Baritone Christopher Tonkin won the OFA Italian Opera Award in 2005, a prize which took him to Europe the following year to study in Pisa, Italy, for 2 months and then to Romania, where he performed the role of Silvio in the Galati Theatre summer production of I Pagliacci. He then relocated to London to study at the prestigious Royal Academy of Music, where he was supported by the Kohn Foundation and the Josephine Baker Trust.
His principal voice lessons were with Raymond Connell, and masterclasses with celebrated professionals including Alan Opie, John Mark Ainsley and John Graham-Hall. While at the Royal Academy Christopher sang principal roles in six Academy productions, a highlight being Le nozze di Figaro, in which he performed the role of Count Almaviva in a production directed by John Copley and conducted by Sir Colin Davis. Upon graduation, as well as receiving his Postgraduate Diploma, Christopher was awarded the coveted ‘Diploma of the Royal Academy of Music,’ granted for performance excellence and distinguishing him as one of the Academy’s top graduates.
During his time in the UK, Christopher was also engaged to sing at venues including Chichester Cathedral, the Barbican and the Royal Albert Hall, and was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on several occasions. Christopher is currently engaged as resident principal baritone with Hannover Staatsoper, where he has performed Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pollux in Castor et Pollux, Harry Easter in Weill’s Street Scene, Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte, Schaunard in La Boheme, Ping in Turandot, Delirio in L’Opera seria, as well as Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos, and Valentin in Faust.
Repertoire performed in Australia has included The Count in Capriccio, Novice’s Friend in Billy Budd and Antonio in The Gondoliers for Opera Australia, Happy in La Fanciulla del West (South Australian State Opera), the Black Minister in the La Fura dels Baus’ internationally renowned production of Le Grand Macabre (Adelaide Festival), and for Victorian Opera the roles of Guglielmo, Belcore in The Elixir of Love, for which he received a Green Room Award nomination and, most recently, Chou En Lai in Nixon in China (Adams).