Scottish conductor Alistair Digges started his musical studies as horn player before going on to enjoy a busy career as an operatic tenor and concert soloist. He is a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the Royal College of Music International Opera School.
As musical director of Opera Bohemia, Scotland’s professional touring company, he has conducted productions of Eugene Onegin, Gianni Schicchi, La Traviata and most recently Les pêcheurs de perles. He made his debut at West Green House Opera in 2016 conducting Gounod’s La Colombe, a co-production with Opera Danube. He has conducted Carmen, Faust and Eugene Onegin for Fife Opera and returns this year for their production of Die Zauberflöte. Most recently he has been appointed Musical Director of Edinburgh Grand Opera and in 2018 he will be assistant conductor to David Parry for Nederlandse Reisoper’s production of Tosca.
Alistair has been musical director of The Edinburgh Singers since 2015. Since his appointment the choir have toured to Paris, performing at Saint Sulpice, La Madeleine and The American Cathedral, as well as giving a regular season of concerts in Scotland. Most recently they toured to Berlin, performing at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. The choir was the winner of the Scotland Sings Chorus award 2016, the same year as giving a critically acclaimed performance of Rachmaninov’s All Night Vigil. With the choir, he has also conducted Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor alongside Haydn’s Trumpet concerto with trumpeter Mark O’Keefe and Brahms’ A German Requiem. Both performances were accompanied by players from Scotland’s leading professional orchestras.
Other conducting engagements have included the closing concert of the Rainhill Music Festival with RMF Sinfonia and a John Rutter 70th Birthday concert in Scotland featuring Magnificat and Mass of the Children.
Previous positions held include Musical Director of the London Fairlawn Singers and of Kilmarnock and District Choral Union. He remains on the staff of both The National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and The Ulster Youth Choirs and is in demand as an adjudicator, guest conductor and workshop leader throughout the UK.
Studies and Singer Career
Born in Glasgow, Alistair’s first solo singing experiences were as a boy treble, performing in a BBC radio Christmas broadcast and singing the roles of Fuss in the RSNO’s children’s opera ‘Cake Talk’ (Eddie McGuire) and Acolyte in The Burning Fiery Furnace (Britten) at the Perth Festival (John Currie). He began his musical studies as a pianist and horn player, winning a scholarship to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Junior department. He played with many of the country’s leading youth orchestras including several years with the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and performed Mozart’s 3rd Horn Concerto with Glasgow Schools Symphony Orchestra.
He began his vocal studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (Stevenson Scholarship), also singing as a principle choral scholar at Glasgow Cathedral. He then moved to London to study at the Royal College of Music International Opera School (Mason/Ackroyd scholarships) going on to win their prestigious Knights of the Round Table Prize.
He has played the roles of Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore (Opera South), Rodolfo in La Boheme (Vignette Productions, Silent Opera, Opera Bohemia), Alfredo in La Traviata (Go Opera), Tamino in Die Zauberflote (Dartington Festival Opera), Don Gomez in Die Drei Pintos (UC Opera at the Bloomsbury), Dumain in Verlorene Liebesmüh (Opera Da Camera Linz, Austria), the tile role in The Tales of Hoffmann, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi and Beppe in Pagliacci (Fife Opera), Belfiore in La Finta Giardiniera, Arnalta in L’incoronazione di Poppea, Sellem in The Rake’s Progress, La Théière in L’enfant et les sortilèges, Schoolmaster/Mosquito in The Cunning Little Vixen, and Flute in A Midsummer Nights Dream (Royal College of Music), Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor and Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly (Opera Bohemia), and Old man in Gareth Williams ‘The Sloans Project’ (NOISE Opera).
Alistair performed Britten’s Parables with Mahogany Opera at the Aldeburgh and Buxton Festivals, in Saint Petersburg and in London with Britten Sinfonia. Other engagements have included the title role in Sir Nigel of Tilford under the baton of Laurence Cummings, a series of operatic recitals across India with soprano Patricia Rozario CBE, and an opera gala with Ann Murray DBE. In 2012 he was the principle tenor for the launch of Opera di Peroni across the UK. Recent projects have included the role of John in Michael Oliva’s ‘Singularity’ in a concert performance for the RCM’s From the Soundhouse series, Gareth Wiliams’s Breath Cycle for Scottish Opera and workshopping new repertoire with Mahogany Opera Group.
Alistair has performed extensively as an oratorio and concert soloist throughout the UK and beyond singing in many of the country’s leading concert halls and cathedrals and working under the likes of Philip Moore, Stephen Cleobury, Jonathan Willcocks, James Grossmith, Ralph Allwood, Alain Charron, Chris Gray and Dominic Peckham. His vast repertoire includes Britten’s Saint Nicolas, Verdi’s Requiem, Mendelsohn’s Elijah, Puccini’s Messe di Gloria, Rossini’s Stabat Mater and Pettite Messe Solenelle, as well as the masses and oratorios of Handel, Bach, Haydn and Schubert.
An ambassador of Scottish Songs, Alistair has performed at many distinguished burns suppers in Scotland as well as at the Caledonian Club in London. He has also been the guest soloist for The Scottish Cancer Research Christmas Concert and the CLIC Sargent Christmas Concert at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. He was also a member of the male vocal group, Scozzesi.