rian Evans". The Guardian. London. 7 March 2006.
  14. ^ "Metropolitan Opera Association". Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  15. ^ "Guardian review by Guy Dammann". The Guardian. London. 18 August 2008.
  16. ^ "Farinelli and the King Broadway @ Belasco Theatre - Tickets and Discounts". Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  17. ^ "No. 61803". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2016. p. N17.
  18. ^ "Opera singer Bryn Terfel given a knighthood, Dame Evelyn Glennie made a Companion of Honour and Iestyn Davies given an MBE in the New Year's Honours 2017". Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  19. ^ "Recordings". Retrieved 1 July 2020.

External linksEdit