The young South African countertenor Christopher Ainslie has just made his role and house debut performing the title role in Handel’s Tamerlano to critical acclaim at this year’s International Handel–Festspiele in Göttingen, in a production by Johanna Garpe and conducted by Nicholas McGegan. In an opera involving love, jealousy and suicide, Ainslie was hailed for his stagecraft by Michael Schäfer from Göttinger Tageblatt, who wrote “His transformation from friendly ruler who forgives his enemies to jealous and unpredictable tyrant is totally believable.” .
Sandra Bowdler from Opera Magazine was impressed by Ainslie’s talent saying “he (Ainslie) has one of the better voices of its kind, rich, evenly produced and well projected with no covering.” Werner Fritsch from HNA was also amazed with Ainslie’s vocal ability saying that he sang his part with “a steely timbre and, particularly in his rage aria, fantastically confident coloratura.”
Regarding Ainslie’s ability to draw in his audience, Carlo Vitali from Musical America felt “Ainslie displayed fiendish agility and acted with vicious intensity throughout.”
Catriona Graham from The Opera Critic thought that “Christopher Ainslie’s light alto is capable of considerable menace as Tamerlano” and Michael Schäfer from Göttinger Tageblatt summed up the performance, writing “Christopher Ainslie is not only an incredibly virtuosic alto with a beautiful voice, but also a performer with many facets.”