Iestyn Davies


What the Critics say...

Iestyn Davies took the title role with ease and effortless style and his slow Sleep Aria, accompanied by two dusky violas, theorbo and cello, was spellbindingly beautiful. Rebecca Franks The Times

Bicket and Davies ‘warmed up’ for this performance in 2015, when they presented several arias from Orlando in the opening concert of the Wigmore Hall’s 2015-16 season, alongside arias from Rinaldo, Rodelinda and Partenope. The ‘infinite variety of colour’ and ‘expressive depth’ that I noted on that occasion were once again in evidence, and used to compelling effect in a portrayal which emphasised the dark introspection and inner rage of the troubled soldier. Alert to the disjunctions and disruptions resulting from Orlando’s mercurial temperament, Davies prowled the platform with lowering intensity; when seated, he was bowed with a seemingly unbearable burden of anxiety and despair.

Urged by the magician-philosopher Zoroastro to redirect his energies from love to combat, Davies presented his opening aria, ‘Non fu già men forte’, with brightness and warmth, the lyrical ardour supplemented by the glowing playing of the two natural horns, who injected a charming touch of mock heroism.

Technically impeccable throughout the performance, Davies launched into the score’s astonishing prestissimo flights with relaxed ease and without any loss of focus. The breath control exhibited in his Act 2 aria, ‘Cielo! se tu il consenti deh! Fà’, was remarkable, and equalled by the fluid passagework of ‘Fammi combattere’; there was continuity of tone throughout the vocal extravagances, and the latter unfailingly served an expressive purpose.

Emerging from behind the orchestra, where Orlando had been nursing his grievances and torments, Davies delivered a ‘mad scene’ which demonstrated expert appreciation of the protagonist’s disordered temperament, moving with discomforting readiness between dread and nonchalance, and gliding easily through the ever-shifting time signatures and tempi. ‘Ah Stigie larve’, in which the unhinged Orlando imagines a descent to the Underworld, was enhanced by fine theorbo playing; the fresh simplicity of the repetitions of ‘Vaghe pupille’ (Lovely eyes) were movingly interposed between the scene’s darker emotional tumults. Indeed, Davies’ lack of mannerism and simple directness movingly conveyed the destructive of the insanity inspired by his jealous ire; the poignancy was all the greater for the lack of affectedness. In Act 3’s ‘Già per la man d’Orlando … Già cl’ebro mio ciglio’, an invocation to sleep, Davies’ gentle yet elegant vocal pianissimo was complemented by a deliciously dulcet viola duet. Claire Seymour Opera Today

Countertenor Iestyn Davies blazed as the antihero Orlando, before delivering more reflective passages in tones so mellow that they almost seemed too lovely for a character who’s basically the ex-boyfriend from hell. Richard Bratby Birmingham Post

...he had all the right traits: technical athleticism, moments of startling power, but also of stillness, nowhere more so than in his reflective Act III arioso, “Già l’ebro mio ciglio”. Combined with his characteristically liquid tone, it all added up to a clear, compelling and moving Orlando. Hannah Nepil The Financial Times

Singing the title role, Iestyn Davies gave us a mad scene of unsettling delicacy, drawing differences all the more disturbing for their subtlety between his moments of seeming calm and his murderous fury. Earlier, a blistering “Cielo! Se tu il consenti” showed the extremes of his coloratura agility, while “Gia l’ebro” reminded us that few countertenors can spin a longer legato line, or sustain it with such warmth and beauty. Just occasionally the role’s heavy demands on the lower end of the voice left Davies a little light in the balance, but it’s a small quibble considering the sheer scope of musicianship on show here. Alexandra Coghlan The Arts Desk

Iestyn Davies’ Orlando showcases a truly exquisite talent: Davies’ countertenor is so gorgeously legato and fluid that it sounds almost unearthly, yet the smoothness is seasoned with heartstopping, ferociously accurate coloratura which received explosive applause from the Barbican audience. Orlando’s vision of Hades, filled with changing musical textures as he gets farther and farther from sanity, makes for an exciting mad scene, with Davies conveying a nicely understated sense of a man lost in his own delusions, seemingly unphased by the fact this role was originally written for the great Senesino. Charlotte Valori.

In the title-role was Iestyn Davies, surely just about supreme today in the castrato repertory. There’s no sense in his technique of the fey falseness of falsetto: the sound is produced with grace and ease, warmly coloured and subtly toned. In Orlando’s derangement, he was darkly melancholy, but elsewhere he was furiously virile too – the fireworks of “Fammi combattere” dazzled. In his artistry, the counter-tenor has truly come of age. Rupert Christiansen. The Daily Telegraph

Orlando is a difficult character to pull off; proud, violent, slow on the uptake and something of a comical buffoon. Davies has a lovely, rounded tone, with less edge but more complex beauty than [other] contemporary Orlandos...His vocal poise was impressive, whether in a highly energetic “Non fu già men forte,” or his comical moments with Dorinda.

The characterization came together in the famous mad scene, “Ah! stigle larve,” at the end of Act II. The darkness of the music sets off the character’s visions of ghosts and monsters, which are then followed by a strangely tender self-assurance. Davies was as poised as ever, and his controlled, understated drama worked. George Grella. New York Classical Review

Davies’ hallucinating hero traverses a kaleidoscopic series of derangements, each with its own vividly-characterised musical colouring. Michael Church. The Independent
His countertenor voice, though not large, is clear, effortless and warm. Cleanly executed ornamental figures emerge naturally from longer lyrical lines....In Orlando’s mad scene, Handel throws conventions aside. The music hurtles through daring emotional shifts, with fiery outbursts one moment and achingly confused expressions the next. Mr. Davies sang it overwhelmingly. - Anthony Tommasini. New York Times
Heavenly voice that brings a devastating finale. [...] the real star – whose talent makes you tingle – is counter-tenor Iestyn Davies, with help from Georg Frideric Handel […]  At last night’s opening it was his extraordinary singing that stole the show...
Quentin Letts, MailOnline
Farinelli and the King, Duke of York theatre, London

… at the peak of his interpretative powers… remarkable interpretative skills… his ability to spin a line, negotiate the trickiest of turns and deliver each and every run cleanly and accurately was breathtaking. […] a sublime voice, a faultless technique and superb artistry, all of which Davies has in spades.
Keith McDonnell, MusicOMH
Handel: arias for castrato, Wigmore Hall


… impressive, none more so than Iestyn Davies in the pivotal role of David. The security, fluency, expressiveness and downright beauty of his performance entirely naturalized the countertenor register and set the young hero apart. Rarely can he have been heard in better voice.
Russ McDonald, Opera
Handel's Saul at Glyndebourne


… Iestyn Davies’s alto, who is the vocal star of the show as David, immaculate and sensuous in his singing of the oratorio’s hit number, O Lord, whose mercies numberless, which I haven’t heard surpassed live. It’s worth the price of the ticket for his singing alone. 
Hugh Canning, The Sunday TImes
Handel's Saul at Glyndebourne


… the stillness of Saul’s champion and nemesis, David… sublimely sung by (Iestyn) Davies… 
Anna Picard, The Spectator
Handel's Saul at Glyndebourne


The marvellously rich countertenor voice of Iestyn Davies is one of the most glorious sounds to be heard on the opera stage today, and its purity fits the part of David perfectly. 
William Hartstone, The Express
Handel's Saul at Glyndebourne


… when Iestyn Davies’ David attributes his victory over Goliath to God (O king, your favours with delight, I take, but must refuse your praise), the strength and purity of the countertenor’s voice were heart-melting. [...] ... highly intelligent acting... 

David Karlin, BachTrack
Handel's Saul at Glyndebourne

Iestyn Davies’s ravishingly well-sung, guileless David…
Andrew Clements, The Guardian
Handel's Saul at Glyndebourne

Iestyn Davies is in glorious voice as David — rich in tone yet unaffected — and his account of O Lord, Whose Mercies Numberless is almost heart-stopping.
Laura Battle, Financial Times
Handel's Saul at Glyndebourne

… the cool beauty of Davies' singing and his account of O Lord, whose mercies are numberless was one of the highlights of the evening… the beauty and intelligence of Iestyn Davies performance helped to bring the role alive in multiple ways.

Robert Hugill at Planet Hugill and Opera Today
Handel's Saul at Glyndebourne

… the stoic David of radiant counter-tenor Iestyn Davies (… is) outstanding.

David Gillard, Daily Mail
Handel's Saul at Glyndebourne


Amongst a strong cast of singers the other person who requires special mention is Iestyn Davies who sings the counter tenor role of [dynamic outsider] David. The purity of line he produces and the beauty of his tone are ravishing. [...] A counter tenor does not usually have the longevity of other operatic voices, but here is a singer at his peak and well worth following to future engagements. 
Howard Sheperdson, Limelight
Handel's Saul at Glyndebourne

Iestyn Davies is [a] charismatic David, and he delivers the hit number O Lord, whose mercies with ravishing beauty.

Warwick Thompson, BlouinArtInfo International
Handel's Saul at Glyndebourne

Iestyn Davies, his countertenor flooding the house with its agile fullness, played David with remote, Hamlet-like detachment.

Peter Reed, Classical Source
Handel's Saul at Glyndebourne

The star is Iestyn Davies, whose countertenor is unwaveringly lustrous as a David who is far too popular and handsome for Saul’s liking.

Richard Morrison, The Times
Handel's Saul at Glyndebourne

Iestyn Davies… sings and acts the young warrior [David] with comprehensive distinction.

George Hall, The Stage
Handel's Saul at Glyndebourne

… Iestyn Davies’s exquisite David. There’s an unearthly quality to this voice that sets it effectively apart from all around it, but grounded in a muscularity that makes a credible warrior of a figure we first encounter bloodied and bruised from the fight.

Alexandra Coghlan, TheArtsDesk
Handel's Saul at Glyndebourne

Musically this evening is well-nigh flawless. No praise too high for the singing of Davies [et al]
Michael Church, The Independent
Handel's Saul at Glyndebourne

Iestyn Davies just gets better and better: I don’t think I have have ever heard a counter-tenor in an opera house sounding more warmly radiant or tonally secure, and his David impressively combines princely dignity with intense melancholy, quite magically so in his great lament Mourn, Israel.
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph
Handel's Saul at Glyndebourne

… from fast, dramatic arias - Such haughty beauties - to solemn recitative = O Jonathan… Davies gave it all the most touching eloquence
Melanie Eskanazi, MusicOMH
Handel's Saul at Glyndebourne



Davies… was in particularly fine form… clear diction, controlled even tone and clarity of expression… a refined and evocative performance…
Midnight recital, Lewes Chamber Music Festival


… musicianship of very great excellence and beauty… A sense of total enchantment… The quality of quietness is a rare and beautiful thing, the harmony of Iestyn Davies and Thomas Dunford rarer and more beautiful still.
The Argus
Midnight recital, Lewes Chamber Music Festival


Iestyn Davies was ravishing.
Tim Ashley, The Guardian
Dowland, Vivaldi, Muhly Sentences, Barbican



The noise [Davies] makes is so sculpted and soaring that you can believe the reports of women swooning as castrati held their notes for a whole minute.
Susannah Clapp, The Observer
Farinelli and the King, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London

… the crowning glory is that the role [of Farinelli] is sung by the peerless counter-tenor Iestyn Davies, whose sublime rendition of several Baroque arias fully justifies [King] Philippe’s description of him as angelic.
Michael Arditti, Sunday Express
Farinelli and the King, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London


… Davies punctuates with songs by Handel and other 18th century composers in a voice that would lift the spirits of the most severe depressive. An evening of real enchantment.
Neil Norman, Express
Farinelli and the King, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London

The performances were superb, with Davies being completely mesmerising with his voice filling the theatre wonderfully.
Farinelli and the King, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London


... the counter-tenor Iestyn Davies as the singing Farinelli and the moments when he renders two arias, Cara Sposa and VentiTurbini, from Handel’s Rinaldo, offer a pleasure that verges on the sublime.
Michaael Billington, The Guardian
Farinelli and the King, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London


A superb countertenor, Davies captures the piercing expressiveness and introspection of this remarkable figure whose voice proved so restorative for Philip. Some of the songs are familiar (Handel is to the fore), while others are the work of comparatively obscure composers, such as Farinelli’s real-life teacher Nicola Porpora. But Davies’ sound is always sophisticated and crisp — and his high notes are ethereal.
Henry Hitchings, London Standard
Farinelli and the King, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London


… Iestyn Davies step[s] in when it is time for [Farinelli] to sing; the arias are skin-tingling and exquisite… 
Natasha Tripney, The Stage
Farinelli and the King, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London


... Iestyn Davies sings with rapturous virtuosity and uncanny beauty... 
Paul Taylor, The Independent
Farinelli and the King, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London


It was a joy to hear the arias sung with such brilliance of execution and flair in interpretation, especially those from Handel’s Rinaldo.
Melanie Eskanazi,
Farinelli and the King, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London


... the great countertenor Iestyn Davies steps in, singing with such an intense beauty that he almost manages to upstage the un-upstageable Rylance. 
Ben Lawrence, The Telegraph
Farinelli and the King, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London




Iestyn Davies was flawless as ever, each year seeming to find more lights and colours in the countertenor voice than I used to think possible; 2014 has been exceptional for him even by his own highest standards.
David Nice, The Arts Desk
Bach B Minor Mass, St John's Smith Square

Iestyn Davies’ alto part has developed so much from his first performances of it that he seems almost like a different singer. Now, he unites his always-present sweetness of tone with confident mastery, handling the decorations with insouciant skill. I doubt if he has anywhere near the number of sins of Susannah Cibber, but the exclamation ‘Woman, for this, be all thy sins forgiven!’ uttered by the Chancellor of St Patrick’s Cathedral after Cibber had sung ‘He was despised’ at the work’s first performance, would seem an appropriate response to singing of such truly beautiful tone allied to so sensitive an understanding of the words; ‘a man of sorrows’ was yet another of those moments when you really could imagine believing in it all.
Melanie Eskanazi, MusicOMH
Messiah, Polyphony, St John's Smith Square

... the greatest countertenor of the present, Iestyn Davies...

