If the aria is the soul of opera, then Christopher Tonkin’s voice reaches deep into the heart. A triple-threat blend of superlative vocal talent, dramatic prowess and intense charisma has catapulted him to the heights of operatic success. From the neo-classical opulence of Staatstheater Hannover to the iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House, Christopher has commanded the world’s premier stages.
As an accomplished baritone, Christopher’s impassioned performances in acclaimed productions across Australia, UK, Europe and Asia have delighted audiences for almost two decades. Born and bred in regional Victoria in Australia, his grounded upbringing can be credited for building an ambitious character free of pretence and imbued with fervour. Whether it’s La Bohème’s Marcello, Pagliacci’s Silvio or Capriccio’s The Count, Christopher’s impressive ability to embody each persona is equally matched by his gloriously rich voice.
Early recognition of his talents came in the form of numerous awards and scholarships, while his studies under the tutelage of the esteemed Gerald English and Raymond Connell formed the foundations of a promising future. Honing his craft at the prestigious opera studio at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Christopher’s shining moment as The Count in Le nozze di Figaro offered him the opportunity to work with director John Copley and conductor Sir Colin Davis. Returning to Australia for the role of Black Minister in the La Fura dels Baus production of the ground-breaking and multi-award winning Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre, Christopher’s next major milestone would be a 6 year residency in Germany at Staatsoper Hannover.
Engaged as a principal baritone with Staatsoper, Christopher brought a luminous presence to every performance, brimming with brilliance as Silvio in Pagliacci alongside world famous tenor José Cura. During this period Christopher also shared the stage with opera greats across the globe, performing with Cheryl Barker, Michael Lewis, Conal Coad and Nicole Car at the Sydney Opera House in the role of The Count in Strauss’ Capriccio directed by opera royalty John Cox.
With his career continuing to bloom, Christopher won the iconic role of Chou En-lai in Victorian Opera’s highly awarded production of John Adams’ Nixon in China, and became Bass soloist for the prestigious Lucern Festival in Graun’s Der Tod Jesu with baroque specialist Howard Arman conducting. Returning to Opera Australia, Christopher reprised his role as Marcello in Gale Edwards’ production of La Bohème, reaffirming his reputation as one of Australia’s brightest exports and a formidable force in the operatic world.