Thomas Guthrie

Thomas Guthrie is hot news. His imagination knows no bounds.

Opera Now

As revived by Thomas Guthrie, the show fizzes

The Times

Thomas Guthrie’s reworking...is tremendous fun

The Guardian

Thomas Guthrie

Director / Actor / Tenor

‚ÄčMuch of Tom’s approach to art is encapsulated by David Bowie’s quote: “The idea that the piece of work is not finished until the audience come to it and add their own interpretation, and what the piece of art is about is the grey space in the middle. That grey space in the middle is what the 21st century is going to be about.”  

Known for his strikingly imaginative, emotionally intense and technically disciplined approach to directing, Guthrie brings a wealth of performing experience to his theatrical and operatic work, and continues his work as a singer, writer, actor and teacher. 

Born to social worker parents in Peterborough, Guthrie became a chorister at St John’s College Cambridge, studied Classics and played the violin at Trinity College, Cambridge, and trained as a singer at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where prizes included the Fassbaender Award for Lieder, the Schubert Prize, and an ESU scholarship to study with Sir Thomas Allen in Chicago.

An unusually diverse director, Guthrie was Young Artist Stage Director at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden for two years, where he assisted Robert Carsen, Olivia Fuchs, Stephen Langridge, Piero Faggioni, Patrice Caurier, Moshe Leiser, Martin Duncan and Justin Way.

In 2014, he directed a revival of Il Barbiere di Siviglia for the Royal Opera House, and directed and performed in Purcell Fairy Queen for Middle Temple Hall (where Shakespeare Twelfth Night was premièred). The 2015 season saw him assist Sir David McVicar for Andrea Chenier (reviving it for NCPA, Beijing in May) and Die Zauberflöte at the Royal Opera House, produce a new Easter show for Classical Opera Company, J.C. Bach's Adriano in Siria, and direct the UK première of Jonathan Dove The Monster in the Maze with the LSO and Sir Simon Rattle. In July 2015 Guthrie directed a rare performance of Tavener Veil of the Temple at St Olav's Festival in Norway with conductor Stephen Layton. 

This season, Tom has directed a new production of Tarka the Otter for the Two Moors Festival, assisted Damiano Michieletto for a double bill Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci at the Royal Opera House, and directed a new production of Così fan Tutte for the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. 

Upcoming plans include directing a new comic chamber opera called Mrs Mozart for Bergen National Opera based on the life of Constanze Mozart, reviving productions of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte for the Royal Opera House, as well as new productions of Mozart operas for Classical Opera and Longborough Festival Opera, and a residency collaboration with Princeton University in 2017/18. Tom regularly performs at festivals across Europe with imaginative ensemble Barokksolistene

Guthrie’s own production company, GOTcompany, allows him to explore and develop his interest in physicality, music and text. The company received critical acclaim for its Death Actually show, which premiered at the Spitalfields Festival and includes the world’s first staging of three Bach motets as well as a new orchestration of Schubert Die Schöne Müllerin performed with a puppet, strings, guitars and percussion.  The final part of Death Actually, an audio-visual installation, launched at the Brighton Festival in May 2016.

As a baritone Guthrie sang in some of the world’s most prestigious venues, and in 2006 created the role of the ‘Officer’, based on the writer Henry Williamson in Stephen McNeff’s award winning Tarka the Otter. Guthrie recently re-trained as a tenor, explaining “Tenors definitely have all the fun, and are more likely to play the love interest”

A committed champion of accessibility and the breaking down of traditional barriers to classical music, he founded and directs Music and Theatre for All, a charity supporting ground breaking audience friendly multi-disciplinary work. He has collaborated regularly with ROH Education, Garsington Opera, Streetwise Opera, as well as leading workshops and community programmes with GOTcompany. In 2014 Guthrie also directed David Lang’s Crowd Out for 1000 voices, commissioned by BCMG Sound Investment, Spitalfields Music and the Berlin Philharmonic.

Guthrie lives in London and is a proud dad to two boys.

Read The Guardian backstage feature with the Royal Opera's Barber of Seville production revived by Tom this September.

This biography is for information only, and should not be re-printed. Please use the link below to download the version for concert programmes.

Download Biography 2016-17 (.docx)

Download Photo 2016-17 (.jpeg) - Credit: Theresa Pewal