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Thomas Allen

Thomas Allen (Sir)

(Born 10 September 1944)

Click here for recordings and performances by Thomas Allen.

Thomas Allen is an internationally renowned English operatic baritone.

He is widely admired in the opera world for his beautiful voice, his versatility in repertoire, and his prowess as an actor - leading many to regard him as one of the best lyric baritones of the late 20th Century.


In 1969, he made his debut as D'Obigny in Verdi's La Traviata with the Welsh National Opera. His early roles with the Welsh National Opera also included Mozart's Almaviva, Guglielmo and Papageno, Falke, Billy Budd, Posa, Eugene Onegin and Germont.

In 1971, he made his Covent Garden debut as Donald in Billy Budd.

His Glyndebourne Festival debut was as Papageno in 1973, and he returned in 1974 to play Figaro in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro then Guglielmo (1975) Don Giovanni (1977) and it was during this time that he was lauded by music critics as the finest English baritone since Sir Charles Santley.

In 1981 he made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Papageno.

He became a freelance singer in 1979 and sang the British premier of Busoni's Doktor Faust for the English National Opera in 1986 (a performance which was honoured in the 1986 Laurence Olivier Awards).

In '85 he made his debut at the Salzburg Festival as Ulisse in Monteverdi's Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria in 1985. Rossini's Figaro in The Barber of Seville was his Chicago debut in 1989.

Thomas Allen has performed Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, Don Alfonso, Ulisse and Don Giovanni at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Don Giovanni at La Scala, Yeletsky (in The Queen of Spades), Sharpless (in Madama Butterfly), and the title role in Sweeney Todd at the Royal Opera House, Eisenstein at the Glyndebourne Festival, Don Alfonso at the Salzburg Easter and Summer Festivals, Forester (The Cunning Little Vixen) at the San Francisco Opera and Beckmesser (in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg) at the Metropolitan.

He has recorded with conductors Sir Georg Solti, James Levine, Sir Neville Marriner, Bernard Haitink, Sir Simon Rattle, Wolfgang Sawallisch and Riccardo Muti.

In 1989, he was knighted for his services to opera.

Thomas Allen's first book, Foreign Parts - A Singer's Journal was published in 1993.

In 2002, he directed Britten's Albert Herring at the Royal College of Music.

Since then he has directed Mozart's Così Fan Tutte, Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro, The Barber of Seville in the UK and in 2006, he made his American directorial debut by directing The Marriage of Figaro for the Arizona Opera and Leonard Bernstein's Candide.

Thomas Allen has now performed at Covent Garden for over thirty-five years, and recently he played his fiftieth role with the Company.

It has been revealed he was the model for the now famous character of Billy Elliot which has since inspired a film and a stage musical.


Click here for recordings and performances by Thomas Allen.

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