© Andrew Raszevski

Christopher Tonkin


Management: Australasia


The Nixon Tapes, Vivid Live, Sydney Opera House
“…baritone Christopher Tonkin’s lighter and more shaded voice was ideally suited to the eloquent yet enigmatic Zhou Enlai”.
Murray Black, The Australian,  June 7, 2017

Trouble in Tahiti, Lost and Found Opera
“…Sam and Dinah were magnificently cast. Tonkin’s creamy baritone and sweet falsetto were a treat to listen to in close proximity while his chiselled features and contemptuous body language gave an extra arrogance to There’s a Law“.
Rosalind Appleby, Limelight Magazine, May 2017

Nixon in China, Victorian Opera Her Majesty’s Theatre May 2013
“The philosophical quietude of Chou En-lai was captured well by Christopher Tonkin…”
Michael Shmith, The Saturday Age May 2013 

"... a delicately nuanced performance... surely it will not be too long before we see this fine performer singing this role on international stages."
Bevan Leviston, ArtsHub, May 22, 2013

Capriccio, Opera Australia
"Of no less importance was the rest of the superb and carefully handpicked cast. Christopher Tonkin, a young baritone who has sung very few roles with the national company was simply superb as the Countess’ brother. A tall and striking man with a substantial voice with honeyed tone, he illuminated the character of the Count easily, making merry with his foibles for women, insensitivity to the arts and his high opinion of himself, as a none-the-less amateur actor. He showed considerable comic flair. Mr Tonkin was equally as striking as one of the Ministers in Ligeti’s GRAND MACABRE in Adelaide last year. Please let's see a lot more of Mr Tonkin in future!"
Opera Insider, July 10, 2011

 Capriccio, Opera Australia
"Christopher Tonkin, as the sandwich-short-of-a-sophisticated spread Count, is the very epitome of self-indulgent ignorance. Here, but for savvy, is the Hugh Hefner of French flapperdom."
Lloyd Bradford Syke, Crikey, July 5, 2011

The Elixir of Love, Victorian Opera
“Tonkin, however, as Sergeant Belcore was the stand-out performer, portraying his character’s charismatic, gum-chewing arrogance vividly, reflected equally in his brilliant bass voice.”
Olympia Bowman-Derrick, Australian Stage Online, August 17, 2008

Iolanta, Royal Academy Opera
“Christopher Tonkin revealed a gloriously rich baritone”
Richard Fawkes, Opera Now, November 2007

Le Nozze di Figaro, Royal Academy Opera
“The Count, as sung by Christopher Tonkin, can rarely have been played with such handsome arrogance.”
Michael Tanner, The Spectator, November 21, 2007

The Messiah, Chichester Singers
“Particularly impressive was the young Australian bass Christopher Tonkin who sang with dramatic authority. In the recitative, Darkness Shall Cover the Earth, he produced a haunting and dramatic atmosphere.”
Graham Hewitt, Chichester Observer, December 12, 2007

Australian baritone Christopher Tonkin has developed a reputation as one of Australia's most successful young exports. Praised for his "sweet" (Opera Magazine), "gloriously rich baritone" (Opera Now) and "dramatic authority" (Chichester Observer), alongside his intensive characterisation and striking physicality, he is regularly engaged in principal roles in opera houses and concert halls in Europe, as well as his native Australia.

In the 2017/18 season, Christopher continues his association with the national company, returning to Opera Australia in the role of Marcello in La bohème for for Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour and in Melbourne. He sings Sharpless in Madama Butterfly in concert for the City of Stonnington, Haydn's Nelson Mass with Victoria Chorale and also makes his debut for Queensland Symphony Orchestra with Handel's Messiah.

Christopher has worked throughout the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia. Credits include Marcello (La bohème), Silvio (Pagliacci), Il Conte Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Guglielmo (Così fan tutte), Pollux (Castor et Pollux), Anténor (Dardanus), Robert (Iolanta), Ping (Turandot), Albert (Werther), Valentin (Faust), Tarquinius (Rape of Lucretia), Demetrius (A Midsummer Night's Dream), Harlekin (Ariadne auf Naxos) and Hans (Der Traumgörge). On the concert stage, Tonkin recently debuted with the acclaimed Lucerne Festival with conductor Howard Arman in Der Tod Jesu (Graun). 

A regular performer with Australia's premiere opera companies and symphony orchestras, in recent years he has performed the roles of Marcello (La bohème), the Count (Capriccio) and Novice’s Friend (Billy Budd) for Opera Australia, the Black Minister in La Fura dels Baus' internationally renowned production of Le Grand Macabre (Adelaide Festival) and for Victorian Opera, Guglielmo (Così fan tutte), Belcore (L'elisir d'amore), for which he received a Green Room Award nomination, Chou En-Lai in the 2013 award-winning production of Nixon in China, and on the concert platform most notably Handel's Messiah and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony for Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.  

Christopher grew up in Geelong, Australia, before moving to Melbourne, where he completed a Bachelor of Music Performance at the Victorian College of the Arts under the tutelage of renowned English tenor Gerald English and Anna Connolly. While there, he won several awards and scholarships, sang in masterclasses with Sir Donald McIntyre and Richard Bonynge, and performed with the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic, the Melbourne Chorale and Opera Australia’s touring school’s company, OzOpera, as well as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Conductors Christopher has worked with include Sir Colin Davis, Richard Hickox, Anthony Legge, Steuart Bedford, Markus Stenz, Ivan Repušić, Laurence Cummings, Howard Arman, Karen Kamensek and Oleg Caetani, as well as directors John Cox, John Copley, La Fura dels Baus, Neil Armfield, Benedikt von Peters, and Roger Hodgson.  

A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, Christopher also studied at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne.

Christopher Tonkin is managed by Graham Pushee: graham@artsmanagement.com.au
February 2018
  This biography is for general information purposes only and not for publication.
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