Alastair Miles

Alastair Miles


• Born 1961


Alastair Miles is a British bass who has specialized in music by Verdi and in bel canto repertory of the first half of the 19th century. London's Guardian has called him "the finest British bass of his generation."

Miles was born in Harrow, England, on July 11, 1961. He did not study music at all as a child, and when he did begin, at 14, it was on the flute, for which his instructor was Nadia Boulanger student Albert Alan Owen. Miles studied the flute at the Guildhall School of Music in London and spent several years as an orchestral flutist, also teaching at several prestigious British schools. Past 30, however, he became more and more interested in singing. Miles got his start in the field as a lay clerk -- a professional adult choral singer in an English cathedral choir -- at St. Albans Cathedral from 1982 to 1985. He had already taken voice classes at the Guildhall, and his parents' neighbor, baritone Geoffrey Chard, suggested that he pursue singing seriously. After making his operatic debut in 1985, Miles won the major Decca Kathleen Ferrier Prize at London's Wigmore Hall the following year. Other prizes cemented his growing reputation and brought him roles at top houses including New York's Metropolitan Opera (where he has sung Giorgio in Bellini's I Puritani and Raimondo in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor), the Vienna State Opera (Zaccaria in Verdi's Nabucco and Philippe II in Verdi's Don Carlos), and La Scala in Milan (Lord Sydney in Rossini's Il viaggio a Reims).

Miles has also sung in orchestral concerts under many of the world's leading conductors including John Eliot Gardiner, with whose Monteverdi Choir he recorded Beethoven's Missa Solemnis. Miles' operatic discography runs to some 80 albums, and his solo releases include one devoted to the German-language songs of Johannes Brahms and Hugo Wolf. In 2019, he was featured on conductor Martyn Brabbins' reading of Edward Elgar's rarely heard early oratorio Caractacus, and he has appeared on several operas released by the Opera Rara label, specializing in neglected 19th century opera.