About Christopher

South African Christopher Ainslie is established as a leading presence in the countertenor world. Based in Germany, he is active around the globe on concert, recital, and opera stages, and in repertoire spanning the eras, from early baroque to contemporary.

Ainslie has sung recitals at Wigmore Hall, concerts at Carnegie Hall and the Berlin Philharmonie, and operas at the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne, Teatro Real, Opera de Lyon, and so on, around the world. 

He is active in sport, and practises yoga and meditation, and brings a powerful combination of athleticism, stillness and a connected presence to his stagecraft.

Ainslie is an alto countertenor, and most of the core repertoire of the voice type fits him perfectly. Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s Matthäus and Johannes Passion, Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Orfeo in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Bertarido Handel’s Rodelinda, Ottone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea: these fit like a glove and are regulars in Ainslie’s performance schedule.

On the concert platform, highlights include over 50 performances of Handel’s Messiah with at least 20 orchestras around the world, including the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kenny Centre, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the London Handel Players, Classical Opera at the Wigmore Hall, Philharmonia Baroque; Matthäus Passion with the Netherlands Bach Society, with the Nieuwe Philharmonie Utrecht, and in the London Handel Festival, where he also sang the title roles of Handel’s Solomon, and Hercules; the World Premier of MacMillan’s A European Requiem at the Oregon Bach Festival, where he also sang Bach’s B Minor Mass, Johannes Passion, and Matthäus Passion, and Bach’s Weihnachtsoratorium with Les Musiciens du Louvre and in the Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow. 

Recently he gave a recital to open the 2021 Göttingen Handel Festival, and performed the World Premier of Vladimir Genin’s Orpheus.Euridice.Hermes at the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin.

Ainslie was described by the New York Times as “A Rockstar of Baroque Opera” for his performance in the title role of Cavalli’s Eliogabalo.Other highlights of Ainslie’s opera performances in recent years include David in Saul at Glyndebourne and Théatre du Châtelet, Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at English National Opera, Malmö Opera, Teatro Carlo Felice in Genova, the Royal Opera, Muscat, and Opera North; Orfeo in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice at Opéra de Lyon, Opéra National de Lorraine, Seattle Opera, and Opera de Massy, Prince Go-Go in Le Grand Macabre at Semperoper Dresden, Unulfo in Rodelinda at ENO, Teatro Real and Opéra de Lyon, Ottone in Agrippina at the Göttingen Handel Festival and The Grange Festival, Cyrus in Belshazzar, also at The Grange Festival, Ottone in L’incoronazione di Poppea at Glyndebourne, Opera North, and Drottningholm Palace Theatre, and Terry Rutland in Marnie at Theatre Freiburg.  

Ainslie sang the world premiers of Antonio in The Merchant of Venice at the Bregenz Festival, Theseus/Messenger in Thebans at ENO, and Innocent 4 in The Minotaur at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

He has also sung the title roles in Handel’s Amadigi at Central City Opera and the Wigmore Hall, Tamerlano at the Göttingen Handel Festival, Poro in the London Handel Festival, and Giulio Cesare with English Touring Opera, Arne’s Artaxerxes at the Royal Opera House, Eustazio in Rinaldo at Glyndebourne, the Voice of Apollo in Death in Venice at Opéra de Lyon and Opera North, and Helicon in Caligula at ENO and Weimar Opera.

Ainslie has recorded the title role in Arne’s Artaxerxes, and Zephyrus in Mozart’s Apollo et Hyacinthus, both with Linn Records and Classical Opera.