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Nicholas Spanos (Counter-tenor)

Born: Thessaloníki, Greece

The Greek counter-tenor, Nicholas Spanos, took his first singing lessons with Helen Lionna and world-renowned countertenorAris Christofellis. After his Diploma in Greece (Cum Laude) he continued his graduate studies at the University of Maryland School of Music in the USA with soprano Linda Mabbs (voice) and Leon Major (stage director). He was member of the Maryland Opera Studio Park for two years. For his studies he held a scholarship from the "Friends of Music Society" in Athens, as well as an assistantship from the University. He graduated from University of Maryland College Park with a Master of Arts degree in Voice / Opera Performance (2000-2002). Next step of his academic career was the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna, Ausrtia, where he completed a post-graduate course in Lied & Oratorio performance, with Professor Charles Spencer (2012-2013). He has diplomas in Harmony and Counterpoint from the New Conservatory of Thessalonica (class of N. Solomonides). He has actively participated in numerous voice master-classes taught by prominent teachers, such as Kurt Equiluz, Delores Ziegler, Anna Tomowa-Sintow and Michael Chance. He has taught several master-classes on Baroque style and performance technique. He is also founder of the Trissevjeni Kalokyri Vocal Ensemble in Thessalonica, Greece and has been conducting it for several years.

Nicholas Spanos is among the most prominent performers of his generation, known for his wide repertoire, his exceptional vocal range and outstanding beauty of sound. His very first appearance onstage (Arsamene in George Frideric Handel's Serse, G.N.O.) earned him the Best Young Artist of the Year Award by the Association of Theater and Music Critics of Greece for his interpretation. He has won First Prize at the National Singing Competition of Techne in Thessaloniki, Greece. Two more awards include an Echo Klassik 2008 (category “Operneinspielung Des Jahres - Oper des 17./18. Jahrhunderts”, MDG Records) for the title role in G.F. Handel's Tamerlano, as well as CHOC de Classica magazine Award (June 2012 - L'Olimpiade - Venice Baroque Orchestra, Naïve Records). In 2011 he was selected to sing at the opening ceremony of The Life Ball, an annual charity event of the City of Vienna, in front of a live audience of thousands and a TV audience of millions worldwide.

Nicholas Spanos has been widely and highly acclaimed for his excellence in opera performance as well as oratorio, recital and theater. Part of his latest review reads: “[...] The surprise was the singer: The Greek countertenor Nicholas Spanos is second to noone. He has a wonderfully soft, lyrical voice, sings absolutely unrestrained and clear, and has a high pitch that leads far into the soprano range. What is striking is the unperturbed self-understanding with which he sings. It does not stand out, is never striking, but goes the way into the inner self... he sang relatively unaffected on the outside - which does not mean that he stood stiff on the stage. But he put all the emotionality into the voice, into the dynamism, stopped when the anger came, sang almost invisibly when it went into the depths of the soul [...] (

International press mentions on several occasions: - The Washington Post: “ extraordinary countertenor as Nerone in Monteverdi's Poppea”. - Opéra International: “...surprisingly potent voice for a countertenor” - L’opéra: “...sweet timbre, beautiful legato and flair for ornamentation that go along with credible acting”. - Der Neue Merker: “tender voice, full of expression”. - Giornale della musica:“...sweet, yet strong timbre” / “...his musical intelligence offers him great control over the technical capabilities”. - Classica magazine: “...nom à retenir” (“A name to remember”). - Der Opernfreund: “...For the men, it was the Greek countertenor Nicholas Spanos as Ruggiero, who earned the most applause. He has a soft and naturally appealing voice with good matching to the role virile depths, but never fell from the register, and developed at the upper end of its large range, bright and clear treble; still a young voice with a lot of potential. Very original his lament: "Tiranna tu ridi"...] - The GB Opera magazine: “... countertenor Nicholas Spanos (Ruggiero) was admirable for his graceful timbre as well as the superior elegance of style, thanks to which he succeeded in capturing the attention of the public so effortlessly...” - Kiriakatiki Avyi: “...the big revelation”, “melodic and soft singing, yet colored with passion”. - Eleftherotypia: “...he sings with touching tenderness and exemplary musicality, featuring versatile melodic phrasing, pursued and accomplished with perfectionism”. - Estia: “...his skill is one of impressive, impeccable technique and expressive clarity:”, “...superb originality and high level of appearance”. - Kathimerini: “...a rising star!” - Vima: “...a name to be read, written, learned and remembered”.