David Nice, The Arts Desk
Review of 2014 opera

Davies’s tone was superb.
Richard Morrison, The Times
J S Bach Christmas Oratorio/Cantata BWV170, Spitalfields Winter Festival 2014

[Davies's] pure tone flawless, his phrasing exquisite — prioritising the flow of the whole line over pedantic word-painting. […] The musical variety he milked from Dowland’s richly metaphorical “Can She Excuse my Wrongs?”, for example, revealed his deep insight into the text. Most memorable of all was Purcell’s “An Evening Hymn”, a work that Davies’s mother insisted on listening to in her last days, as the countertenor revealed in a brief introduction. He sang it simply and directly; that was enough.
Hannah Nepil, The Financial Times
Spitalfields Winter Festival, lute songs recital

… Davies’s direct and unaffected style [and] wonderfully clear projection...
Martin Kettle, The Guardian
J S Bach Christmas Oratorio/Cantata BWV170, Spitalfields Winter Festival 2014


Davies was impressive… clarity and purity... richness of tone... a lovely shape to the melody. Words counted for much... andthe songs were highly vivid without ever veering into preciousness.
Planet Hugill
Spitalfields Winter Festival, lute songs recital


Davies showed he can rival Cecilia Bartoli in fire-cracker virtuosity

Ivan Hewitt, The Telegraph
Spitalfields Winter Festival, lute songs recital


Encountering Iestyn Davies in live performance for the first time was a revelation; his voice is richly powerful through a wide range, expressive in his use of tonal color and vibrato, with an unerring sense of fluid line and phrasing.
Timothy Robson, Bachtrack
J S Bach Mass in B Minor, Cleveland, OH, USA


Iestyn Davies [as] Ottone was superb from the off, strong of voice and completely inside the role.
Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard
l'Incoronazione di Poppea, Barbican, London

The star of the show was the Ottone of Iestyn Davies, singing with absolute assurance, vivid projection and the kind of clarity which one can usually only dream of in a hall of this size. He conveyed all of the disappointed lover’s confusion and dejection, his arias and recitatives a model of baroque style.
Melanie Eskanazi, MusicOMH
l'Incoronazione di Poppea, Barbican, London


... sung by Iestyn Davies [Ottone] had a vocal gloss to compensate for any dramatic indignity, and some of the evening’s highlights were in the vocal interplay between Davies and Sophie Junker’s sweetly impetuous Drusilla.

Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk
l'Incoronazione di Poppea, Barbican, London


Iestyn Davies's immaculately voiced Ottone… 
Barry Millington, London Evening Standard
l'Incoronazione di Poppea, Barbican, London



Top of his class… Iestyn Davies’s punchy Rinaldo puts his co-stars in the shade… Handel’s crusading hero might have been waiting for the countertenor Iestyn Davies to take up Sonia Prina’s blazer, satchel and shoes. He may not possess the clarion tone for which the 18th century’s castrato divos were - and Prina is - famed, but at Glyndebourne he delivers a bravura Or la tromba in punchy, military style. And his tender singing of Cara sposa, a wrenching lament for his abducted betrothed, Almirena, really hits you in the solar plexus... charisma and vocal lustre… It’s great news that Davies will be playing David in Barrie Kosky’s new production of Handel’s Saul next summer…
Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times
Handel's Rinaldo at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, 2014


Iestyn Davies, in the title role, is infinitely eloquent and indefatigable in pursuit of his beloved Almirena.

Hilary Finch, The Times
Handel's Rinaldo at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, 2014


Davies's performance was a dramatic and musical tour de force… entirely adept at coping the demands of the rather uneven libretto. When Armida kidnaps Almirena, Davies has a pair of arias almost back to back both essentially covering the same emotional ground (the entirely wonderful Cara sposa and the different but still lovely Cor ingrato. But you never felt that Davies was doing so, he brought a wonderful variety of tone and emotions to them. The virtuoso act one finale was brilliantly done even though Davies spent part of the aria on a flying bike. Rinaldo's later arias are equally spectacular, and Davies acquitted himself brilliantly, being wonderfully martial in Or la tromba. Almost as importantly, he brought light and shade to the character. In this version of the story Rinaldo is unbelievably moral, he is never tempted by Armida and this is the story's weakness (Carsen's re-invention with Armida as the evil teacher works well here). The beauty of Davies's Rinaldo was that we never really noticed this weakness, he created a complete character.

Robert Hugill, Opera Today
Handel's Rinaldo at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, 2014


This is undoubtedly Iestyn Davies’s show; his Rinaldo was a gem of a performance, characterised by fiery coloratura, warm, strongly projected tone, yet showing ability to spin long lines. He acts the role splendidly...

Mark Pullinger, Bachtrack
Handel's Rinaldo at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, 2014


Iestyn Davies as Rinaldo (proving once more that he's the best of his voice type working in the UK today)… 

Simon Thomas, WhatsOnStage
Handel's Rinaldo at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, 2014


Davies’ Rinaldo was the callow schoolboy and the amorous hero to the life (a bit like Bill Bryson’s Thunderbolt Kid at times) making us believe in his struggle between the charms of his Almirena and the glory of conquest. He had just enough swagger to make his unlikely hero convincing, and as always he sang with liquid sweetness, exact projection and crystalline diction.
Melanie Eskanazi, MusicOMH
Handel's Rinaldo at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, 2014


... this show… with that incomparable countertenor Iestyn Davies in the title role – ravishes the heart as it should. One just feels sorry for the other countertenors… who must share the stage with him; both excellent, both hopelessly outshone.

Michael Church, The Independent
Handel's Rinaldo at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, 2014


This revival benefits dramatically and vocally from Iestyn Davies - one of the finest countertenors around, who excels equally at anguish, tenderness, virtuosity and - rarely off stage - stamina… magnificent title role performance… 

Graham Rogers, The Stage
Handel's Rinaldo at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, 2014


... countertenor Iestyn Davies, whose Rinaldo marries depth of feeling with dazzling technique. 

Hannah Nepil, The Financial Times
Handel's Rinaldo at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, 2014


With his pinging projection, confident coloratura and sheer musical flair, Iestyn Davies is simply the nonpareil of contemporary counter-tenors… The other counter-tenors in the cast were inevitably overshadowed… 

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph
Handel's Rinaldo at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, 2014



Iestyn Davies can dominate a stage with all the physical poise and balance that characterises the best singers

Michael McManus, Gramophone


Iestyn Davies, vocally ravishing and intelligent as Bertarido, was a much more complex figure than Andreas Scholl ever managed in Glyndebourne's famous production
Opera Now
Handel's Rodelinda at English National Opera

Iestyn Davies’ voice has a purity even beyond what is normally admired in a countertenor, and his performance of [Ach dass ich wassers gnug hätte] was infused with the necessary pathos, augmented by the clear intonation of the German words… Iestyn Davies performed with expressiveness and intensity throughout.
Jack Johnson, Bachtrack
Bach cantatas at Wigmore Hall, June 2014


As for the countertenor Iestyn Davies, no one better contemplates the sorrow of Christ's death as expressed in the aria Es ist vollbracht... With Richard Tunnicliffe's celestial viola da gamba weaving its endless, silvery accompaniment, time stood still. Or you wished for once it could.
Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian
Bach's St John Passion, Barbican, London

…exceptional… warm tonal glow and stylish musicianship...
George Hall, The Guardian
Bach, St John Passion, Barbican, London



The rarest thing in opera is a distinctive voice, and Iestyn Davies has one. It’s clear, full and plangent, with crisp diction and unassuming eloquence.

New York Times
Review of CD The Art of Melancholy


In an increasingly populated voice type, Iestyn Davies’ voice stands out for its beauty and evenness throughout its range. More importantly, he is a phenomenal technician and artist.
Recital of lute songs, Vancouver


Davies and (lutenist) Dunford seem born to perform these works. Their achievement was as extraordinary as the music. Davies combines power and agility with the widest imaginable range of colours; his understanding of how to sing in English is superb. 

David Gordon Duke, Vancouver Sun
Recital of lute songs, Vancouver



Iestyn Davies’ unique sound and refined artistry have made him the countertenor of choice for everyone from early music specialists to Thomas Adès.
Vancouver Sun



Davies acts as well as his sings, bringing purity and projection to a role that can easily turn whiny. The simplicity of his Dove Seiwas exquisite.
Alexandra Coghlan, The New Statesman
Handel's Rodelinda at English National Opera


... the countertenor of the year – and no doubt the decade... 
David Nice, TheArtsDesk


No que diz respeito aos solistas, sobressaiu a belíssima voz de Iestyn Davies através de uma interpretação depurada de elegante nobreza expressiva da figura do rei Salomão...

Handel's Solomon at the Lisbon Gulbenkian


… the clear, heart-rending beauty of (Davies's) Bertarido… his saloon lamentation of despair conjured a direct baroque paraphrase to Sinatra’s In the Wee Small Hours, sexily casual slouch and all. [...] The one duet of the opera, in which Davies and Evans sang of their abiding, through thick-and-thin love of one another as their frames were pulled slowly to opposite wings of the stage, stopped the collective breath and wet the eyes of the entire house.
Candace Allen, artsmeme
Handel's Rodelinda at English National Opera


Iestyn Davies gives a textbook illustration of how far the art of countertenor singing has progressed in recent years, combining heartfelt beauty with profound humanity as Bertarido… superbly done… 
Michael White, The Catholic Herald
Handel's Rodelinda at English National Opera


... Davies's glowing Bertarido... The night belonged to Iestyn Davies... world-class artist. He can sing, whether full blast or hushed pianissimo, with a strength, steadiness of tone and musical confidence almost unknown in a voice type which has tended... to prefer ethereal frailty as a calling card. He also has an understated sense of comic timing.

Fiona Maddocks, The Observer
Handel's Rodelinda at English National Opera

… Rebecca Evans... and the magnificent countertenor Iestyn Davies (singing) Handel's gloriously challenging arias… Iestyn Davies' voice is something worth hearing at any time, but this production makes it even better.
William Hartston, The Express
Handel's Rodelinda at English National Opera


As the... lovers are separated, Rebecca Evans (Rodelinda) and the countertenor Iestyn Davies (Bertarido) sing their duet with consummate skill... Davies is on incomparable form.
Hilary Finch, The Times
Handel's Rodelinda at English National Opera


… at the end of Act II, as the loving pair Rodelinda and Bertarido (Iestyn Davies) are separated... they sing farewell to one another from receding rooms, with so powerful an effect that it’s hard to think of many operatic scenes so stirring. Iestyn Davies as Bertarido is magnificent... and his acting is as concentrated as his singing.
Michael Tanner, The Spectator
Handel's Rodelinda at English National Opera


With eyes closed, you could get lost in the… sweetness with which countertenor Iestyn Davies’s voice melts with Rebecca Evans’s soprano.
Amelia Forsbrook, A Younger Theatre
Handel's Rodelinda at English National Opera

Unbelievable singing by counter-tenor Iestyn Davies
Michael Coveney, What's on Stage
Handel's Rodelinda at English National Opera

Iestyn Davies stole the show with aria after aria of heavenly purity and ardour. 
Helen Wallace, / BBC Music Magazine
Handel's Rodelinda at English National Opera


Rebecca Evans and Iestyn Davies are just about perfection as Rodelinda and Bertarido
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph
Handel's Rodelinda at English National Opera


Iestyn Davies triumphs…  the singer who is replacing Scholl as the world’s top countertenor… When Davies, as Bertarido, launches into his opening aria of desperate loss, we immediately get the full splendour of his sound… comic denouement in which Iestyn Davies revels with his instinctive comic timing.

Michael Church, The Independent
Handel's Rodelinda at English National Opera


And is there a more sheerly beautiful and more musicianly countertenor sound than Iestyn Davies’, now with added edge and intensity, in Bertarido’s isolated musings?
David Nice, The Arts Desk
Handel's Rodelinda at English National Opera


Ultimately, however, the evening belongs to its two countertenors, Davies and Ainslie, the former infinitely noble and moving, the latter darker toned yet fabulously agile. They've rarely been bettered in their respective roles, and are both, quite simply, breathtaking.
Tim Ashley, The Observer
Handel's Rodelinda at English National Opera


… musically affecting… pure vocal sonority...
Curtis Rogers, Classical Source
Handel's Rodelinda at English National Opera


… Iestyn Davies' glorious singing… Davies' voice, with its beauty of tone, sense of line and firmness of core, has a beautiful edge to it which meant that the arias never turned saggy as they can do. Davies was never annoying, we never felt he ought to snap out of it. Instead we sensed the focussed core of the man. It helped that the arias were so finely sung. His aria in act one, in front of his own funeral monument, was spine-tingling… Even in the act three aria of triumph, despite the hi-jinks on stage Davies gave us stunning trumpet tones and some very fine passage work.
Robert Hugill
Handel's Rodelinda at English National Opera


... extraordinary evenness of tone, his immaculate breath control and the rapt subtlety of his phrasing... terrific panache and a bravura technique that is second to none.
Tim Ashley, The Guardian
Review of recording Your Tuneful Voice


... countertenor Iestyn Davies (a Layton regular) brings warmth and musicianship to everything he sings.

