Athlone Artists is pleased to welcome to its roster Canadian tenor Spencer Britten, an emerging talent praised for having “the poise and confidence of a seasoned professional” (Bachtrack) and boasting a “full voice and ringing tone” (La Scena Musicale). The triple threat performer is presently in his second season at L’Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, after having completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the University of British Columbia and training since the age of six at the Caulfield School of Dance in Port Moody, BC, Canada in ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary, partnering and lifts.
Most recently, Spencer reprised his role as Léon in John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles at the Opéra Royal du Château de Versailles with “sweet clarity,” (Ôlyrix), while also acting as the production’s dance captain. Of his first portrayal of the role with the Glimmerglass Festival in July 2019, Opera Today noted, “Tenor Spencer Britten imbued his impersonation of Léon with bright toned delivery and a loveable puppy dog deportment.” Earlier this season, ConcertoNet lauded Britten’s “felicitous turn as Monsieur Triquet” in l’Opéra de Montréal’s production of Eugene Onegin, which he did “while pulling off a few magical tricks to delight the ball’s attendees as well as the audience.” His upcoming performances include the role of Snowboy/Dancer in West Side Story with the Ópera Nacional de Chile, Peppe in Donizetti’s Rita with the Sinfonia de Lanaudière and Ubaldo in Haydn’s Armida at the 2020 Bregenzer Festspiele in Austria.
“I’m very excited to join Athlone Artists,” says Spencer. “I met and sang for Miguel (Rodriguez) while at Glimmerglass and had already heard great things about Athlone from my Ghosts of Versailles colleague, Emily Misch. I felt a great connection with Miguel – he was a Rossini tenor so he understands where I want to go and what I want to do, and it is so easy to communicate with him. I’m looking forward to continuing to explore the bel canto repertoire, pursuing musical theater repertoire and using my dancing abilities in productions as well.”
Britten has completed two seasons with the Glimmerglass Festival, where he has shown his aptitude for both musical theatre and operatic repertoire in productions of Showboat (Beau/Dealer/Dancer), Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Count Almaviva Cover), Silent Night (French Soldier #2) and Trouble in Tahiti (solo trio). While there, he also played the role of Gee-Tar in West Side Story, set by Julio Monge to the original Jerome Robbins choreography, and was selected as one of several cast members to continue with the production to Lyric Opera of Kansas City and The Atlanta Opera.
In concert, Britten has performed as tenor soloist with the Choeur Metropolitain in Montréal in Benjamin Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb and Dvořák’s Mass in D Major, where he worked with conductors François A. Ouimet, Pierre Tourville, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. In October 2019, his interpretation of the goose in Carmina Burana with Les Grands Ballets was lauded by atuvu.ca as “brilliant” and “memorable.”
Spencer has been a recipient of the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation for Young Canadian Opera Singers, the Vancouver Opera Guild Career Development Grant, the Vancouver Opera Chorus Endowment Career Development Grant, the Joseph and Melitta Kandler Scholarship for Advanced Music Study, and the Barbara Eves-Motomochi Memorial Fund, and was chosen to compete in the final rounds of the Neue Stimmen International Voice Competition in Gütersloh, Germany.
Britten credits his love of dance and music to teachers including Cori Caulfield, Sommer Thome, Isabelle Yuan and Van “The Man” Porter of the Caulfield School of Dance, Donna Otto and Carrie Tennant of the Coastal Sound Music Academy, voice teacher and soprano Dr. Gina Oh, and UBC professors J.Patrick Raftery, Roelof Oostwoud, and director Nancy Hermiston.