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English tenor Andrew Staples has specialized in British music on his recordings, but in concert he has appeared in a great variety of music. He has been a fixture of concert scenes in Britain in the 2010s, also appearing often in continental Europe and the U.S.
Staples, like so many other English singers, had his first disciplined musical experiences in a cathedral choir, that of St. Paul's. After his voice broke, he sang with the Rodolfus Choir in the late 1990s. He earned a music scholarship to Eton College (in North American terms, a prep school) and then, in 1998, earned another scholarship, this one to King's College, Cambridge. After receiving his degree in music there, Staples moved on to the Royal College of Music in London, where his teacher was Ryland Davies. He was the school's first recipient of its Peter Pears Scholarship.
Staples landed a role with the British Youth Opera as Ferrando in Mozart's Così fan tutte in the early 2000s and quickly found himself in demand for tenor roles and parts from Bach to Mozart and Beethoven. One of his first major appearances outside Britain came at the 2003 Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria, where he played Aret in Haydn's Philemon und Baucis under the baton of veteran English conductor Trevor Pinnock. Staples' debut with the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden came as Jacquino in Beethoven's Fidelio. Concert appearances have taken Staples as far afield as Japan, where he performed Mozart's Requiem with the Kanazawa Orchestra. In New York he sang in the U.S. premiere of John Tavener's The Veil of the Temple. Strongly interested in British music of the 20th century, Staples has performed several Britten works including the Serenade for tenor, horn, and strings, with Andrew Manze as conductor.
Staples made his recording debut on the Albion label in 2008 with a group of 20 early Ralph Vaughan Williams songs entitled Kissing Her Hair. That same year he appeared on the album The Sky Shall Be Our Roof, a collection of songs from Vaughan Williams' operas. In 2017 Staples was tapped to replace ailing German tenor Jonas Kaufmann in the title role in Daniel Barenboim's recording of Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius.