Alan Oke


Alan Oke studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama in Glasgow and with Hans Hotter in Munich.

Following a successful career as a baritone he made his debut as a tenor in 1992. Since then his career has covered much of the tenor repertoire, including Rodolfo La bohème, Alfredo La traviata, Pinkerton Madama Butterfly, Steva Jenufa, Boris Katya Kabanova, M.K. Gandhi Satyagraha, The Four Servants Les contes d'Hoffmann, Schoolteacher The Cunning Little Vixen and Don Basilio Le nozze di Figaro. Companies include Glyndebourne Festival Opera; Scottish Opera; Opera North; The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; English National Opera; Canadian Opera Company  and The Metropolitan Opera as well as appearances at the Edinburgh, Aldeburgh, Brighton, Bregenz and Ravenna Festivals and the BBC Proms. 

More recently he has established an enviable reputation in twentieth century and contemporary repertoire, including Chairman Mao Nixon in China for the BBC Proms and the Berlin Festival; Caliban The Tempest for the Metropolitan Opera, New York; Hiereus/the Translator The Minotaur and Old Man Marshall in Turnage's Anna Nicole for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and Prince/Manservant/Marquis Lulu for Welsh National Opera.

He sang his first Peter Grimes to great acclaim for the Aldeburgh Festival as part of their Britten centenary season to add to his already celebrated Aschenbach Death in Venice and he recently sang his first Captain Vere Billy Budd for the Teatro Carlo Felice.


This is for information only and should not be reproduced. Please contact Sophie Robertson for a full biography and for performance details.

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News & Features



Billy Budd

Opera North

'Alan Oke’s Vere, though, is already a richly complex portrayal, which combines personal diffidence with unswerving authority, delivered in phrases that sometimes uncannily recall the inflection of Peter Pears, for whom the role was written. It’s never easy to construe Vere as sympathetic, but Oke almost manages it in his final, shuffling appearance in the epilogue.' Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 19 October 2016
'...Oke’s expertly sung Vere...' George Hall,, 19th October 2016
'Alan Oke is perfect of diction and demeanour, too, starting out as a wry, cultured observer of human nature, precise but never prissy, whose breakdown is shocking, both in his climactic soliloquy and in the slow crumpling of his face and body as he conducts Billy's court martial.' David Nice,, 19th October 2016

'Alan Oke is superb as the ancient mariner – his wan severity reminiscent of Peter Pears ...'

Kate Kellaway, The Guardian, 23 October 2016

'Alan Oke is superb as the ancient mariner...'

Kate Kellaway, The Guardian, 23 October 2016

'Alan Oke’s combined authority with wisdom and compassion as captain Vere creates a rich and intricate character.'

Charlotte Broadbent, The Reviews Hub, Friday 11 November 2016

'That awareness was there from the beginning in the performance of Alan Oke as tormented narrator Captain Vere, looking back on the ignominious episode that has blighted his navy career. Not only does Oke sing superbly throughout – the converted baritone's high tenor notes pure and powerful – but he charts the journey of his character, old and young, with a wonderful actor's skill. '

Keith Bruce, Herald Scotland, 2 December 2016

'The principals could hardly have been better cast from among British ranks, and indeed all sang impressively... best of them was Alan Oke, whose diction as Vere was exemplary. He was the only one of the principals to excite empathy, wracked by vacillation in the prologue and epilogue. He was especially convincing at the trial, where private conscience and public duty found him contorted with remorse before he turned latter-day Pontius Pilate. His tenor remained liquid throughout.'

Martin Dreyer, Opera Magazine, December 2016



Royal Opera House

'Distinguished figures like Alan Oke... come and go...' Mark Valencia, What's On Stage, 25 May 2016
'Tenor Alan Oke made a striking intervention as the Shepherd...' George Hall, Opera News, July 2016


Figaro Gets a Divorce

Welsh National Opera

"The most successful creation is a new character far from the original, a sinister manipulator of people called The Major, sinuously delineated in Langer’s music and brilliantly sung by Alan Oke." Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 22 February 2016
"The cast is strong. Alan Oke gives the Major a truly psychopathic edge..." Rian Evans, The Guardian, 22 February 2016
"Langer’s sinister spy chief may fail in his mission to destroy our cherished, dysfunctional family but, with Alan Oke’s bravura insouciance, he succeeded in stealing the show." Steph Power, The Independent, 22 February 2016
"Intervening strikingly in the action is the villainous figure of the blackmailing Major, played with memorable malice by Alan Oke..." George Hall, The Stage, 22 February 2016
"These secrets and lies, together with the central issue of consanguinity, made them easy prey for the Major, and it was the cold psychopathic glee with which Alan Oke invested this role that drove the action. He was magnificent..." Rian Evans, Opera Magazine, April 2016


