Ashley Riches (bass-baritone) read English at Cambridge University, where he was a member of King’s College Choir. He studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and was a Jette Parker Young Artist at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden 2012–14.
Ashley made his ROH main stage debut singing with Roberto Alagna in a gala concert. During his two years at Covent Garden he also appeared as Salieri in Rimsky Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri, as Michael in the world première of Eichbert’s Glare (Linbury Studio), Morales Carmen, Mandarin Turandot, Baron Douphol La traviata and Officer Les dialogues des Carmelites. He has since returned to the company to sing Osmano in L’Ormindo at the Globe Theatre. Other roles previously sung include Marcello La bohème, title roles Eugene Onegin and Don Giovanni, Aeneas Dido and Aeneas, Father Hänsel und Gretel, Tarquinius The Rape of Lucretia, Sid Albert Herring, Demetrius A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Ibn-Hakia Iolanta. Ashley made his debut for English National Opera as Schaunard La bohème and has recently appeared in the title role of Owen Wingrave for Opéra National de Lorraine, Nancy.
Already well established on the concert platform, Ashley’s appearances include the UK première of Shostakovich Orango (Philharmonia Orchestra/Esa-Pekka Salonen), Messiah in Birmingham Symphony Hall and with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Mass in B Minor with Arcangelo at Flanders Festival, Beethoven Missa Solemnis with Sir Roger Norrington, Handel L’Allegro and Mozart Requiem with the Gabrieli Consort, Britten’s War Requiem with Novaya Opera Moscow and in Cadogan Hall, and Bach Cantatas with the AAM at the Wigmore Hall. Most recently he made his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic as Creon Oedipus Rex with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and joined the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra for an extensive European tour of Bach’s St Matthew Passion. Ashley also took part in the world première of John Powell’s Prussian Requiem with the Philharmonia Orchestra, sang Pollux Castor and Pollux with Christian Curnyn at St John’s Smith Square, Bach’s Weinachtsoratorium with the AAM and The Kingdom at the Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester.
As a recitalist Ashley has appeared at the Wigmore Hall, Barbican Hall, the City of London Festival, the Schubert Festival and the Ludlow Festival. His recordings include Poulenc Chansons Gaillardes with Graham Johnson for Hyperion, a solo disc of Shakespeare Sonnets set to music by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, for Resonus Classics, St John Passion (AAM) and Daniel Purcell’s The Judgement of Paris and Handel’s L’Allegro (Gabrieli Consort). He also made a TV appearance in David Starkey’s TV series ‘Music and the Monarchy’.
Highlights of the 2016/17 season include a return to English National Opera as the Pirate King The Pirates of Penzance, Purcell’s The Fairy Queen with the AAM, Apollo e Dafne with the Pannon Philharmonic in Hungary, Israel in Egypt with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Christmas Oratorio on tour with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
Ashley is a member of the BBC New Generation Artists scheme.