Tony Way, Limelight
CD review: J S Bach: Christmas Oratorio, Stephen Layton


...the beauty of today’s best countertenors, such as Andreas Scholl or Iestyn Davies.
Richard Fairman, Financial Times



... flawless countertenor Iestyn Davies...
David Nice The Arts Desk
G F Handel: Messiah, St John's Smith Square Christmas Festival 2013


Iestyn Davies sang the alto solos with assured fluency and wonderful control, Schliesse, mein Herze an especially fine demonstration of his skill.
Melanie Eskanazi,
J S Bach: Christmas Oratorio, St John's Smith Square Christmas Festival 2013


Counter-tenor Iestyn Davies was beautifully persuasive in the difficult role of the commentator, exhorting us to understand the meaning of the miracle.
Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph
J S Bach: Christmas Oratorio, St John's Smith Square Christmas Festival 2013


... charismatic countertenor Iestyn Davies as Oberon...'s Top 10 Performances of 2013
Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Metropolitan Opera, NYC


Iestyn Davies's countertenor offered a subtle range of colours, his every note realised with tonal beauty. At the start of the second half, he received an award from the Critics' Circle Music Section as an exceptional young vocalist; it could scarcely have been better timed.
George Hall, The Guardian
Messiah, Barbican Hall, London


Mr Davies possessed a delicate balance of smokey-smooth softness and a rich timbre that he used to ebb the phrases in Sweeter than roses, and his final Music for a while. One would be hard pressed to find a talent equal to his in versatility and tonal quality.
Carnegie Hall, NYC, songs/canticles, Purcell/Britten


Iestyn Davies brings a charismatic, animated presence to the vengeful king Oberon. In a rare leading countertenor role, Davies’ sound is round, shimmering and focused.
New Jersey Star-Ledger
Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Metropolitain Opera, NY, 2013


The cast is... led by Iestyn Davies, calmly commanding as Oberon, king of the fairies. The punishing role mostly lacks the impressive high notes that are a countertenor’s stock in trade. But Mr. Davies is fearsomely eloquent and velvety in the middle and low parts of his voice, and his hushed aria I know a bank seemed as natural as speaking, his presence ominously dandyish.
Zachary Woolfe, New York Times
Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Metropolitain Opera, NY, 2013



It’s clear why Iestyn Davies has become one of the premier countertenors – his sound maintains a richness and warmth that is often missing in the countertenor voice. Oberon’s music frequently stays low in the countertenor’s range [...] Oberon’s opening aria Well go thy way is a gorgeous exposition for the singer, and Davies commanded the audience with his presence and vocal nuance.

Sophia Vastek, The Classical Review
Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Metropolitain Opera, NY, 2013


... Ferrier’s nearest contemporary male equivalent, Iestyn Davies...
Michael Church, The Independent
Britten Canticles - ROH Linbury Studio Theatre, London


Iestyn Davies, one of the most intelligent countertenors working today and a frequent performer of Canticles II and IV, sang an ideally characterised account of Isaac in the Chester Miracle Play setting.
Mark Valencia, Classical Source
Britten Canticles - ROH Linbury Studio Theatre, London


As Didymus, Davies gave the most accomplished performance I have heard from him over the past five years, always sensitively and beautifully sung. 
Parterre Box
Handel's Theodora in Montreal


Iestyn Davies is, quite simply, one of the very finest countertenors I have heard in many a year. His interpretations are quite without the mannered and artificial qualities that characterise the work of many countertenors; indeed, ‘natural’ is one of the first adjectives that springs to mind on hearing him. His singing has real delicacy and tenderness, supported by a great underlying strength and security. His beauty of tone seems always at the service of musical expression, rather than an object of self-indulgence. Add to this remarkable certainty of pitch and impressive clarity of diction and one has most of the qualities one could desire in a singer.

Seen and Heard International
Concert review




... Davies [is] among the world’s leading male altos. While the Yorkshire native’s pipes are perfectly suited to the demands of opera, his flawless singing and astoundingly pure timbre...

Time Out Chicago review of 2012


[Belshazzar's] thematic opposite is the Prophet Daniel (Iestyn Davies) whose unyielding piety is rather thankless but found transfiguring musical echo in the stern purity of Davies’ tone.
Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk
Belshazzar, Christie, Barbican, London

...since this Daniel was sung by countertenor Iestyn Davies, the effect was as spine-chilling as any staging could have been… Iestyn Davies’s performance was, as usual with that amazing singer, beautiful and compelling beyond words.
Michael Church, The Independent
Belshazzar, Christie, Barbican, London



Davies’s voice remains true to the English choral tradition, of which he is a product. Its purity is astonishing… it sounded effortless… technical accomplishment and dramatic poise…  in sections of Your Tuneful Voice from Semele, his voice had the delicacy and refinement of spider silk.
Laura Battle, Financial Times (£)
Wigmore Hall residency recital with Ensemble Matheus

[Davies could] have filled the hall twice over, because his unique sound – coupled with his refined artistry – has made him the countertenor of choice for everyone from Baroque specialists to Thomas Adès... trademark vibrato-free expressiveness, and his evenness of tone from top to bottom of the register… at the top of his form. Sento amor had a chaste, sustained beauty, and Ch’io parta (‘Must I depart?’) was exquisitely paced; the tempestuous rage of Furibondo spira il vento allowed him go out in a coloratura blaze; no surprise that he should be hauled back for an encore from Rodelinda.
Michael Church, The Independent
Wigmore Hall residency recital with Ensemble Matheus





Inwardness and pathos, and sophisticated melodic shaping are the order of the day. This magical disc…
Michael Dervan, The Irish Times
CD review: Arias for Guadagni


When, very near the end, that supreme young countertenor Iestyn Davies sang the Agnus Dei with such sublime, moving eloquence, it set the seal on an interpretation that had been conceived not only with the utmost care but with a depth of human feeling that was wholly enveloping.
Geoffrey Norris, The Telegraph
Bach B Minor Mass, BBC Proms 2012


[Davies] phrases with natural eloquence, unexaggeratedly alive to the meaning and colour of words... balances elegance and vehemence in the coloratura flourishes... O Lord, whose mercies (Saul) [is] the very voice of balm...  [an] imaginative, consummately sung programme from the brightest star among young British countertenors.

Richard Wigmore, Gramophone
CD review: Arias for Guadagni


Iestyn [Davies's] … singing really makes you sit up and listen…  Davies's sound is huge and dramatic, his range massive, his vibrato full-bodied and his top notes brilliant. He's capable of dazzling agility and, when he wants it, aching, piercing purity. It's the kind of voice that's perfectly suited to the fire, fury and anguished love of the Italian operatic baroque…
Kate Molleson, The Herald
Recital, Arias for Guadagni, Edinburgh International Festival


Nothing, however, could match the pure, unaffected simplicity of countertenor Iestyn Davies in the Agnus Dei. It was as good as you are likely to hear, ever.
Fiona Maddocks, The Observer
Bach B Minor Mass, BBC Proms 2012


Iestyn Davies... projected gloriously, with resonant musical intelligence.

Hilary Finch, The Sunday Times
Bach B Minor Mass, BBC Proms 2012


Iestyn Davies's Agnus Dei was unforgettable: a point of stillness amid the beating wings, a moment of dramatic genius from a composer who wrote no opera.
Anna Picard, The Independent
Bach B Minor Mass, BBC Proms 2012


... when counter-tenor Iestyn Davies sang his solos, his extraordinary tonal richness and imaginative phrasing combined into something truly unforgettable.
George Hall, The Guardian
Bach B Minor Mass, BBC Proms 2012


Another [highlight] was the poised beauty of countertenor Iestyn Davies' beseeching Agnus Dei.

Charlotte Gardner, The Arts Desk
Bach B Minor Mass, BBC Proms 2012


Iestyn Davies was his usual peerless self, sending his big sound up to the gods with effortless grace.

Michael Church, The Independent
Bach B Minor Mass, BBC Proms 2012


... clarity and a fabulous sense of line... projecting the vocal line with ease without ever forcing... exquisite beauty in the Agnus Dei.
Robert Hugill, OperaToday
Bach B Minor Mass, BBC Proms 2012


… [Davies's] voice infinitely melancholy [in Flow My Tears]… bountiful musicality… 

Martin Dreyer, York Press
Recital at the Ryedale Festival


Iestyn Davies was excellent. He sang Von den Stricken splendidly, his tone clear and evenly produced. Though the tempo was fairly swift – though not excessively so – Davies shaped the line expertly. Fittingly, he reserved his finest singing for Es ist vollbracht! Here, his delivery was technically outstanding and deeply affecting and the control was admirable. In fact, I can’t recall hearing a better account of the aria from a countertenor. The way Davies sang the last phrase of the aria was memorable in its simple intensity. With the benefit also of a fine gamba obbligato, this was a very special part of the whole performance.

John Quinn, Seen and Heard
St John Passion at the 2012 Three Choirs Festival



Davies' voice sets a new standard for natural voice production with a charismatic tone that's particularly welcome in music by some of the lesser composers on disc, whose operas are worth sampling rather than examining in complete form. Words flow clearly from his medium-weight voice, and even the more ornamental passages have emotional weight.
David Patrick Stearns, Sacramento Bee
CD review: Arias for Guadagni


… Iestyn Davies’ Ahasuerus… bright clear countertenor in Endless fame, thy days adorning…  His recitative in the climactic scene where Esther ventures into the king’s presence was thoroughly dramatic, as were his arias O beauteous Queen and How can I stay, delivered with lovely rounded tone… Ahasuerus’s duet with Esther (Carolyn Sampson), Who calls my parting soul from death?, displayed two finely-matched voices… The alto solo in the concluding chorus was sung by Davies, rather than the usual Mordecai, a wise decision, leading to a rousing finale...
Sandra Bowdler, Opera Britannia
Esther (Ahasuerus), Göttingen International Handel Festival 2012


Through his effortless line, countertenor Iestyn Davies revivifies Guadagni's Orphic powers. He is particularly breathtaking in works by Handel, Arne and John C Smith, all of which were designed to show off the castrato's pellucid timbre. Whether drawing out sustained notes or knitting together filigreed coloratura, he is a paragon of gallant taste: poised, cool and elegant. This is the world premiers recording of Guadagani's own composition, Pensa a serbami, o cara, and many other arias here are rarely heard; Davies makes us wonder why.
Berta Joncus, BBC Music Magazine
CD review: Arias for Guadagni


... fine, beautifully sung programme ... If Guadagni was noted for the delicacy of his phrasing and the richness of character in his voice, Davies fully emulates him in these performances of arias by Handel, Hasse and Arne, with defining interpretations of extracts from Gluck’s Orfeo and an eloquently poised aria by Guadagni himself.

Geoffrey Norris, The Telegraph
CD review: Arias for Guadagni

292 -b

Iestyn Davies recreates [Guadagni's] world without apology or nostalgia. This is a documentary snatch of singing style, vividly accompanied by the baroque group Arcangelo, with conductor Jonathan Cohen. Added to the unsuspected variety of musical invention, the listener has forbidden sense of peeking behind the curtain of history to observe opera at a critical moment in its formation. I was gripped by Iestyn Davies’s concept and by the controlled beauty of his boyish voice.
Norman Lebrecht, La Scena Musicale online
CD review: Arias for Guadagni


Iestyn Davies recreates [Guadagni's] world without apology or nostalgia. This is a documentary snatch of singing style, vividly accompanied by the baroque group Arcangelo, with conductor Jonathan Cohen. Added to the unsuspected variety of musical invention, the listener has forbidden sense of peeking behind the curtain of history to observe opera at a critical moment in its formation. I was gripped by Iestyn Davies’s concept and by the controlled beauty of his boyish voice.
Norman Lebrecht, La Scena Musicale online
CD review: Arias for Guadagni


It's a beautiful recital: 78 minutes of pure bliss for connoisseurs and beginners alike. Five stars.

David Mellor, Daily Mail
CD review: Arias for Guadagni


Iestyn Davies sings (these arias) superlatively well.

Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times
CD review: Arias for Guadagni



Iestyn Davies was sublime, his voice like a ruthless shard of musical obsidian slicing through the silence of St George’s, we held our breath as he reached the higher registers and the melancholic music took our souls and wrung them dry. His voice climbing and descending the tower of register that he commands with such effortless grace that it was as if he was practicing in a field somewhere. Rarely have I seen a performer more at ease with his voice, is just fell; like glittering sunshine, out of his mouth. It was an astonishing performance and the audience were suitably enthusiastic in their applause. 
Eric Page, Gscene
Brighton Festival, song recital, 'History Repeating'


Davies includes some of the showstoppers written for him by Handel and Arne, delivering them with wonderful finesse and flawless tone.
Tim Ashley, The Guardian
CD Review: Arias for Guadagni

… wide range of register and colour … — from a muscular, strong lower voice to a penetrating yet poignantly sweet high range. Davies knows how to spin an intimate narrative, almost like a confession, drawing the audience ever closer; by the final song the audience was collectively holding its breath, hardly daring to exhale and break the spell. The precision and control were deceptively effortless: it takes enormous skill and discipline to shape such expansive phrases, colouring individual words and subtly altering the dynamics, while maintaining narrative continuity. The vocal line was penetrating but never shrill; incisive and haunting, and at times unsettling, but always beautiful and warm.
Claire Seymour, Opera Today
Wigmore Hall song recital, 'History Repeating'

From the very opening moments of the concert, you knew you were in the presence of greatness. Davies has a glorious voice: full, clear, effective, one that immediately grabs you and never lets go. He sings with a remarkable ability to conjure up the perfect mood and he has a natural ability to sing with both musicality and precision.

Mary Rantala, Hyde Park Herald (Chicago, IL)
Chicago song recital, 'History Repeating'




Iestyn Davies, now in the stratosphere of top young international countertenors, sang Es ist vollbracht with a purity that held the entire audience stock still, moved but unmoving.
Fiona Maddocks, The Observer
St John Passion, Polyphony, St John's Smith Square


... self-effacing artistry...
Mark Valencia,
St John Passion, SJSS, London


Iestyn Davies, as the religious fanatic who is Rinaldo’s cohort, is a great countertenor, whose texture is pure and yet piercing. Davies performs with that step by step attention to detail which, in combination with the sheer beauty of his voice, makes him stand out wherever he appears. 

Susan Hall, Berkshire Fine Arts
Rinaldo (Eustazio), Lyric Opera, Chicago


While Daniels remains the most acclaimed countertenor of our time, it’s hard not to feel the torch will soon be passed to Davies as the leading high-voiced male singer of the next generation... extraordinary voice — unusually robust by countertenor standards, evenly produced from top to bottom, and able to encompass the most demanding music with seemingly little effort... pure, bell-like timbre and faultless technique... a spacious and expressive performance... pinpoint articulation and an almost jaunty swagger (in Their land brought forth frogs)… Davies threw off the fast central section (of The peasant tastes the sweets of life) with striking agility… refined yearning… unfailing musical taste... sincerity of expression... easy ability to handle complex Handelian roulades… blazing through dizzying coloratura flights with an almost offhand panache… soulful... confiding intimacy... quietly dazzling rendition of Despair no more shall wound me... touchingly inward Sento amor... raptly floated Ch’io parta.

