Hailed by the Daily Telegraph as ‘a voice of real distinction,’ Nicky Spence is 'one of our brightest young tenors.’
Scottish-born Nicky Spence trained at the GSMD and the National Opera studio. An artist of great integrity, Nicky’s unique skills as a singing actor, and the rare honesty of his musicianship, have earned him a place at the top of the profession. In 2022, Nicky was awarded the BBC Music Magazine Personality of the Year award.
The 2022/23 season sees him make his debut as Albert Gregor in Věc Makropulos for the Deutsche Staatsoper, and for the Welsh National Opera, and sing the title role in The Nose at La Monnaie. On the concert platform, he sings Janáček’s The Eternal Gospel with Jakub Hrůša for the Orchestra e Coro dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. As a recitalist, he returns to the Wigmore Hall and makes his debut at the Brno Festival.
Recent highlights include Laca in Claus Guth’s new production of Jenůfa for the Royal Opera, Siegmund in Richard Jones’ new production of The Valkyrie for the English National Opera, Tichon in Damiano Michieletto’s new production of Káťa Kabanová at the Glyndebourne Festival and Erik Der fliegende Holländer for Grange Park Opera. Future seasons see him return to The Metropolitan Opera, Opéra national de Paris and the Glyndebourne Festival.
Particularly noted as an exponent of Janáček's music, Nicky gave a series of recital performances of Janacek's The Diary of One who Disappeared to mark its centenary, and his recording of the work with Julius Drake for Hyperion won both Gamophone Magazine's Solo Vocal Award and the BBC Music Magazine's Vocal Award. Notably, he has appeared in Jenůfa at La Monnaie and for the English National Opera; in Káťa Kabanová for the Glyndebourne Festival, Seattle Opera and Opera Holland Park; in Věc Makropulos for Oper Frankfurt and in From the House of the Dead for the Royal Opera, the Opéra national de Lyon and La Monnaie.
Nicky’s concert repertoire ranges from the Baroque to contemporary works, with recent appearances including Handel’s Brockes-Passion (Academy of Ancient Music/Richard Egarr); Bach’s Mass in B Minor (Royal Northern Sinfonia/Paul McCreesh); Bruckner’s Te Deum (Orchestra of La Monnaie/Hartmut Haenchen & Atlanta Symphony/Donald Runnicles); Steuermann Der Fliegender Holländer (CBSO/Andris Nelsons); Dvorak’s Saint Ludmila, Mime Das Rheingold and the title role in Wagner’s Parsifal (Hallé Orchestra/Sir Mark Elder); Britten’s Les Illuminations (Stavanger Symphony Orchestra/Yan Pascal Tortelier), War Requiem (Konzerthausorchester Berlin/Murray Hipkin) and Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings (L’Orchestre Nationale d’Ile de France/Gordan Nikolic); Finzi’s Dies Natalis (BBC Concert Orchestra/David Hill) and Tippet’s A Child of Our Time (Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra/Eckehard Stier).
In demand on the recital platform, Nicky sings regularly with the Myrthen ensemble and enjoys collaboration with leading artists such as Malcolm Martineau, Julius Drake, Roger Vignoles, Graham Johnson, Sholto Kynoch, Iain Burnside, Simon Lepper and Joseph Middleton. His recital life brings him regularly to venues such as London’s Wigmore Hall, Kings Place and Purcell Room; Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw; the Tonhalle, Zürich and the Edinburgh and Oxford Lieder Festivals.
Nicky has recorded prolifically and his discography includes Janacek’s The Diary of one who Disappeared with Julius Drake and Strauss Lieder with Roger Vignoles (Hyperion), Brahms’ Liebeslieder-Walzer with Joseph Middleton and Dylan Perez (Resonus Classics), the title role in La clemenza di Tito (Alpha), Handel’s Brockes-Passion with the Academy of Ancient Music/Richard Egarr (AAM Records) and works by Britten, Jonathan Dove, Pavel Haas, Alun Hoddinott, Buxton Orr, Schumann, Wagner, Wolf, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Vaughan Williams.
Nicky is also a keen charity worker which encompasses his position as patron for both Blackheath Halls in London and Scottish Opera's Young Company, as an ambassador for Help Musicians UK, and proud president of Dumfries’s own Musical Theatre Company. In 2019, Nicky joined the board of the Incorporated Society of Musicians.