The Marriage of Figaro

Welsh National Opera

'The ensemble work was pretty slick...Alan Oke’s Basilio also got laughs.' Rian Evans, The Guardian, 19 February 2016
'...Alan Oke is a sparklingly malign Basilio...' Stephen Walsh, The Arts Desk, 19 February 2016



Metropolitan Opera

"And tenor Alan Oke’s multi-role part – including the Prince in act one, and the Marquis in act three – was a revelation. (While projecting an attractive, house-filling sound in both parts, he was buffoonish in the former, and menacing in the latter.)" Seth Colter Walls/Jason Farago, The Guardian, 6 November 2015
'Alan Oke was most successful...' Huffington Post, 18 November 2015


The Rake's Progress

Edinburgh International Festival

... Alan Oke was deliciously flamboyant as Sellem, the auctioneer. Simon Thompson, Seen and Heard, 16th August 2015
The various grotesques with which Auden and Kallman peopled their Hogarth-based scenario make for delicious cameos, and both Alan Oke, smarming and fussing for Scotland as the auctioneer Sellem...found an ideal mixture of absurdity and pathos. Richard Bratby, The Spectator, 22nd August 2015


Anna Nicole

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

It’s extremely well done...beautifully judged performances from Alan Oke as J Howard Marshall II, the 89-year old billionaire she married in 1994... Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 12th September 2014
And the singing and acting of the entire troupe was excellent...Alan Oke (who also sang his role first time around)...convincing as the randy old Marshall... Stephen Pettitt, Opera, November 2014


Peter Grimes

Opéra de Lyon

In the title role, Alan Oke draws on his success in Tim Albery's award-winning Grimes on the Beach at last year's Aldeburgh Festival. His is a light-voiced Grimes, but, as in Aldeburgh, he rises harrowingly to the histrionic demands of the mad scene. Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, 20th April 2014 says much for Oke (hero of Aldeburgh’s award-winning Grimes on the Beach) that he gave such a gritty account of the title role – not so much traditional misfit as autistic loner. Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 19th April 2014
Oïda's Grimes, Alan Oke - his Aschenbach in Death in Venice - built on his success in Tim Albery's Grimes on the Beach, as a haunted, decidedly oddball outsider. Hugh Canning, Opera, July 2014



English National Opera

...Alan Oke gives a magnificently calm performance, wrapping his dark and flexible tenor around Glass’s repetitive lines to create long musical paragraphs. John Allison, The Telegraph, 21st November 2013
At the still heart of things once more, as at every performance here since 2007, Alan Oke's Gandhi provides the serene yet searching tenor presence that makes this boldly improbable work so seriously engaging. Martin Kettle, The Guardian, 21st November 2013
But for all the enchanting effects, the undoubted success of this welcome revival relies completely on tenor Alan Oke's portrayal of Gandhi. He sings with such beauty and humility that although we can't understand his words (there are no surtitles) he convinces us that we do, so total is his sincerity. We feel the terrible vulnerability of the frail man with a will of iron; his torments at the hands of grotesque oppressors hurt us too. Stephen Pritchard, The Guardian, 24th November 2013


Death in Venice

Opera North

A thing of simple beauty – though not without its eccentricities – it is dominated by a performance of great integrity from Alan Oke as Aschenbach, which is essential listening... We first encounter Oke's Aschenbach standing by a grave, which we soon realise is his wife's, but which will also eventually become his own. Watching and hearing this emotionally dessicated man begin to feel again, as his body relaxes and warmth begins to course through his voice, is immensely moving and ensures that our sympathies remain with him as desire and love rapidly turn to obsession. Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 18th October 2013
This is an opera that depends, above all, on its two leading players. Here the lengthy, inward-looking role of the dried-up writer Gustav von Aschenbach, who seeks creative renewal in Venice yet finds instead moral and physical dissolution, is explored with considerable authority and imaginative sympathy by tenor Alan Oke. George Hall, The Stage, 24th October 2013
...Alan Oke's portrayal of Aschenbach is outstanding.. Michael Tanner, The Spectator, 2nd November 2013


Peter Grimes

Aldeburgh Festival

Instead, the focus was intimately on Grimes himself. A few years ago Alan Oke gave the festival a memorable portrayal of Gustav von Aschenbach in Britten’s last opera, Death in Venice, and his Peter Grimes was no less intense. As though peering into a pit of despair, Oke portrays a man with black thoughts deep in his heart, and the moments when he was taken to his vocal limits only added to the sense of a soul teetering on the edge. Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 9th June 2013
Some singers invest Grimes with a full-on aggression, but here Alan Oke gave him an arresting inwardness, the goal being less vocal beauty per se than a burning expressivity, and his two great recitatives – his hymn to the stars and his visions of escape from economic bondage – were glowingly illumined... The final scene, with Oke savagely pronouncing his own death-sentence, was haunting in the extreme. Michael Church, The Independent, 10th June 2013
...Alan Oke's Grimes had a searing intensity... Michael Church, The Independent, 18th June 2013
Alan Oke seems to inhabit whatever role he plays with total assurance and credibility and his portrayal of Grimes is unambiguous: this is not the wronged outsider, a misunderstood dreamer, but an unremarkable-looking man profoundly at odds with himself, capable of terrifyingly violent mood swings. Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 18th June 2013
...Alan Oke's enigmatic Grimes was framed in a halo of freezing mist, half-monster, half-man, his oilskin as black as the night. Anna Picard, The Independent, 22nd June 2013
...marking the dramatic start of Peter Grimes on the beach at Aldeburgh, the most talked about event of the season, not least sartorially. (Hoodies are now de rigueur at the opera.) No one present will forget Alan Oke, a noble and poetic Grimes, standing high amid upturned fishing boats, an outsider against the elements, fighting real, gusty winds to be heard.