Lawrence A Johnson, Chicago Classical Review
Handel concert, with Harry Bicket and the Chicago Baroque Band


The splendid British countertenor… as flawless as countertenor singing gets... because Davies has everything needed to make it so... one of the most sheerly beautiful male alto voices before the public. The warmth and sweetness of his timbre are allied to a splendid technique and musicality that allow him to shape, focus and spin long phrases with disarming ease and penetrating expressive intelligence over a wide range... an object-lesson in how ornamentation of the da capo section, when artfully applied, can enhance the emotion expressed in the text. […] Mark well the name Iestyn Davies. You're going to be hearing a lot from him in the years to come.

John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
Handel concert, with Harry Bicket and the Chicago Baroque Band

Davies is flat-out wonderful at [da capo ornamentation]... an amazing coloratura singer who opens out freely at the top of his range... But that’s where Davies’ art begins, not where it stops. The overwhelming impression is one of profound sentiment.
Nancy Malitz, Chicago On The Aisle
Handel concert, with Harry Bicket and the Chicago Baroque Band



As the problem-solving Crusader Eustazio, the fine countertenor Iestyn Davies displayed a focused and flexible lyric sound.

Heidi Waleson, Wall Street Journal
Rinaldo (Eustazio), Lyric Opera, Chicago


At times the young English countertenor Iestyn Davies, as the pious Eustazio, threatened to overshadow [ David Daniels ] with his bright, penetrating sound.

Mike Silverman, AP (syndicated)
Rinaldo (Eustazio), Lyric Opera, Chicago


Iestyn Davies, who has quickly moved to the top rank of countertenors, excelled as Eustazio, Goffredo’s valiant brother.
Antonio Tommasini, New York Times
Rinaldo (Eustazio), Lyric Opera, Chicago


British countertenor Iestyn Davies is another great discovery as Eustazio… clear and winning voice… 

Andrew Pataner, Chicago Sun-Times
Rinaldo (Eustazio), Lyric Opera, Chicago


The young English countertenor Iestyn Davies, as the general’s brother Eustazio, proved to be a find as well. The only time in the evening I regretted one of Harry Bicket’s artful cuts in the music was at the end of Act 1, when Eustazio is trying to put some wind back into the sails of the heartbroken Rinaldo with Col valor. Hearing the customary B-section and repeat would have been pleasurable indeed.

Nancy Melitz, Chicago on the Aisle
Rinaldo (Eustazio), Lyric Opera, Chicago


In the role of Eustazio, Iestyn Davies... made a quietly sensational company debut. The English countertenor contributed some of the most consistent vocalism of the evening as the priest/advisor, showing a rich-bodied, evenly produced voice. Davies handled his bravura arias with unflagging accuracy and ease, and led off Act 2 with a rapt, glowingly sung Siam prossimi al porto.

Lawrence A Johnson, Chicago Classical Review
Rinaldo (Eustazio), Lyric Opera, Chicago


The sweet-voiced Davies... reveals himself to be a Handelian of the first magnitude.
John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
Rinaldo (Eustazio), Lyric Opera, Chicago




Counter-tenors can be an acquired taste, but an increasing number of Iestyn Davies fans are acquiring that taste very quickly. A former Cambridge chorister, he still bears traces of that training in the purity and precision of his tone, but there’s a joyfulness, passion and imagination in his singing that mark him out as something special: he has already won Young Artist of the Year at the Royal Philharmonic Awards. Andreas Scholl has popularised counter-tenors; now there’s a whole new generation of them, and Davies is at its forefront.
Jessica Duchen, Spectator Arts blog


... grown-up, joyous musicianship.

The Arts Desk


... a simply gorgeous voice, pure in tone... rich in vocal color... full-bodied... a luminosity, a glow... an impeccable musician, with a technical mastery never displayed for its own sake... an extraordinary range of expressive nuances. Davies is a supremely gifted storyteller. [...] His riveting stage presence and almost confessional, confiding manner make the essence of texts communicating despair simply heartbreaking... superb phrasing, mastery of dynamics and ability to color words... narrative force and stunning word painting. His voice also has great flexibility, with a top that opens wide... even the most fiercely demanding coloratura with brio and spot on intonation. And his diction is superb...

Arlene Judith Klotzko, ConcertoNet
Debut recital, Carnegie Hall


… deep expressiveness… the leaping range of the Davies voice, his immaculate understanding of text… (in) Sento amor con novi dardi […] Davies' vocal decorations transported… Pure tone, firm pitch and clean projection characterized Davies' performance throughout. He is innately musical, and casts a line with perfectly expressed dynamics, from low to high, and soft to piercing…  brilliant young talent.
Susan Hall, Berkshire Fine Arts
Debut recital, Carnegie Hall


(Andreas Scholl's) voice is more beautiful than ever. Bertarido’s Act I aria… and his aria and duet with his wife at the end of Act II, were sublime, and could never be forgotten by anyone who saw and heard them. In the much smaller role of Unulfo, Bertarido’s loyal friend, Iestyn Davies was on the same level. They must be the two supreme counter-tenors in the world… 
Michael Tanner, The Spectator
  Rodelinda, Metropolitain Opera


… a singer of serenity and understatement… his artistry was all about detail work… barely detectable, chilling breaks between the words Es ist gnug, Herr; the stark paleness of his tone on the line Then up the hill and down the hill in the folk song The Bitter Withy; the small diminuendo on the final Hallelujah of Purcell’s Lord, What is Man… clarity and flexibility… In Music for a While, Mr Davies sang with a passionate sensuality fully contained within the rigorous constraints of Baroque form. 

New York Times
Debut recital, Carnegie Hall



Davies… delivered his three arias with hardly a suggestion of falsetto… a very impressive Fra tempeste funeste in Act 2 (one of the catchiest numbers in this work), with well-timed melodic ornamentations that fitted comfortably within the steady pulse of the music.

Currently impressing Met audiences in the revival of Rodelinda, this clear-voiced, deeply expressive countertenor... 

New York Times

... an unusually thoughtful and perceptive musician... an absolutely superb voice — supple, agile, beautifully controlled and effortless throughout its entire range... Davies handled [...] technical complexities [...] with impressive ease... directness and authenticity... gripping... powerful... A musician’s musician, Davies trimmed each song to its essentials, revealing unsuspected beauties and subtle details. 

Stephen Brookes, The Washington Post
Song recital, Phillips Collection, Washington DC


Davies showed impressive vocal precision and a sweetness of tone that worked perfectly with Unulfo’s good natured character.
Boston Examiner
  Rodelinda, Metropolitain Opera


Iestyn Davies is apparently the first British countertenor to sing at the Met, and he made a striking debut as Unulfo, his acting as sympathetic as his singing was beautiful – Fra tempeste was a high point of the evening. 

Melanie Eskanazi, MusicOMH
  Rodelinda, Metropolitain Opera


... the cantatas are sung by counter-tenor Iestyn Davies, displaying all the control and musicality required of his great predecessor Farinelli. Davies is simply a delight to listen to. There is scarcely a moment when technical limitations intrude and everything is sung with his familiar musicality. We really feel transported to the chamber of a great prince, privileged to overhear the singer entertaining his patron. […] An attractive disc of civilised entertainment which wears its learning and musicality lightly; lovers of fine singing should not hesitate.

Robert Hugill, MusicWeb International
CD review, Porpora cantatas

… the most important new counter tenor, Iestyn Davies… 
Berkshire Fine Arts
Rodelinda, Metropolitain Opera

… the remarkable countertenor Iestyn Davies, playing the deposed king’s trusty aide, Unulfo. Making his Met debut in this run, Mr Davies has a bright, penetrating voice and a keen musical intelligence; he phrased with utter naturalness and pointed the text with clarity. Not every countertenor can fill the Met, and Mr Davies does it not with size but with clarity.

New York Observer
Rodelinda, Metropolitain Opera

First-rate countertenor Iestyn Davies made a memorable Met debut in the role of the counsellor Unulfo. A winning actor, Davies has a substantial and agreeably pungent voice, and he is a beautiful musician, too, negotiating the never-ending runs in Sono i colpi della sorte and the tricky intervals in Fra tempeste funeste with both precision and a delectable lilt.

The Classical Review
Rodelinda, Metropolitain Opera


... the first time in the Met's 131-year history that a British countertenor will have graced its stage.
Rodelinda, Metropolitain Opera

Countertenor Iestyn Davies brings a potent and beautifully balanced voice to Unulfo, the king's loyal counsellor.

The New Yorker
Rodelinda, Metropolitain Opera

The English countertenor Iestyn Davies made his Met debut as Unulfo, singing with a plump, even tone and excellent agility
New York Times
Rodelinda, Metropolitain Opera

Countertenor Iestyn Davies made his Met debut in the smaller role of Unulfo. Mr. Davies sang with great agility and the promise of bigger roles to come.
Rodelinda, Metropolitain Opera
The principal lures of Rodelinda have been the countertenors… the seasoned Andreas Scholl and the outstanding newcomer Iestyn Davies.
New York Times
Rodelinda, Metropolitain Opera


... beautifully shaped and coloured singing...

Andrew Clements, The Guardian
CD review, Porpora cantatas


Iestyn Davies, today's most exciting British countertenor... an awesome technique and flawless tone... Recommended.

Stephen Pritchard, The Observer
CD review, Porpora cantatas




[In] selecting Iestyn Davies to perform them, Hyperion has made a very wise choice indeed... Here he is very much the headline act and he is never anything other than deeply impressive... I never once tired of Davies' voice. There is not just a clarity and purity about it but also a wonderful sense of colour and variety. A sense of style, yes, but more than that a strongly communicative urge which brings everything vivdly to life in arresting and often extremely attractive interpretations.

Marc Rochester, International Record Review, October 2011
CD review, Porpora cantatas


These six Italian cantatas by the baroque composer Nicola Porpora, all to texts by Metastasio, are perfectly tailored to the mellifluous, beautifully articulated, expressive countertenor voice of Iestyn Davies...

Geoffrey Norris, The Telegraph
CD review, Porpora cantatas


It's testimony to the extraordinary interest which counter-tenor Iestyn Davies now arouses that his weekday lunchtime recital was packed... Davies characterised each song so persuasively... his pre-eminence in both Elizabethan music and late nineteenth-century Romanticism... Music For a While [is] his calling-card... the opening phrase rang out with spine-tingling beauty; the final cadence set the seal on a perfect hour.

Michael Church, The Independent
Iestyn Davies and Julius Drake, Wigmore Hall recital


The star of the show was Davies’ voice, a remarkable natural instrument... Davies judged his vibrato and tone very carefully and movingly for In darkness let me dwell... Um mitternacht, from Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder, was powerfully wrought, the ever-watchful [Julius] Drake subsiding to a soaring climax from Davies, taking the higher notes in his stride... Davies, singing [...] from memory, had a remarkable grasp of phrase and melody. His encore, Purcell’s Music for a while, was beautifully restrained.

Ben Hogwood,
Iestyn Davies and Julius Drake, Wigmore Hall recital


... excellent cast led by the brilliant Mr Davies
Zachary Woolfe, New York Times
Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream - English National Opera


.. several [singers] stood out... especially Iestyn Davies in the countertenor role of Oberon, his voice sweet and strong, his diction perfect.
Huntley Dent, Berkshire Review
  A Midsummer Night's Dream - English National Opera


Davies is particularly good, as dramatically anguished in the despairing aria Rompo I lacci as he is eloquently beautiful in Amor, nel mio pena. The dexterity and tone of his voice is truly extraordinary.  

2MBS, Sydney
   Flavio, CD on Chandos


(Oberon...) superbly sung by Iestyn Davies, his lustrous countertenor voice [...] (seemed) in fine fettle as he played his chain-smoking and disturbing character.
Colin Anderson, The Opera Critic
A Midsummer Night's Dream - English National Opera


... Davies's subtle acting... 
Lottie Greenhow,
A Midsummer Night's Dream - English National Opera


... daring... a notably charismatic Davies
Anna Picard, The Independent
A Midsummer Night's Dream - English National Opera


Iestyn Davies was all gliding tread and sinister intent [...] eerie purity and projection...

Alexandra Coghlan, The New Statesman
A Midsummer Night's Dream - English National Opera


... Oberon, excellently sung here by Iestyn Davies.. 

Helen Wallace,
A Midsummer Night's Dream - English National Opera


The crème-fraîche timbre of Davies’s voice compounded his disturbing presence as a creepily paedophilic schoolteacher, and his silken countertenor was laced with a stinging edge of the kind Britten would have relished.. 

Mark Valencia,
A Midsummer Night's Dream - English National Opera



Davies continues to prove himself one of the most interesting, versatile and polished countertenors before the public. 

Opera News
CD review: J S Bach Easter and Ascension Oratorios, Linn Records

Iestyn Davies sails through Saget, saget mir geschwinde (Tell me, tell me quickly) with the sort of ease that was unimaginable from a countertenor a quarter-century ago. 

San Francisco Classical Voice
CD review: J S Bach Easter and Ascension Oratorios, Linn Records

David was played by Iestyn Davies with a beautiful sense of line, creating sheer beauty with the magic of his voice. 

Robert Hugill
Handel's Saul. London Handel Festival 2011

Iestyn Davies’s beautifully paced and articulated Ach, bleibe doch, mein liebstes Leben, [reflects] his position as one of the promising countertenors to hit the scene in recent years..

Andrew Benson-Wilson, Early Music Review
CD review: J S Bach Easter and Ascension Oratorios, Linn Records

... Iestyn Davies’s plangent alto stands out among the soloists... he has this Ascension Oratorio’s plum aria, Ach bleibe doch...  and sings it quite ravishingly.

Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times
CD review: J S Bach Easter and Ascension Oratorios, Linn Records

Iestyn Davies è una superba Voice of Apollo, voce controtenorile di bel colore e volume.
  Death in Venice, La Scala, Milan

Iestyn Davies as the Voice of Apollo was perfect. 

Giuseppe Pennisi, Music & Vision
Death in Venice, La Scala, Milan

On ne peut qu'admirer... la beauté vocale du contre-ténor Iestyn Davies, Apollon de feu et de grâce.

Marie-Aude Roux, Le Monde
Death In Venice at La Scala, Milan


The more poignant sections - and there are a couple of Bach's most affecting examples, exhibited in the gorgeous arias for tenor in the Easter and for alto in the Ascension - are accompanied with thoughtful care and sung as well as we could hope for, by James Gilchrist in the former and Iestyn Davies in the latter. 

David Vernier,
CD review: J S Bach Easter and Ascension Oratorios, Linn Records


... a star-studded band of soloists that include the ... furiously agile countertenor Iestyn Davies. 

KennethWalton, The Scotsman
CD review: J S Bach Easter and Ascension Oratorios, Linn Records



... eerie stillness that Davies’s controlled pianissimo achieved so brutally [in Merula’s Canzonetta spirituale sopra alla nanna]. 
Alexandra Cochlan,
Recital marking John Gilhooly's ten years as Director of Wigmore Hall


Iestyn Davies, singing Guido, the role written for the star castrato Senesino, is excellent, with an evenly produced voice of great suppleness. 
Ron Salemi, Fanfare magazine
CD review: Handel's Flavio (Chaconne)


Davies’s was the perfect voice to mark the occasion; indeed his expressive, ethereal upper register makes his the perfect voice to mark any occasion. 
Michael Arditti, The Express
Recital marking John Gilhooly's ten years as Director of Wigmore Hall


... the extraordinary range of [Davies'] technical accomplishments, musical insights and dramatic embodiments. Unaffected and assured, he does not seek to impose himself upon the music; rather, his easeful stage presence and innate appreciation of the requirements of each particular musical medium allows the music itself to rise to the fore. The voice never distracts; it is only at the final cadence that one realises how supremely the song has been served.  [...] fresh, unaffected voice... Davies’ breath control is extraordinary... extravagant vocal gymnastics... dramatic poise, moving effortlessly between [...] moods... [his] ornamental invention and virtuosic elasticity quite simply took one’s breath away. However complicated the line, the voice remained unhindered and light.

Claire Seymour, Opera Today
Recital marking John Gilhooly's ten years as Director of Wigmore Hall


There isn’t a weak spot in the entire vocal range of Iestyn Davies. Whether in the sustained low register of dark lament, or whether hurling the voice high in the exuberance of triumphant love, his is a countertenor which gives unalloyed pleasure. No distracting ego projection or self-consciousness either: simply a strength of musicianship and imagination which grip the attention in every second.

Hilary Finch, The Times (£)
Recital marking John Gilhooly's ten years as Director of Wigmore Hall


... his enchanting voice, including a strong, even, lower register and that "column of sound" so desirable in a countertenor... it all seemed so relaxed and effortless... powerful recitative... glorious coloratura [...] Pianti, sospiri (was) simply stunning and delivered with verve, wit and the technical assurance of a man whose time has come. Without any hint of arrogance or pomposity - indeed quite the opposite, with a still-youthful charm and presence - Iestyn Davies just commands the stage and lets his voice take over. It's clear why the world's leading opera houses are booking him for years ahead [...] a simple, plaintive, Irish folk song (in honour of Mr Gilhooly), where the exquisitely-sung, unaccompanied, last verse generated a deafening silence in the Hall.
Recital marking John Gilhooly's ten years as Director of Wigmore Hall


Iestyn Davies’ performance was remarkable not only for its easy confidence in dealing with a melancholy subject [Schubert’s Totengräber’s Heimweh] but its ability go straight to the heart of both text and music. [...] virtuosity and close understanding (in) Queste pungenti spine which was a model of nuanced expression and florid decoration, culminating in a superb mesa di voce at Ancor non senti amore. [...] Vivaldi's Pianti, sospiri ... a display of liquid tone, elegant phrasing and bravura execution of fiendishly demanding music [...] a barnstorming Furibondo spiro il vento and a sensitively controlled, beautifully phrased account of She moved through the fair which was received with one of those silences which make (Wigmore Hall) the unique place that it is.

Melanie Eskanazi,
Recital marking John Gilhooly's ten years as Director of Wigmore Hall


... Davies’s falsetto at its most austere. Yet there was emotional depth, Davies investing a Kapsberger lullaby with the solemnity of a funeral ode... Cantatas by Porpora and Vivaldi allowed Davies greater freedom, with recitatives conversational, arias high-flying and ornate... a precise blend of celestial purity and bar-room intensity... 

Nick Kimberley, London's Evening Standard
Recital marking John Gilhooly's ten years as Director of Wigmore Hall


Then there was Davies. Posing a real threat to the supremacy of Daniels, Scholl, Jaroussky and the like, this young British countertenor has been quietly building up his reputation both at home and internationally, and is now a rounded performer of serious heft.[...] such innate musicality and flexibility as to efface itself into the repertoire. The result is assured, with a generosity to its authority that needs not demand attention. [...] ... Davies's hitherto underused coloratura. His lightness of tone (which somehow still remains fully supported) flits its way with comfortable ease around even the most awkward of patterns, and the move away from the score also allowed his dramatic skills to emerge more clearly, displaying none of the physical awkwardness that seems to blight so many of our younger British singers.[...] there was nothing left to be desired. Glorious music, well researched and performed with no less love than skill... 
Alexandra Coghlan, TheArtsDes
Recital marking John Gilhooly's ten years as Director of Wigmore Hall


Iestyn Davies, the hot young British countertenor [who] can do so much more with his voice than his equivalents could manage less than a generation ago.  Resurrect Alfred Deller and Davies would sing him off the stage. The almost offhand fluency and eloquence he brought to a whole batch of music... was miraculous.

Michael White, Catholic Herald
Recital marking John Gilhooly's ten years as Director of Wigmore Hall



British countertenor Iestyn Davies gave full value as Creonte, offering the best voice of its type to come from the UK in recent years and an impressive musicality combined with all-around stage assurance.

George Hall, Opera News
Niobe, Regina di Tebe, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden


... an achingly beautiful account of the alto part in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio... hardly any of the music is easy to sing, so it’s not surprising that soloists who can do it justice are thin on the ground. Nun wird mein liebster Bräutigam and Schliesse, mein Herze showed why everyone wants Iestyn Davies – his elegant yet affecting phrasing, beautiful tone and seemingly effortless delivery gave constant pleasure.

Melanie Eskanazi,
J S Bach's Christmas Oratorio , St John's Smith


... a stellar line-up of soloists including incomparable counter-tenor Iestyn Davies, all was right with the world. Here the Protean Davies – fresh from starring in Handel’s Messiah at the Wigmore Hall - employed a cleanly instrumental sound... 

Michael Church, The Independent
J S Bach's Christmas Oratorio , St John's Smith Square


... at the pinnacle, countertenor Iestyn Davies, who just goes from strength to strength. The full range and expression of his remarkable voice was employed for But who may abide; the delicacy so evident in an exquisite rendering of He shall feed his flock was simply spell-binding. He alternates with ease between lively ornamentation and plaintive, spiritual high notes which can leave no-one untouched.
Messiah , Early Opera Company, Wigmore Hall


Davies added an element of poignancy and focus that was unforgettable in his arias (a heart-stopping He was despised), tactfully decorated to give the repeats a graceful variety and lift. The concentration, delivery, fullness and spirituality to his voice have never sounded more satisfying.

Peter Reed,
Messiah , Early Opera Company, Wigmore Hall


...  in counter-tenor Iestyn Davies and baritone Derek Welton the EOC had trump cards [...] Davies scooped the pool in this year’s Royal Philharmonic Society awards after a string of brilliant operatic performances, and his voice is now acquiring a clarion quality. Looking like a thoroughly dissolute fallen angel, he sang here like one from heaven; his delivery of He shall feed his flock, over shuddering strings, was one of the evening’s many magical moments.

Michael Church, The Independent
Messiah, Early Opera Company, Wigmore Hall


... touch the heart strings the way Deller did (or more recently Iestyn Davies at this year's Proms in Cadogan Hall) 

Robert Hugill


... den famosen britischen Countertenor Iestyn Davies... ene so kultiviert abgerundete, füllig- voluminöse Stimme können die Wenigsten seines Fachs aufbieten. Das wurde besonders im direkten „Duell" mit seinem Gegenspieler Robin Blaze(Adalberto) deutlich, ein Händelscher Geniestreich an musikalischer Dramaturgie. 
Die Presse
 Handel's Ottone , Theater an der Wien


Iestyn Davies uses his voice... skillfully and often (as in his angry aria Rompo i lacci) with a conviction which should convince skeptics that the countertenor can be an effective dramatic force.   

Hugh Canning, The Classical Review
 Handel's Flavio , CD on Chandos


Davies's Guido - the 'first man' part, though not the title-role - is a major achievement for the young countertenor in his first starring role on disc: his distinctive, delectably androgynous timbre in the ravishing L'armellin vita non cura, which here emerges as one of Handel's greatest arias in reflectivemode. He is no less compelling in bravura numbers, dashing off the coloratura volleys of Rompo i lacciwith insouciant ease and consistently pearly tone. 

Hugh Canning, International Record Review
 Handel's Flavio, CD on Chandos


Intimacy and freshness make this [recording] a breathtaking performance. Davies's celebrated timbre – translucent, warm, pure... 

Berta Joncus, BBC Music magazine
Solo CD on Wigmore Live label


Davies is simply the full package - stage presence, vocal prowess and keen musicianship.

Ed Breen, WhatsonStage
Niobe, Regina di Tebe, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden


... counter-tenor Iestyn Davies takes his first leading role at Covent Garden, Creonte, with remarkable success — their "love duet" is perhaps the vocal highpoint of the evening... 

Hugh Canning, Sunday Times Arts Blog
Niobe, Regina di Tebe, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden


Iestyn Davies... projecting with uncanny sweetness and ease.

Anna Picard, Independent on Sunday
Niobe, Regina di Tebe, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden


... Creonte, Prince of Thessaly, sung by counter tenor Iestyn Davies, who is fast rising to international standard, with his unforced high notes.

Clare Colvin, Express
Niobe, Regina di Tebe, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden


Iestyn Davies provides one of the evening’s best performances as Creonte

George Hall, The Stage
Niobe, Regina di Tebe, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden


(Niobe’s/Gens') breathily sexy aria with Creonte (an excellent Iestyn Davies) was one of several show-stoppers

Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian
Niobe, Regina di Tebe, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden


Excellent singing from Iestyn Davies

Richard Morrison, The Times
Niobe, Regina di Tebe, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden


One of the score’s highlights is (Niobe's/Gens') beautiful aria in duetto with the elegant Iestyn Davies

Edward Seckerson, The Independent
Niobe, Regina di Tebe, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden


Iestyn Davies also deserves special mention among a uniformly strong cast

Barry Millington, London Evening Standard
Niobe, Regina di Tebe, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden


... elegant... countertenor Iestyn Davies's controlled, carefully phrased and ardent contributions - and certainly Davies won the clean coloratura competition
Igor Toronyi-Lalic, The Arts Desk
Niobe, Regina di Tebe, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden


[...] with a counter-tenor voice as firmly expressive and stage-worthy as his, [Iestyn Davies] deserves all his prizes. This live Wigmore Hall recital ... doesn't catch all the man's charms: you can't be wickedly funny singing Handel's German Arias. But the memorial pieces by Purcell and Blow are divinely elegiac... perfect rapport with the virtuoso musicians of Ensemble Guadagni.

Solo CD on Wigmore Live
Geoff Brown, The Times


... strong, precise countertenor... There's no trace in Davies' delivery of the epicene floridity to which some countertenors can be prey: rather, emotional acuity prevails, most impressively so in Purcell's Gentle shepherds, you that know, delivered with commendable poise.
Solo CD on Wigmore Live
Andy Gill, The Independent


Davies's technical brilliance never fails to impress and his performances display a vivid musical imagination and a compelling sense of rhetoric...

Matthew O'Donovan, Classical Music
Solo CD on Wigmore Live


Davies is among the finest of that current crop of British countertenors equipped with intelligent, sensitive musicianship and a carefully honed technique that enables apparently easeful singing. His voice has an alluring, distinctive richness, and this recital, in which he is sensitively and variously partnered by members of Ensemble Guadagni, tells us that he's also adept at programme planning... Davies is his most affecting in the tender Süsse stille, saufte Quelle, ... even when the music is fast he maintains an essential intimacy.
Stephen Pettitt, The Sunday Times
Solo CD on Wigmore Live


[...] the countertenor of the moment with a translucent voice that has no trace of the wobbly feminine bloom or hootiness that can haunt lesser singers. Like Andreas Scholl, there is a sinewy edge to the sound that is unmistakably masculine, however ethereal the music, a quality he amply demonstrates on this... recording... choosing (and sometimes transposing) works that show off his voice to best lyrical effect, chief among them Handel's Nine German Arias, though my favourite is his simply wondrous interpretation of Purcell's sublime Evening Hymn.

Stephen Pirtchard, The Guardian
Solo CD on Wigmore Live


The captivating counter-tenor voice of Iestyn Davies has already graced several recordings, but this is the first CD on which he performs an entire solo programme and it is a pure delight. Handel’s Nine German Arias form the larger part of the programme and their variety alone points to the many ways Davies can respond to shadings of expression.There is the lyrical tranquillity of Süsse Stille, sanfte Quelle, the gently admonitory Die ihr aus dunkeln Grüften and the effervescent Das zitternde Glänzen der spielenden Wellen. Davies reveals each aria’s individuality with a seemingly effortless but telling sense of style. Elsewhere, Davies traces an affecting range of melancholy, reflection and quiet bliss through pieces by Blow, Purcell and Buxtehude. He is a major vocal talent that is blossoming gloriously.
Solo CD on Wigmore Live
Geoffrey Norris, Daily Telegraph

The Saturday-morning programme, given in the Pittville Pump Room by the viol consort Fretwork and the superbly pure-voiced countertenor Iestyn Davies, encompassed not only three searingly chromatic Gesualdo songs, and two by Wolf, but melancholy effusions by Dowland, Warlock and Britten, the accompaniment for viols proving in the modern cases oddly effective. Britten’s grief-stricken, overwhelming folk-song treatment, O waly, waly, elicited Davies’s finest mastery, and was, for me, a textbook instance of those shivers down the spine.

