Originally from Northumberland, British tenor Alex Banfield is familiar with the opera, concert and oratorio platforms, having performed with the Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestra of Opera North. In 2020 he performed the principal role of Sam Kaplan in Kurt Weill’s Street Scene for Opera North and was due to perform Henrik in A Little Night Music, which was cancelled. In 2020/21 he was a young artist at Theater Basel’s OperAvenir and sang Tamino & Armed Man Die Zauberflöte, Eumete Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, Rinuccio Gianni Schicchi and Ernesto Don Pasquale and in 2022 covered Oronte Alcina for Opera North.
Alex’s operatic credits for Opera North also include Jonathan Dale in their UK premiere of Silent Night, directed by Tim Albery, a Pulitzer Prize-winning opera by American composer Kevin Puts; Hrazda Osud (Janacek), Nikolio Greek Passion (Martinů) directed by Christopher Alden, and Raoul de St Brioche The Merry Widow. He performed Lysander A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) and Peter Quint The Turn of The Screw with the Manchester Opera Ensemble. Alex sang Le théière & La rainette L’enfant et les sortilèges and the title role in Albert Herring for the Samling Academy where “one could readily see a massive future for him in the opera world” (The Yorkshire Post). As a soloist with the Orchestra of Opera North Alex performed Rodolfo in Act 2 of La bohème, The Prince of Persia Turandot and Slave & Second Nazerine Salome, both conducted by Sir Richard Armstrong, for their critically acclaimed concert performance series. As part of Opera North’s Whistle Stop Opera tour he performed Nemorino The Elixir of Love.
Alex’s oratorio highlights include the Requiem in C Major (Michael Haydn) in Bilbao, Spain, Fantasia in C Minor (Beethoven) for the Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra, Messiah (Handel) for the Royal Northern Sinfonia at the Sage Gateshead, Coronation Mass (Mozart) at Snape Maltings, Israel in Egypt (Handel) at Chester Cathedral with The Liverpool Sinfonia, and Crucifixion (Stainer) for Newcastle Cathedral. Alex’s extensive oratorio repertoire also includes Ham in Noye’s Fludde (Britten), L’enfance du Christ (Berlioz), Dixit Dominus (Handel), Creation & Nelson Mass (Haydn), Hymn of Praise (Mendelssohn), Requiem, Great Mass in C Minor & Missa Brevis (Mozart), Mass in G (Schubert), and Belshazzar’s Feast (Walton).
As a sought-after Bach performer, Alex performed regularly with the Liverpool Bach Collective as a specialist in the Cantata repertoire. He sang Bach’s Mass in B Minor and St. Matthew Passion for Durham Cathedral, St. John Passion for Manchester Cathedral, and Cantata 131 Aus Der Tiefen for Newcastle Cathedral. During the RNCM Bach Festival, Alex was a soloist in G. C. Bach’s Siehe, wie fein und lieblich ist. He also sang Magnificat for the Kidderminster Choral Society, and Christmas Oratorio for Northumberland Choral Society.
Live on BBC Radio 4, Alex performed multiple times as a soloist for the Daily Service and for a live broadcast of Bob Chilcott’s Jazz Mass at St Martin-in-the-Fields. He also performed for the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra live on BBC Radio 1 with Clean Bandit and live on BBC Radio 2 with Boy George. He sang in the Serenade to Music with Malcolm Martineau and in the Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with the Amaretti Consort. He has performed as a recitalist in Cathedrals across the UK such as Durham, Manchester and Newcastle and last year Alex performed for the Friends of Opera North. Last summer he performed in recital in Northumberland, raising over £800 for the charity Henry Dancer Days.
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YouTube playlist includes:
- Lonely House, Street Scene, Weill (recorded 2020)
- Se di lauri il crine adorno, Mitridate, re di Ponto, Mozart (recorded 2020)
- Je crois entendre encore, Les pêcheurs de perles, Bizet (recorded 2020)
- Prologue, The Turn of the Screw, Britten (recorded 2019)
“There’s not a weak link anywhere…Alex Banfield…sings Lonely House with wonderful depth of feeling”The Guardian
“Alex Banfield’s trim, focused tenor is perfect both for the teenage melancholy of the nebbish Sam Kaplan, and his flare-ups of romantic idealism.”The Spectator
“Standouts among the almost entirely male cast include Alex Banfield as embittered Scottish soldier Jonathan Dale, determined to have revenge on the Germans for the death of his gung-ho brother.”Financial Times
“I found the drama fresh and engaging, the characters drawn with psychological acuteness… facilitating a clutch of excellent performances. Newcomer Alex Banfield is a Scots soldier driven mad with grief by the death of his brother.”The Telegraph