The whole enterprise, written about exhaustively elsewhere, was a feat on the part of director Tim Albery, his technical crew and his fearless singers. Each deserves highest praise for a Peter Grimes like no other. While a chill nor'easterly, as Plomer might have put it, whipped around our ears, we too became part of the action. Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, 23rd June 2013
Alan Oke, singing his first Grimes on 'stage', still managed to communicate plenty of interpretative and vocal nuance, playing the troubled fisherman as a difficult, abrasive character who was no less sympathetic for his roughness... Oke provided haunting images of determination and isolation as they stood atop the set, buffeted by the wind, to deliver their solos in the final act. Hugo Shirley, Opera, August 2013
Alan Oke in the role is rugged, capped, inscrutable and sings beautifully. His ‘Now the Great Bear and Pleiades’, Britten’s sublime inspiration, is alone worth going to the film for. Michael Tanner, The Spectator, 7th September 2013


The Cunning Little Vixen

Welsh National Opera

 Alan Oke’s School­master...moving in their human frailty... Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times, 3rd March 2013



Welsh National Opera

Two singers rise above the mess...Alan Oke’s mesmerising Prince/Manservant. Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 11th February 2013
In a work all about symmetries, the multiple roles are brilliantly carried off by a cast including...Alan Oke... John Allison, The Telegraph,20th February 2013
...with luxury support from...Alan Oke... Fiona Maddocks, The Observer, 17th February 2013


The Tempest

The Metropolitan Opera

And among other standouts the tenor Alan Oke was wonderful as the shaggy-haired, monsterlike, spiteful Caliban, who was to have ruled the island but is kept in servitude by the magic of Prospero.
Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, 24th October 2012
Alan Oke conveyed Caliban’s pathos and madness in delicate balance. 
Martin Bernheimer, Financial Times, 24th October 2012
...Caliban, in particular, became a central and even sympathetic figure thanks to Alan Oke...
Anne Midgette, The Washington Post, 24th October 2012
...and British tenor Alan Oke lends gravity as the enslaved Caliban.
Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Daily News, 24th October 2012
...Alan Oke sings Caliban with naturalness and sincerity...
Zachary Woolfe, New York Observer, 24th October 2012
Alan Oke’s pliant, melting tenor makes his Caliban sympathetic.
Ronni Reich, New Jersey Star Ledger, 25th October 2012
For the British singers, the production is a triumphant showcase: Alan Oke's earthy Caliban...
Tom Service, The Guardian, 26th October 2012
The tenor Alan Oke, dressed like a hairy Goth who fell in a mud puddle, is menacing as Caliban.
Wilborn Hampton, The Huffington Post, 29th October 2012


Le nozze di Figaro

Glyndebourne Festival Opera

Vintage cameos from Ann Murray, Andrew Shore and Alan Oke crown a well-mannered show that…captures some of its invigorating spirit.
Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 29th June 2012
The best performances come from...louche Basilio (Alan Oke), three feisty characters in search of a real drama to get their teeth into.
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 28th June 2012
…entertaining singing came from the comprimario roles… Alan Oke (in particularly mellifluous vein) as Don Basilio. 
Mike Reynolds, Musical Criticism, 1st July 2012
Alan Oke's perfectly pitched Don Basilio. 
Igor Toronyi-Lalic, The Arts Desk, 30th June 2012


King Priam

Brighton Festival

...the magnificent Alan Oke...
Anna Picard, The Independent, 3rd June 2012
The playing was superb and the singing strength impressive: ...Alan Oke's Achilles perfectly high-strung...
Paul Driver, The Sunday Times, 3rd June 2012
 But there was impassioned singing from Brindley Sherratt (Priam), Benjamin Hulett (Hermes)… and Alan Oke (Achilles) among others, and I came away sobered, shaken and elated by a masterpiece of aesthetic rigour and integrity.
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 30 May 2012
But Brindley Sherratt and Alan Oke were tremendous as Priam and Achilles, opponents brought together by the common experience of losing the person they love most in a war that neither can now stop.
Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 29 May 2012