Paul Driver, Sunday Times
Recital, Chetenham Festival

Dryden's Music for a While, set by Purcell, also gave the title to Iestyn Davies's morning recital with Fretwork, where the immaculate sound of Davies's countertenor did beguile all cares. His delivery seems understated, yet every syllable and emotion is carefully focused as to draw the listener into the heart of the music; melancholic anguish in the case of John Dowland, sexual in that of Carlo Gesualdo.

Fretwork's performance of music for viol consort by William Lawes paled slightly in comparison with the thrilling glow of Davies's singing, but the partnership realised a creative dynamic with bass violist Richard Boothby's arrangements of 20th-century English songs by Warlock and Britten. The viols' misty aura was magic and underlined the potent resonance of early English composers for those later. The exquisite artistry of the word-painting – Davies sweet-toned, yet often darkly distinctive of timbre – made it unforgettable.

Rian Evan, the Guardian
Recital, Cheltenham Festival


The one soloist who truly stood out was countertenor Iestyn Davies. Paradoxically, his ethereal voice was ideally suited to bringing out the reverential nature of the words in Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, while in the latter stages of Agnus Dei it suddenly hit an even more spiritual realm.

Bach B Minor Mass


... Davies showed all the vocal and musical range Handel's pampered castratos were famous for...

Judith Malafronte, Opera News , June 2010


The English countertenor Iestyn Davis was a very good Hamor, Iphis' fiancé, who finally loses her to God. He confirmed the excellent impression he left in Handel’s Theodora last October at Madrid's Teatro Real.
Handel's Jephta


... an intense and touching beauty... 

Michael White, Catholic Herald
English song recital, Middle Temple Hall


Iestyn Davies and Anthony Roth Costanzo, two impressive young countertenors, rendered the evening a treat. 

New York Times
Partenope, New York City Opera


... the experienced Iestyn Davies, who brought a penetrating sound and vocal bloom to the role of Arsace...  

Wall Street Journal
Partenope, New York City Opera


... Iestyn Davies's performance of the very difficult Furibondo spira il vento would have to be considered the opera's show stopper. 
MusicWeb International
Partenope, New York City Opera


... Iestyn Davies, the beautiful countertenor who performs the role of Arsace [...] Partenope is a wonderful launching pad for Davies' agile and elegantly expressive voice.   He seems a natural. [...]  Davies brings down the house withhis aria at the end of Act II.  [...] Senesino was reportedly a great Arsace, although his g appeared rarely and in later years he did not go above d.  We may have a new Senesino, without those limitations, in Davies.
Partenope, New York City Opera


Welsh countertenor Iestyn Davies possessed the most beautiful voice of the night, an opulent, sensuous alto that easily filled the house, calling to mind both David Daniels and Bejun Mehta in its quality, ardor, intensity of emotional focus and mastery of fioritura...

Opera Today
Partenope, New York City Opera


The radiant countertenor Iestyn Davies is superb as Arsace
New York Times
Partenope, New York City Opera


Countertenor Iestyn Davies, impassioned and elegant, gave one of the best vocal performances of the season.

Partenope, New York City Opera
New York Observer


The singers were two brilliant young countertenors, Iestyn Davies and Anthony Roth Costanzo [...]. The two singers both took on the role of princes, and they were princes as singers. [...] It is hard to imagine that we will not hear much more of the solid and powerful voice of Mr Davies... 

The Edge
Partenope, New York City Opera


The night belonged to Iestyn Davies, who played one of the titular monarch Partenope’s suitors to perfection. Pure in tone, Davies’s countertenor packed heft and heat, making for three of the evening’s most stirring musical moments. His Ch’io parta?left nary a dry eye in the house. 

Time Out
Partenope, New York City Opera


Welsh countertenor Iestyn Davies stopped the show with Arsace's second-act closer, Furibondo, cleanly flinging out page after page of elaborate coloratura depicting emotional torment.

New York Post
Partenope, New York City Opera


The vocal star of the night was Iestyn Davies as the conflicted Arsace. He sang with a luminous, creamy countertenor and offered a moving rendition of Ch’io parta? during the Act III scene where he begs Rosmira for forgiveness.

New York Times
Partenope, New York City Opera


The British countertenor Iestyn Davies, who's a sensation across the pond, made a commanding Orpheus

The Hub Review
Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice (except) 


... music evocative of a wide range of emotion, built around the story of a hero’s descent into the underworld to reclaim his wife.  Countertenor Iestyn Davies... well matched the drama of the orchestra with his presentation.

Fenway News
Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice (except) 


... an appealing, pure voice and a poised delivery...
Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice (exerpt) 



By some distance, however, the stand-out soloist is counter-tenor Iestyn Davies. Some recordings, including the aforementioned ones directed by Harry Christophers and Trevor Pinnock, split the alto arias between a male and a female singer. Generally I prefer this because I feel some arias, such as He was despised suit a female voice. I can only say that Davies’s singing completely stills any such objection. He opens with a wonderful account of But who may abide, the da caposensitively and imaginatively decorated. The central section, For he is like a refiner’s fire, is bitingly incisive and the orchestral strings attack the music with gusto - some may be taken aback by this - and with tremendous use of dynamic contrast, all of which acts as a marvellous foil to Davies’s fiery singing. I love his fluent delivery of O thou that tellest, where his excellent use of ornamentation enhances the vocal line beautifully. He reserves some of his best singing for He was despised, which he sings with dignity and fine expression. His performance is beautifully controlled, both musically and emotionally, and the da capo section is even more expressive than what has gone before. Everything Davies does in this Messiah enhances his growing reputation.

John Quinn, MusicWeb International
Polyphony's Messiah recording


The well-rounded tone and technical precision of Iestyn Davies's singing is easy to enjoy, but it is equally significant that his ornamentation in But who may abide is masterful for its stylish vocabulary and expressive wisdom.

Gramophone magazine
Polyphony's Messiah recording


Suzy Klein: 
My great performer of 2009 is the countertenor Iestyn Davies. He's just everywhere. I think he's a phenomenal talent - he's got everything. This exquisite voice - he can just stand there and conjure up a note out of thin air. And he's a lovely actor to watch, It doesn't matter how many people are on the stage with him, he has this very quiet charisma. He's a great all-round performer, a really exciting, talented guy.

James Bowman: 
I agree entirely. I think he's fantastic. What I admire about him is the poise. When you see him performing, there's no fidgeting, the face is calm and collected, focused. And the sound is so even. I hate him! Hah! No, I think he's wonderful and for one so young it's pretty phenomenal.

BBC Radio 3, Sunday Morning, review of 2009


The soloists are on top-notch form, especially Iestyn Davies and especially with the ornamentation and authority in But who may abide. Tremendously exciting. 'Refiner's fire' has never come across quite so violently or potently as it does here. 

David Vickers on BBC Radio 3 CD Review
Polyphony's Messiah recording


Iestyn Davies' natural, open-hearted countertenor is a joy to hear
Polyphony's Messiah recording


... clear, powerful... impressive... the weighty sadness of Davies' He was despised.

Twin Cities
Messiah, Minneapolis USA


Davies’s extraordinary vocal elasticity, clarity, and breath control [...] transports us to a realm where the voice is pure spirit. The effect is sublime.
Daily Express
Wigmore Hall solo recital


Iestyn Davies... with a flutey, full-blooded counter-tenor that perfectly complemented the sweet, pristine soprano of Carolyn Sampson in the title role... The hushed concluding duet arrived with a ravishing sense of consummation. Not for the first time, a performance of Theodora seemed to make the earth move.
The Guardian


Countertenor Iestyn Davies, who played the closet Christian Didymus, gave a compelling performance with the coloratura conveyed with exuberant ease. One of the many highlights was his rendition of The Raptur’d Soul Defies the Sword.
Gavin Engelbrecht, Northern Echo


Didymus, the chaste Theodora’s friend, was the British countertenor Iestyn Davies, who was extremely convincing and sangvery well. We'll have another opportunity to see him again next month in Agrippina which should be well worth a visit.
Handel/Theodora/Gabrieli Consort/McCreesh


Iestyn Davies was superb ... the purity of his voice, the exquisite breath control, lyricism of line... the rich tapestry of colours, the variation intone, dynamics and emphasis, and the occasional hints of baritonal splendour (yet never coming out of the counter-tenor mode)... mpressive stage presence... [In Partenope or Samson, he becomes the character and communicates this to the audience.] A different setting called for adifferent behaviour; he showed that he understood the words...  and also that he grasped the thoughts and sentiments that inspired them and understood how the music reflected them.

Proms, London


... Iestyn Davies’s quite beefy countertenor...  Tis Nature’s Voice, commandingly sung by Davies, with a full array of elaborate decorations, always in the service of the words and music. Davies’s tone is not as sweet as that of Scholl, nor is his technique as yet so prodigious, but he has an astringency in the timbre which is most affecting in this music, and ideal for the interpretation of such phrases as 'To court the ear or strike the Heart', and the sensuous quality of his enunciation at the word 'charms' is most engaging. [...] most of us have only rarely heard [Sweeter than roses] sung as it was here, with the ideal blend of sensuality at 'the dear kiss' and youthful exuberance at 'What magic has victorious love!'   [...] a powerfully moving performance of John Blow’s Ode on the Death of Mr Henry Purcell   [...] An Evening Hymn, mellifluously sung by the countertenor to complete an hour of bliss for lovers of Purcell’s music.
Melanie Eskanazi,
Proms, London


Davies has a great stage manner that really suits chamber music concerts such as this. His voice is bright, forward and full of personality and he has an even quality throughout his range that really projects the low passages in Purcell's writing. What is also impressive is the range of expression that he can employ without having to sing too loudly, a quality that is particularly beneficial when working with early instruments...  Davies was a really passionate communicator of the poetry and leaned into the dissonant qualities [of Sweeter than Roses] to give a moving performance. There were some beautifully crafted imitative passages between the two singers [in Blow's Ode on the Death of Mr Henry Purcell, with Simon Wall, tenor] and a really excellent solo section from Davies.

Ed Breen,
Proms, London


In the select world of countertenors, there’s always one who sets the pace... on the evidence of the last 18 months, I suggest that in Iestyn Davies we have the new countertenor king-in-waiting.

Davies may be built like a whippet, but, as we’ve seen with his performances at English National Opera, he has that mysterious quality of always drawing the eye (and ear) when sharing the stage with others. When he has it to himself, he’s mesmerising, so it made good sense for the final Chamber Prom to be largely devoted to him... The programme was wall-to-wall Purcell, plus the long lament on Purcell’s early death by John Blow... . 

First Davies sang ‘Tis Nature’s Voice... His intimate and confidential manner seemed designed to set off the music’s highly-ornamented melismas... his sound developed a compelling power, particularly in the lower register. Then came Music for a while, which might have evoked memories of Bowman, had the sound not been so utterly different. Perfectly paced, and phrased as befitting a poem which is just one single sustained thought, this was a piece of high vocal artistry, as was Sweeter than roses... 

There’s steel in his sound, and not a trace of the femininity you hear in Daniels’s; Davies has gravity, unaffected directness, and that rare ability to bring a note seemingly out of nowhere, and make it sing. But he still sounds boyish and vulnerable: it will be fascinating to see how he develops over the next few years. 

Michael Church, The Independent
Proms, London


... Chamber Prom, which soared up to the heights without any neurotic breast-beating... Some of the high points you could predict, like Iestyn Davies’s way of floating the tune of Evening Hymn over Reiko Ochise’s viola da gamba bass... 
Ivan Hewitt, Daily Telegrap
Proms, London


... Music for a While and Sweeter than Roses [were] sublimely handled by Davies... Davies has an impressive voice, he manages to be at home in Italian opera but can still turn on the necessary tone and edge to make these Purcell pieces work. His is not the soft option, but a really keenly voiced, profoundly moving account.
Robert Hugill
Proms, London


The performance was definitely worth attending, for [...] Iestyn Davies’s luminous Micah... 

Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times
Samson, Proms, London


Susan Gritton's all-too-brief appearance as the wheedling Dalila was flawless, as was Iestyn Davies's Micah. 

Barry Millington, Evening Standard
Samson, Proms, London


Iestyn Davies, piping nimbly as Micah, the story’s guide...    
Geoff Brown, The Times
Samson, Proms, London


... as Micah, Iestyn Davies's superb musicianship combined with the translucent beauty of his countertenor to raise his secondary character to the centre of attention.    
George Hall, The Guardian
Samson, Proms, London


Micah, sung by the inimitable Iestyn Davies, provides a wonderful contrast to this anguished moment with his recitative that follows. His honeyed tones bring endless pleasure to what seems to me the best part in the oratorio. He manoeuvres effortlessly through demanding semiquaver passages, for example in his last air of Act 1, and delivers the most amazingly-articulate 't's. Each flies like the sharpest of arrows right to the very back of the hall; not one could be missed by a single audience member. For me, the highlight has to be the tones of Davies; his silky tones were a hidden jewel in the crown of this most enjoyable performance of a Handel classic. Let's hope it's not too long before it's back at the Proms again.
Claudine Nightingale,
Samson, Proms, London


But for me, the highlight was undoubtedly Iestyn Davies, and the highlight of his performance was Return, O God of hosts! But throughout he was just wonderful. Such a beauty of tone, amazing breath control, such expression, dramatic insight. And loud. I'm not someone who judges a singer solely on their volume, and I would far rather listen to a good quiet singer than a loud one with an absence of musicality. But Iestyn has it all, so the loudness is just icing on the cake. And I think it is worth noting in a counter-tenor because there are often complaints that they get drowned out by the orchestra especially in large halls. It probably isn't actually loudness as such, but an ability to place the voice which is difficult to describe but you know it when you hear it.
Samson, Proms, London


The evening's other hero, in the role of Micah, was counter-tenor Iestyn Davies: with all the perfection of Andreas Scholl, but with much more warmth, he projected his voice so effectively that he balanced the double-size chorus, while even his pianissimos carried powerfully round the dome.   

