Michael Chance CBE

Counter Tenor


Helen Hogh
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Fiona Wells
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Groves Artists represents Michael Chance CBE worldwide


Michael Chance established a worldwide reputation as one of the foremost exponents of the male alto voice in all areas of the classical repertoire  where he was in equal demand as an opera, concert and recording artist.

His vocal training with Rupert Bruce Lockhart followed and English degree at King’s College, Cambridge where he was also a choral scholar.   His first operatic appearance was at the Buxton Festival in Cavalli’s Giasone which was followed by appearances in Lyon, Cologne and three seasons at Kent Opera.   Subsequently he has performed at the Sydney Opera House, Teatro Colon Buenos Aires, La Scala Milan, Florence, New York, Lisbon, Oviedo, Leipzig, Paris, Brussels, Munich, Amsterdam, Covent Garden, Glyndebourne and English National Opera.

Roles have included the title roles of Orfeo (Gluck), Giasone, Giustino, Rinaldo, Solomon, Ascanio in Alba as well as Ottone / L’incoronazione di Poppea, Athamas / Semele, Andronico / Tamerlano, Oberon / A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Tolomeo / Giulio Cesare, Bertarido / Rodelinda and Apollo / Death in Venice.   He had roles written for him by Sir Harrison Birtwistle (Orpheus / The Second Mrs Kong) and Judith Weir (A Military Governor / A night at the Chinese Opera).

He has also performed at many of the world’s leading festivals including appearances at the Edinburgh, Aix-en-Provence, BBC Proms and Salzburg Festivals.

His appearances in oratorio have taken him to concert halls all over the world including Carnegie Hall, Concertgebouw, Musikverein, Neue Gewandhaus, Berlin’s Philharmonie with orchestras and ensembles including the New York Philharmonic, Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra, Academy of Ancient Music, Orchestra of the 18th Century, Tonhalle Orchester and Berlin Philharmonic.   He has given recitals in Frankfurt, Vienna, Amsterdam, Israel, New York and at London’s Wigmore Hall with a variety of programmes, ranging from Elizabethan lute songs to new works, with many world premieres commissioned especially for him including works by Bennett, Goehr, Tavener, Costello, Barber, Cowdrey and Beamish.

He has recorded extensively, receiving a Grammy award for his participation in Handel’s Semele for Deutsche Grammophon and many recordings with Sir John Eliot Gardiner including the Bach Passions and Cantatas, B minor mass, Monterverdi’s Orfeo and L’incoronazione di Poppea,  Handel’s Jeptha, Tamerlano and Agrippina.    His recording “Michael Chance, the Art of Counter-tenor” for Deutsche Grammophon received much critical acclaim.   His television appearances include A Night at the Chinese Opera, Death in Venice, The Fairy Queen, the three Monteverdi operas with the Netherlands Opera, Messiah in Dublin with Sir Neville Marriner and in Autumn 1999 he was featured on the South Bank Show.

A professor at the Royal Academy of Music Michael regularly leads masterclasses around the world and teaches regularly at the Royal Conservatoire in the Hague.

Michael Chance is Artistic Director of The Grange Festival which launched to great critical acclaim in   summer 2017 and continues to flourish.  He was awarded the CBE in the 2009 New Years Honours List.

This biography is for website use only. For a full and updated biography, please email [email protected]


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  • Michael Chance was flying again on gilded wings over the alto arias.

    Culture The Times
  • Halle Orchestra, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

    How Chance’s vocal expressiveness combines to give and impression of both intimacy and ethereal ‘distance’ isn’t easily explained.  But from the spectral ‘Full fathom five’ to the merry ballad ‘Get you hence’, he captured the mood of each song vividly.

    Lynne Walker The Independent