York Opera’s Patron


Sir Thomas Allen is an established star of the great opera houses of the world. At the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, where in 2006 he celebrated the thirty-fifth anniversary of his debut with the company, he has sung over forty roles. In 2006, he also celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of his debut at the Metropolitan Opera, New York.

He has been particularly acclaimed for his Billy Budd, Pelléas, Eugene Onegin, Ulisse and Beckmesser, as well as the great Mozart roles of Count Almaviva, Don Alfonso, Papageno, Guglielmo and, of course, Don Giovanni. His recent engagements have included Eisenstein (Die Fledermaus), Don Alfonso, Ulisse and Don Giovanni at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Yeletsky (Pique Dame) Sharpless (Madama Butterfly) and the title role in Sweeney Todd at the Royal Opera House, Eisenstein at the Glyndebourne Festival, Don Alfonso at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and at the Salzburg Easter and Summer Festivals, Forester (The Cunning Little Vixen) at the San Francisco Opera and Beckmesser (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Don Alfonso and Music Master (Ariadne auf Naxos) at the Metropolitan Opera, New York.

On 27th January 2012, Allen marked his 40th anniversary at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, singing the role of Don Alfonso in Cosî fan tutte.

Equally renowned on the concert platform, he appears in recital in the United Kingdom, throughout Europe, in Australia and America, and has appeared with the world's great orchestras and conductors. The greatest part of his repertoire has been extensively recorded with such distinguished names as Solti, Levine, Marriner, Haitink, Rattle, Sawallisch and Muti.

He made a triumphant directing debut in 2003 with Albert Herring at the Royal College of Music and he has recently directed tremendously successful productions of Don Giovanni and Cosî fan tutte at the Sage, Gateshead. He made an equally acclaimed U.S. directing debut with Le nozze di Figaro for Arizona Opera in 2006 and, in 2007, directed Il barbiere di Siviglia for Scottish Opera.

His many honours include the title of Bayerischer Kammersänger awarded by the Bayerische Staatsoper, Honorary Membership of the Royal Academy of Music, Prince Consort Professor of the Royal College of Music, the Hambro Visiting Professorship of Opera Studies at Oxford University, Fellowship of the Royal College of Music, Fellowship of the University of Sunderland, M.A. from Newcastle University and D.Mus. from Durham University and the University of Birmingham. In the New Year's Honours of 1989 he was created a Commander of the British Empire and in the 1999 Queen's Birthday Honours he was made a Knight Bachelor. On 11th October 2011 he was appointed Chancellor of Durham University by the University's Convocation, to serve from 1st January 2012.

Thomas Allen's first book, Foreign Parts - A Singer's Journal was published in 1993. His film credits include Mrs Henderson Presents and The Real Don Giovanni.