Michael Church, The Independent
  Samson, Proms, London



... the sensational young counter-tenor Iestyn Davies.
Daily Telegraph

Countertenor Davies delivered arias that Handel wrote for the great castrati Nicolini and Senesino with laser precision and the most glorious tone.
Rian Evans, The Guardian
Cheltenham Music Festival


[Handel's] first London opera Rinaldo led to endless tussling with entrepreneurs and castrati: cue for the countertenor Iestyn Davies and trumpets from the upper galleries to provide a spendid performance of Or la tromba.
Hilary Finch, The Times
Cheltenham Music Festival


A rarefied programme of English and German music... Iestyn Davies is about as near as real musicians can come to being an overnight sensation... the choice of repertoire itself showed tremendous confidence... The Queen’s Epicedium [...] provides a singer with challenges of the sort that Davies relishes – it can’t be easy to produce the kind of unwaveringly plaintive tone required for lines like “The Queen of Arcadie is gone!” whilst giving attention to the inevitable flourishes... difficult figures imitating brass instruments flung out as though they presented no challenge at all.

Melanie Eskanazi, ClassicalSource
Solo recital devut, Wigmore Hall: Purcell, Blow, Buxtehude, Handel


One of the great countertenors.
Sean Rafferty, BBC Radio 3


Iestyn Davies, as (Athalia's) opponent, the high priest Joad, singing with strength and clarity, is a rising star among British countertenors.
Clare Colvin, Sunday Express
Athalia, London Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music


Iestyn Davies as Joad proved himself as silky-toned as ever. He gave a smoothly controlled performance that judged both the mood of the work and the comparatively intimate space of St John's well. His impressive technique made light of the filigree coloratura of Gloomy tyrants, and brought a delicate plangency to the lyrical Jerusalem, thou shalt no more, its rippling arpeggios a prefiguration of the much-beloved Waft her, angels from Jeptha.

Alexandra Coghlan,
Athalia, London Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music


... with a power and clarity that conveyed an appealingly understated heroism. Iestyn Davies, a countertenor, matched those qualities in his more overtly heroic portrayal of Joad.

Allan Kozinn, New York Times
Athalia, London Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music


... Iestyn Davies, who has one of the most glorious countertenor voices in the world today

Michael Church, The Independent
Athalia, London Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music


... countertenor Iestyn Davies pure-toned as Joad... 

Richard Fairman, Financial Times
Athalia, London Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music

Iestyn Davies sang the role of the high priest, Joad, with confidence and lovely floating head tones...

John Yohalem, Opera Today
Athalia, London Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music


Iestyn Davies's rapt, introverted Joad... exceptional.
Tin Ashley, The Guardian
Athalia, London Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music


... the amazing countertenor Iestyn Davies as Hamor (in love with Iphis) was vocally powerful throughout and in their duet at the end of Act I, scene III, you felt privileged to be in the audience.

Tony Cooper, Norwich Evening News
Jephtha,  Norfolk and Norwich Festival


[John Mark Ainsley]... met his match in the exciting young countertenor Iestyn Davies, whose smoothness of vocal production and gracefully intelligent phrasing as Jephtha's prospective son-in-law Hamor not even Andreas Scholl could surpass.
Rupert Christiansen, The Daily Telegraph
Jephtha, London Handel Festival


Countertenor Iestyn Davies is fast taking on the mantle of James Bowman; his Hamor had everything this part requires, from the confident declamatory strength needed in If such thy cruel purpose to the sweetness of tone and moving quality of intonation in Tis Heav’n’s all-ruling pow’r.

Melanie Esknazi, Classical Source
Jephtha, London Handel Festival


Iestyn Davies sang the Spirit from off-stage, and filled the auditorium with the true sound of a real baroque singer

Melanie Eskanazi, Classical Source
Dido and Aeneas, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London


Iestyn Davies made an impressive Covent Garden debut too, singing sweetly from above through the hole in the roof.
Dido and Aeneas, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London


Iestyn Davies' disembodied pronouncements as the Spirit from high up in the auditorium were suitably ethereal.

Keith McDonnell, musicOMH
Dido and Aeneas, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London


...the greatest vocal purity came from Iestyn Davies as the Spirit. 
Dominic McHugh, Musical Criticism
Dido and Aeneas, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London


Iestyn Davies was a welcome newcomer to ROH, singing his twelve bars as the Spirit from off-stage somewhere, but with clean attack, good full-throated projection and clear diction.
Sue Loder, Opera Today
Dido and Aeneas, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London


The countertenor Iestyn Davies piped sweetly as Oberon...
William Albright, Opera Magazine
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Houston Grand Opera


... countertenor Iestyn Davies was a handsome and virile Oberon

Wes Blomster, Opera Now
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Houston Grand Opera


In his HGO debut as Oberon, countertenor Iestyn Davies had not only the high range but also a top-to-bottom depth of resonance that projected both the unearthly and regal qualities of the fairy king. At times, the effect of both these singers [... Laura Claycomb...] was nothing short of uncanny, vividly evoking the supernatural world they inhabit.  
Gregory Barnett, Opera News
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Houston Grand Opera


Leading the quartet of magical characters, Iestyn Davies, making his HGO debut, was a brilliant Oberon. His bright, even countertenor floated gloriously above Britten’s instrumental evocations and was never too creamy to become non-present. There was an attractive edge to his tone, and this helped heighten the sense of Oberon’s mischievous nature. Coloratura runs, dissonant leaps and perfect diction were all executed with ease.
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Houston Grand Opera


Welsh countertenor Iestyn Davies (HGO debut) vocally had one of just a short string of unqualified successes with their parts. Less ostentatiously costumed than is James Bowman on the dvd of the Peter Hall production, he gave his part the air of mystery, contemplation, and aloofness in a way that at least some of the part calls for as well. His vocal production was about the entirely most even of the entire cast and could have been identified by a few of us with that of Alfred Deller. I hope it not heresy to say either that I found his more subdued and thus more introspective and mysterious interpretation of Oberon, in acting also, to be mildly preferable to the more blowsy James Bowman on the wonderful Haitink/Peter Hall dvd. This was altogether a very fine piece of work. 

avid H Spence, Opera-L
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Houston Grand Opera

Welsh countertenor Iestyn Davies sings Oberon with smooth control and precision, exuding stately authority. His best moment is the opera’s best-known aria, I Know a Bank Where the Wild Thyme Blows.
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Houston Grand Opera


Each set of characters gets its own particular sound, with Oberon's countertenor the most distinctive and powerful as it soars clear and bright, when the King of the Fairies (Iestyn Davies) weaves his spells on unsuspecting bumpkins and his lustful queen Tytania alike.
Houston Press
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Houston Grand Opera



Iestyn Davies sang... with his customary cultivated beauty of tone.

Melanie Eskanazi, Seen and Heard


I’ve chosen Iestyn Davies whom we all describe as 'the new kid on the block’, the most wonderful young singer who has come to the fore very much recently, and he’s singing opera at the moment, in Partenope. A wonderful technique, and I am filled with envy. I admire him enormously.

James Bowman
 BBC Radio 3, Early Music Show, 26 October 2008


Iestyn Davies (Armindo) reveals a wonderful clarion voice and an engaging stage manner as the terminally bumbling and tongue-tied lover.

Robert Thicknesse, The Tablet
Partenope, ENO


And thoroughly dazzling was Iestyn Davies, whose gorgeously clear countertenor is a real discovery. His stone-faced, Keatonesque comedy acting was delightfully done.

Rob Ainsley, SkyArts
Partenope, ENO


Iestyn Davies as Armindo all but dominates the show with countertenor singing of extraordinary, fleshed-out fullness and endearing pathos as the timid lover who eventually gets the girl.

Michael White, The Catholic Herald
Partenope, ENO


... a world-class cast... Iestyn Davies amusing and touching as a Chaplinesque Armindo...

Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times
Partenope, ENO


Davies's voice has grown, losing none of its sweetness, and his singing is pure and polished through the most gymnastic of his character Armindo's slapstick routines.

Anna Picard, The Independent on Sunday
Partenope. ENO


... but it is countertenor Iestyn Davies whose astonishingly agile, forceful voice upstages them all.

Anthony Holden, The Observer
Partenope, ENO


Of the singers, only Iestyn Davies as Armindo was consistently excellent. He has a secure, honeyed tone, every note faultlessly placed, and his Keatonesque slapstick as Partenope's timid, fumbling suitor was delightfully judged. 

Partenope, ENO


Countertenor Iestyn Davies was Armindo, his voice bright and clear, his pitching always seeming to find the middle of the note, and his acting convincing (he did seem positively distraught in How I long to explain my sighing)...[his] Armindo provided plenty of fun.
Colin Clarke, musicweb
Partenope, ENO


Countertenor Iestyn Davies [...] was brilliant, with no apparent tension in any register of his voice and the ability to project strongly throughout.
Dominic McHugh, Musical Criticism
Partenope, ENO


The insipid, undercharacterised Armindo, who finally wins Partenope, is well taken by the countertenor Iestyn Davies.

Michael Tanner, The Spectator
Partenope, ENO

Iestyn Davies’ ample alto really filled out the “droopy and mournful” Armindo.

Edward Seckerson, The Independent
Partenope, ENO


Armindo's an unbearable drip but in the hands of Davies' honeyed counter-tenor he becomes a smooth-talker.

Laura Battle,
Partenope, ENO


In the end the counter-tenor gets the girl, and you can well understand why she might have chosen Iestyn Davies's delightful Armindo.
Rupert Christiansen, The Daily Telegraph
Partenope, ENO


Iestyn Davies as the weak willed, but ultimately successful in love Armindo, brings a richness of voice to the role in a very assured performance.

Kimberley Knudsen The Public Reviews
Partenope, ENO


Iestyn Davies, the effete if attractive Armindo
Tim Ashley, The Guardian
Partenope, ENO


Countertenor Iestyn Davies (Armindo) tumbles downstairs with the deadpan solemnity of Buster Keaton and sings like an angel who smokes five a day — pure-toned with hint of roughness. He’s a find. 

Fiona Maddocks, The Evening Standard
Partenope, ENO



Iestyn Davies’s Armindo also had to do battle with stage business and achieved a similar triumph – this is not an easy character to convey, given that he spends most of the opera in a state somewhere between tremulous expectation and despair, but still gets the girl in the end – Davies was completely convincing, and his singing was consistently lovely in tone and elegant in phrasing, his Act One aria a high point of the evening.

Melanie Eskanazi, Classicalsource
Partenope, ENO


Iestyn Davies an unexpectedly strong Armindo
Andrew Clark, The Financial Times
Partenope, ENO


The countertenor Iestyn Davies sang winningly as a Chaplinesque bumbler who, in spite of himself, ends up getting the girl.
Richard Morrison, The Times
Partenope, ENO


Countertenor Iestyn Davies, too, was brilliant, with no apparent tension in any register of his voice and the ability to project strongly throughout.

Dominic McHugh,
Partenope, ENO


(Mackerras's) soloists could hardly be bettered... Iestyn Davies limpidly plangent as the prophet Daniel.
Paul Driver, The Time
Belshazzar, Proms, London


Iestyn Davies, pouring vocal balm on the utterances of the young prophet Daniel

Financial Times
Belshazzar, BBC Proms, London


The soloists were, on the whole, excellent. Iestyn Davies’s voice carried so well, every word captured beautifully and full of understanding; the prophet Daniel’sappearances in the oratorio became something to look forward to: the lengthy Act One aria O sacred oracles of truth was appropriately naïve sounding, life not yet poisoned by bad experiences. Without much effort, it seemed, Davies’s luscious voice filled the Hall; a rare and great achievement.

Kevin Rogers,
Belshazzar, BBC Proms, London


Iestyn Davies, fresh from his convincing Proms performance in The Coronation of Poppea a couple of weeks back, was the pick of the soloists, a honey-toned countertenor who never lets the stubble show vocally.
Belshazzar, BBC Proms, London


Iestyn Davies's Daniel revealed something of the depth among today's countertenors

Guy Dammann, The Guardian
Belshazzar, BBC Proms, London


Iestyn Davies with an impeccably groomed voice as a fine Daniel
Barry Millington, Evening Standard
Belshazzar, BBC Proms, London


Iestyn Davies [provided] a noble legato of faith for Daniel, sealed by subtle vocal ornamentation

Hilary Finch, The Times
Belshazzar, BBC Proms, London


Iestyn Davies gave a mellifluous, honey-sweet performance of Daniel's first aria – a quality which he maintains throughout. Davies brings a sublime quality to the music with his performance.

Claudine Nightingale,
Belshazzar, BBC Proms, London


Iestyn Davies, as the prophet Daniel, produced not only some of the finest singing of the evening, but some of the most heartfelt Handel singing that's been heard in London for some time. His Lament not thus, O Queen, in vain was delivered with a simplicity that touched the heart – his star is most definitely in the ascendant.

Keith McDonnell,
Belshazzar, BBC Proms, London



Iestyn Davies's Otho and Marie Arnet's Drusilla were [...] excellent. 
Erica Jeal, Guardian
L'incoronazione di Poppea, BBC Proms, London


Iestyn Davies (Ottone) and Marie Arnet (Drusilla) were vocally excellent in the roles...

Barry Millington, Evening Standard / This is London
L'incoronazione di Poppea, Proms, London


... Iestyn Davies' likeable and warmly-sung Otho ...
Simon Thomas,
L'incoronazione di Poppea, Proms, London


... once the silly, barely audible business of the prologue was out of the way, the strong, expressive voice of Iestyn Davies's Otho drew things into greater focus.

