• Born 1981
Often appears with
British countertenor Tim Mead has amassed an unusually long list of operatic and concert appearances since coming on the scene in the 2000s decade, performing with numerous major opera companies and ensemble directors. Mead has also applied his virtuoso voice to contemporary repertoire.
Mead was born in Chelmsford, Essex, UK, in 1981. As with so many other early music performers, he had his first musical training as a treble chorister at Chelmsford Cathedral. He entered the junior program at Trinity College of Music, studying cello and piano, and went on to King's College, Cambridge, as a choral scholar and musicology student. For graduate studies he won scholarships to attend the Royal College of Music and study with countertenor Robin Blaze. During his last year, he made his operatic debut in the difficult role of Ottone in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea at France's Lyon Opera under William Christie. Mead has sung that role several times, but has specialized in the operas and choral music of Handel. Major exposure in Britain came at the BBC Proms in 2004, where he performed in Biber's Missa Bruxellensis with the Academy of Ancient Music, and in a celebrated 2006 production of Giulio Cesare, where Mead sang the title role under conductor Emmanuelle Haïm, subtituting for an ill David Daniels. Mead has performed the monuments of Baroque choral repertory not only with major early music groups, but with conventional symphony orchestras, singing Handel's Messiah with the New York Philharmonic. In the 2010s he has broadened his repertory, appearing in several early Mozart operas with Britain's Classical Opera Company and in Philip Glass' Akhnaten with the Vlaamse Opera in Belgium. The Prince Consort, of which Mead is a founding member, has performed works by Brahms, Ned Rorem, and Stephen Hough. In addition to numerous recorded appearances as part of ensembles, Mead has released several solo recordings, including Purcell: Songs and Dances on the Alpha label in 2018.