Nicholas Spanos has performed extensively all over the world. He has collaborated with modern composers such as René Clemencic, Marco Rosano,G. Kouroupos, D. Kamarotos, C. Selamsis, D. Soldier, Ph. Tsalachouris, D. Papadimitriou,as well as many orchestras, namely Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Venice Baroque Orchestra, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Camerata Stuttgart, Armonia Atenea, The Athens State Orchestra, The Thessaloniki State Orchestra, The Orchestra of Colors, Orchester 1756 Salzburg, Musica Aeterna Bratislava, Bach Sinfonia, 21st Century Orchestra, Musica Coeli Graz. He also sings occasionally with early music ensembles, such as Clemencic Consort, Pandolfis Consort Wien, Ex Silentio, Latinitas Nostra, Ensemble 1756, Ensemble Continuum.

Nicholas Spanos has recorded 2 G.F. Handel operas (Oreste and Tamerlano) with the German label MDG. In 2011 he participated in the recording of L' Olimpiade with Venice Baroque Orchestra (role: Aminta, Naïve records). In 2013 he recorded the title role in Vangelis Katsoulis' Orfeo, a modern greek opera. In 2014 he was Ruggiero in Ristori's Le Fate DVD procuction of Ensemble Alraune in theater Ekhof, Gotha, Germany. In 2016 he recorded a personal CD for Gramola Records, entitled “Adoration”, on Baroque repertoire with Pandolfis Consort Wien. His repertoire ranges from early Baroque opera and oratorio parts, such as Nerone and Ottone (Cl. Monteverdi's L' incoronazione di Poppea) and Orfeo (Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice), into contemporary parts composed for the counter-tenor voice, such as Oberon (Benjamin Britten's Midsummer night’s dream). In detail, among others:

Nicholas Spanos sang the part of Vladimir Lenin in Dave Soldier’s opera Naked Revolution, staged by the Multimedia Department of George Mason University, in Virginia. Also, he has created the role of Ludwig Schumann in the semi-staged world premiere of Robert Convery’s Clara Schumann at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in Maryland, obtaining favourable reviews. A “wonderful, passionate and masculine Arsamene”, he sang in the Greek National Opera production of G.F. Handel’s Serse in Athens. His Nerone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, Maryland, USA) was highly acclaimed by the Washington Post. He sang the part of Der Hüter der Schwelle in Richard Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten in the Athens Megaron Concert Hall (cast including Inga Nielsen and Eva Màrton, stage director Michael Hampe) with the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra undthe baton of Michael Schønwandt. After that came Ruggiero in Antonio Vivaldi’s Orlando Furioso in the National Opera of Greece and Filotete in G.F. Handel's Oreste. Later, Prince Go-Go in Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre in the National Opera of Greece and after that, Prince Orlofsky in Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus. He was Tamerlano in the Athens Festival's production of this G.F. Handel's opera, whereas later he sang The Page in R. Strauss' Salome. For all the aforementioned roles Nicholas Spanos has been mentioned to very favourably in both the Greek and international Press.

Recent engagements have included: Soloist in concert with Venice Baroque Orchestra, Director: Andrea Marcon, on a tour of L' Olimpiade project (role: Aminta) (May-June 2012); Soloist in G.F. Handel oratorio Deborah HWV 51 (role: Barak) in Seckau and Graz, Austria, with Musica Coeli Graz, direrctor Franz Herzog (June 2012, 2 performances); Leonardo Vinci's Artaserse (role: Semira, cover) with an all-counter-tenor cast including: Philippe Jaroussky, Max Emanuel Cencic, Franco Fagioli, Valer Barna-Sabadus, Vince Yi and Yuriy Mynenko (stage direcor Silviu Purcarete, Concerto Köln, conductor Diego Fasolis) at Opéra national de Lorraine in Nancy, France (October-November 2012, 13 performances); Soloist in G.F. Handel's Giulio Cesare HWV 27 (role: Cesare) with Salzburger Konzertgesellschaft in Cuvilliérs Theater (organizer: in Munich, Germany, Orchester 1756 Salzburg, conductor: Konstantin Hiller (January 2013, 2 performances); Sang one of the Pastori in Monteverdi's Orfeo with Les Talens Lyriques (Director: Christophe Rousset) at Opéra national de Lorraine in Nancy, France (December 2013-January 2014, June 2014). He currently lives in Vienna, Austria.

More Photos

Source: Nicholas Spanos Website & LinkedIn/Facebook profiles; Photo 24: Christina Karagiannis
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (August 2017)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Agnieszka Żarska


C-2 (2013, Video): BWV 129, BWV 29

Links to other Sites

Nicholas Spanos - Countertenor (Official Website)
Nicholas Spanos on LinkedIn
Nicholas Spanos on Facebook 1
Nicholas Spanos on Facebook 2

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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Last update: Friday, September 15, 2017 02:34