Geoffrrey Norris, Daily Telegraph
L'incoronazione di Poppea, Proms, London


Iestyn Davies was an engaging Flavio
Andrew Clark, Financial Times
Flavio, Barbican, London


Iestyn Davies (soon to play Ottone in Glyndebourne's L'incoronazione di Poppea) was impressive

Laura Battle,
Flavio, Barbican, London


Flavio himself was sung by Iestyn Davies, one of a remarkable pair of countertenors (the other was Robin Blaze...)

Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post
Flavio, Birmingham Town Hal


Iestyn Davies, crisp and alert in the title role
Fiona Maddocks, Evening Standard
Flavio, Barbican, London


... that superb counter-tenor Iestyn Davies...

Michael Church, Independent
Bach B Minor Mass, St John's Smith Square


Another debutant, countertenor Iestyn Davies, made a good impression
George Loomis, New York Sun
King Arthur, New York City Opera


... impressive work.
Anthony Tommasini, New York Times
King Arthur, New York City Opera


This is a voice that is going to make waves for a long time to come. [...] Davies sounds like a tenor in his lower range, yet makes a seamless transition to falsetto [... so] the voice retains its masculinity and power. But these would mean little without his musicality and, more tellingly, his composure. He remained unfazed through acres of demanding ornamentation, all of which he slotted in without compromising his rhythmic momentum. To his extended aria within Blow's ode on Purcell's death he brought an icy cool that was breathtaking.

Martin Dreyer, York Press

...  a world-class singer... with a following for his opera performances and recitals in Britain and the United States... 
The Press



[Guadagni's] arias [...] are magnificently sung here by Iestyn Davies. His But who may abide evokes the refiner's fire vividly yet without exaggeration, his ornamentation is neat and appropriate but not gaudy, and, above all, he imbues the piece with a wonderful sense of trepidation, typical of a reading of the whole oratorio which has clearly been meticulously thought through with the aim of bringing out all the meaning in the text [...] the awed expressiveness of Behold a virgin shall conceive [...]  As a result it is far more than a successful exercise in historical reconstruction, and must qualify as one of the finest available recordings of Messiah [...] sure of a place in every Baroque connoisseur's CD collection.

Elizabeth Roche, Early Music Journal
Messiah recording

The countertenor Iestyn Davies [...] has a very special quality. It's not just the sound – poised and pure, a true male alto – but the unpretentious honesty of his artistry that touches us. He was despised emerged like the still centre of the entire evening, with each restatement of the words left hanging in the air, while Handel's pained string ritornello reflected on their consequences.

EDward Seckerson, The Independent
Messiah, Barbican

Countertenor Iestyn Davies was, meanwhile, a treat, his enunciation a model of clarity and his bell-like, focused sound caressing every one of Handel's melodic lines. In the Part Three duet O death, his firmly-placed, pure tone...

Dave Paxton,
Messiah, Barbican

Iestyn Davies was called upon to take the countertenor role, and he did it with great style, his polish remarkable although, perhaps perversely, this critic felt sad that all the boyish nervousness seemed to have gone from his attack, and been replaced with a Bowman-like elegance. No matter - Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened was typical of his moving recitative, and He was despised hit exactly the right balance between sentiment and drama.

Melanie Eskenazi , Seen and Heard
Messiah, Barbican

The countertenor Iestyn Davies [...] was the stand-out among an interesting quartet of soloists. 

Martin Kettle, The Guardian
Messiah, Barbican

The rounded, finely tempered voice of countertenor Iestyn Davies gave his substantial role impressive command

Mike Marsh, The Echo
Messiah, Bournemouth


... the mellifluous countertenor Iestyn Davies...    

Glasgow Herald
Theodora, Glasgow


Iestyn Davies as Didymus sounded beautiful throughout
Rowena Smith, The Guardian
Theodora, Edinburgh


Only a countertenor of Iestyn Davies's dramatic and vocal assurance could deliver the line, 'I am a Christian', and hold an audience in rapt attention. But rapt we were [ ... ] The quartet of solo violin, cello, theorbo and harpsichord accompanying Didymus in Sweet Rose and Lily was a particular delight.

Mary Crockett, The Scotsman
Theodora, Edinburgh


Of the up and coming generation [ of countertenors ], Iestyn Davies is the pick of the bunch. 

Glasgow Herald interview



I do not think that I will ever hear a performance of [ Britten's ] Canticles as magnificent as John Mark Ainsley's with the brilliant young countertenor Iestyn Davies

John Gilhooly, Director, Wigmore Hall
Wigmore Hall Annual Report


Iestyn Davies strengthens his growing reputation as an up-and-coming countertenor, intelligent in his handling of text, vocally gorgeous in La rondinella amante and dazzling in the hunting aria Alle minacce di fiera belve, holding his own against the forceful orchestration.

Glyn Pursglove, Musicweb
La Griselda recording


The young countertenor Iestyn Davies gave, quite simply, the finest performance of [the 2nd movement solo] that I’ve ever heard. His plangent timbre and expressive voice was ideally suited to the music.

John Quinn, Seen & Heard
Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, Cheltenham Festival


I liked Iestyn Davies' countertenor Voice of Apollo.
Michael Kennedy, Opera magazine
Death in Venice, English National Opera


The voice of countertenor Iestyn Davies, as Apollo, is magically pure in tone.    

William Parsons, The Lady
Death in Venice, English National Opera


Countertenor Iestyn Davies as the Voice of Apollo makes a strong impression.
Death in Venice, English National Opera


Iestyn Davies (as Apollo) sang excellently.

Timothy Ball,
Death in Venice, English National Opera


Iestyn Davies makes much of the small role of Apollo - dressed, interestingly enough, as Tadzio's double - thanks to an unusually vibrant countertenor.

John Allison, Seven Magazine/Sunday Telegraph
Death in Venice, English National Opera


... and Iestyn Davies, as the Voice of Apollo, [ is ] first class.
Hugh Canning, The Times
Death in Venice, English National Opera


... countertenor Iestyn Davies, singing the part of Apollo, looked and sounded strong and Apollonian.

Agnes Kory, Musical Criticism
Death in Venice, English National Opera


We lose some of the words of the chorus but not of [ ... ] Iestyn Davies's bright countertenor Apollo

Erica Jeal, The Guardian
Death in Venice, English National Opera


Iestyn Davies brings an unearthly quality to the Voice of Apollo
The Stage
Death in Venice, English National Opera


Iestyn Davies, an earthbound Apollo with a full and resonant countertenor

Simon Thomas,
Death in Venice, English National Opera


... the atmosphere of the “Greek games” is immensely enhanced by Iestyn Davies’s vibrant countertenor as the Voice of Apollo.
Richard Morrison, The Times
Death in Venice, English National Opera


Iestyn Davies, in the countertenor role of Apollo, had bell-like clarity

Fiona Maddocks, London Evening Standard
Death in Venice, English National Opera



Iestyn Davies... deeply expressive
Barry Millington, London Evening Standard
St Matthew Passion, Royal Albert Hall


The quality of the playing on the Naxos recording is, along with the singing of the countertenor Iestyn Davies, enough to justify buying it...  (his) He was despised ranks with the best I know. This is one area where the Naxos recording scores (over the Jacobs, Harmonia Mundi record) in that Iestyn Davies provides the excitement that Zazzo lacks.
Melanie Eskanazi, Fanfare Magazine
Recording: Handel's Messiah




... the performance of the complete Canticles by the Nash Ensemble with Iestyn Davies and John Mark Ainsley, would be outstanding [ among 2006 performances ] for its unmatchable singing, its finely judged drama and its overwhelming commitment.
Seen and Heard's Review of the year 2006 (Melanie Eskanazi)


The counter-tenor Iestyn Davies continues to grow in musical stature.  He has a gravitas about his singing which might seem at odds with his youth, yet which is entirely fitting – But who may abide and He shall feed his flock were both ideally balanced between the sombre and the quietly joyful, and He was despised was finely phrased and beautifully coloured.

Melanie Eskanazi, Musicweb
  Messiah, St John's Smith Square


... a convincing, unshrill sound
Charles T Downey, ionarts
La Griselda recording


Davies was the ideal Isaac: his youthful tone made his music especially poignant, and he was at one with [ John Mark ] Ainsley in his highly charged yet never overplayed interpretation: Father, seeing you must needs do so / let it pass lightly, and over gocan hardly have left a dry eye in the house.

Melanie Eskanazi, Musicweb
Britten: Canticles, Wigmore Hall


... the exceptional countertenor Iestyn Davies... 
Tim Ashley, The Guardian
  Messiah (Higginbottom recording)


... (John Mark) Ainsley as Abraham ideally partnered by the unconstrained, mellifluous Isaac of countertenor Iestyn Davies; their backs to the audience, they joined in a spine-tingling duet to represent the disembodied voice of God.  

Erica Jeal, The Guardian
Britten: Canticles, Wigmore Hall


... as fine musically as (he is) foul dramatically.
Stephen Walsh, The Independent
Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, WN

... particularly fine singing...
Bill Kenny, MusicWeb
Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, WNO


... the countertenor Iestyn Davies and the tenor James Gilchrist are especially welcome, marrying words to vocal line with winged strength.
Alastair MacAulay, The Times
King Arthur, ENO


Countertenor Iestyn Davies... has a markedly focused sound and presence.

King Arthur, ENO


I should like to have heard the countertenor Iestyn Davies sing [ Fairest Isle ]. His number summoning the battle-weary heroes to Woden's Hall was splendid. It's a smashing voice and he has real stage presence.

Edward Seckerson, The Independent
King Arthur, ENO


... sensitive singing... 
Anna Pickard. The Independent
King Arthur, ENO


Iestyn Davies is clearly a countertenor to watch
King Arthur, ENO


I wanted to take the countertenor Iestyn Davies home with me
King Arthur, ENO


Countertenor Iestyn Davies delights with his smooth, expressive tone
King Arthur, ENO


... Iestyn Davies and his superbly controlled countertenor voice as Hamor

BBC Bristol
Jeptha, WNO




Special mention should be made of the bell-like voice of Iestyn Davies as the distraught, betrothed Hamor. The clarity and range of this countertenor was breathtaking and his breath control during the trills and runs was fantastic.
Jeptha, WNO


... the rich beauty of countertenor Iestyn Davies' voice was used to full effect in Es ist vollbracht.
Glasgow Herald
St John Passion


He has it all. His prodigious natural gifts include a beautifully cultivated, flexible and agile voice, a sense of the shaping of a phrase very rare in so young an artist, and a very engaging stage presence... one can only imagine how far he will go. I have seldom heard He shall feed his flock sung with more sheer vocal beauty, or He was despisedgiven with so much tenderness.


... beautifully articulated and affecting singing...

The Guardian
Jeptha, WNO



The young Iestyn Davies proved to be a discovery with his expressive countertenor which radiated great naturalness.
Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten


Another strong performance from the young countertenor
Glasgow Herald
Bach cantata BWV 170


Countertenor Iestyn Davies, a young singer to watch, was extremely impressive as the noble high priest, Joad.

Glasgow Herald


Counter-tenor Iestyn Davies, as Joad, stole the show with a beautifully nuanced performance, authoritative, emotional and lusciously sung.
The Scotsman


This young countertenor is exceptional.  A true countertenor, not a male alto masquerading as one, his voice is rooted as a baritone, the richness of his low register singing having fine tonal quality, while its top, alto range is firm and full.
Sheffield Telegraph
English songs of the 16th century


On retiendra particulièrement Iestyn Davies, jeune contre-ténor à la voix puissante et bien timbrée.
Le Progrès
La Griselda


Iestyn Davies a un timbre de contre-ténor riche et bien sonnant. Son phrasé est simplement encore un peu raide et son legato perfectible.
La Griselda


Superbe! Une voix claire mais puissante, j'ai hâte de le ré-entendre.

La Griselda


Iestyn Davies est l'autre grande découverte de la soirée. Ce tout jeune contre-ténor est un chanteur à suivre car il montre une voix puissante, franche et ensoleillée. Son chant est loin d'être dépourvu de musicalité comme le démontre son second air La rondinella amante: il donne des notes très légères, aériennes pour souligner l'intensité de ses propos. Mais il est également capable d'imposer un engagement important dans Alle minaccie di fiera belva, duo avec un cor, à travers les différents "r" et "t" qu'il accentue violemment.

Manon Ardouin, Concertonet
La Griselda


… outstanding
BBC Music Magazine
Finnissy Anima Christi(Exaudi recording)



Nos papéis de solista destacou-se o jovem contratenor Iestyn Davies, numa interpretação que rondou o superlativo. Não é difícil antever-lhe uma carreira de grande sucesso.


There were very many stylish contributions but perhaps none that augurs better for Baroque performance in the immediate future than that of countertenor Iestyn Davies. Milton's line juxtaposes gorgeous with tragedy. Davies's voice memorably combined the two.
The Guardian
L'Allegro, Il Penseroso ed il Moderato, Snape Proms


... the ornamentations and expression... such artistry!...
Terence Best
Giulio Cesare arias


... Iestyn Davies, who proved himself to be that rare creature, a truly virile and sensuous countertenor.  He was a star in a Messiah that managed to combine earthy vigour with the dignity demanded by its subject.
Irish Times


Iestyn Davies's countertenor was simply wonderful, with impeccable intonation. His caricature of a mad lepidopterist - desperate to make his catch - was artfully drawn and, if this rich sound is what Davies achieves in the open air, one can only imagine how it willbe in more resonant circumstances.

Il Tempesto Tutore


Countertenor Iestyn Davies was particularly outstanding as Orpheus
The Story of Orpheus


... spine chilling...
The Story of Orpheus


Davies' alto burnt fiercely in the title role
The Times
The Story of Orpheus


As soon as he bounded on to the podium, we felt we were in safe hands. Here was a young man who really meant business: a fantastic combination of amazing voice and maturity of character
BBC Radio 3 Early Music Show
London Handel Singing Competition