“Agile and light”
“Technical agility… Youthful sounding declamation”
International Record Review
“A subtly nuanced performance”
BBC Music Magazine
“A higher level altogether… Exquisite solo singing”
Wales Western Mail
“Plenty of plaudits for Elin Manahan Thomas…
The Independent on Sunday
Born and bred in Swansea, Elin read Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Clare College Cambridge, before moving to the musical world and a busy career of performing, broadcasting and presenting. She released her début album, Eternal Light, in 2007 with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; and is the first singer ever to record Bach’s Alles mit Gott, a birthday ode written in 1713 and discovered in 2005. And in 2012 she dazzled an audience of more than a billion viewers worldwide with her performance of Handel's Eternal Source of Light Divine at the London Paralympics Opening Ceremony. Renowned for her interpretation of baroque music, she is equally at home in the classical style, art song and cutting edge modern music; and in April 2016 she was Classic FM's Artist of the Week.
Elin first received great acclaim for her ‘Pie Jesu’ on Naxos’ award-winning recording of the Rutter Requiem, and won critical praise for her performance in Bach’s St Matthew Passion at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, under Sir John Eliot Gardiner. She has performed on Radio 2's Friday Night is Music Night, in Classic FM’s fifteenth birthday concert, at Songs of Praise’s ‘The Big Sing’, and at BBC 2's Proms in the Park. She gave the World Première of Sir John Tavener’s Requiem in Liverpool Cathedral (also recorded for EMI), and his Love Duet at the Manchester International Festival; and became renowned for her soaring top notes in the Allegri Miserere in BBC 4's series Sacred Music. Prestigious invitations have seen her perform in the Vatican on Easter Sunday, and appear at the Edinburgh International Festival with the Royal Flanders Ballet. Notable performances include Bach St John Passion in St John's Smith Square with Polyphony, Bach Tilge Hochste with City of London Sinfonia, Canteloube Chants d'Auvergne with the RLPO, Handel Messiah in Bridgewater Hall with the Halle Orchestra and in the Konzertgebouw with Britten Sinfonia, and Bach Cantatas at the Lufthansa Festival on Radio 3. She has performed for many of the world's leading conductors, among them Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Andrew Davis, Harry Christophers, Paul McCreesh, Stephen Layton, Sir Roger Norrington, Vasily Petrenko, Thierry Fischer and the late Richard Hickox.
Concert performances include Couperin’s Lecons de Tenebres, and Blow’s Venus and Adonis in the Wigmore Hall; Handel Messiah in the Tonhalle, Zurich; Orff Carmina Burana in the Royal Albert Hall with the RPO; a baroque recital with the Malaysian Philharmonic; Bach Weihnachtsoratorium with the Copenhagen Phil; Bach Mass in B Minor in the Royal Festival Hall with the Bach Choir; a British tour of Handel with the Academy of Ancient Music, a Songs of Praise Messiah special from Birmingham Town Hall; Harvey Passion and Resurrection at the Casa de Musica, Porto; Handel Israel in Egypt with Stephen Layton in St John Smith’s Square; solo recitals in the Cheltenham, Chester and Canterbury Festivals; an evening of opera with the orchestra of WNO; a gala concert to close the Llangollen International Eisteddfod; Mendelssohn Elijah with BBC NOW for Radio 3 from St David’s Hall; Fauré Requiem with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Handel Messiah with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; the Mozart Vespers in the Mostly Mozart Festival for Harry Christophers; Weir King Harald Saga for BBC Radio 3, in collaboration with the composer; a concert of Spring Garden songs in the Temple Church, London; an anniversary concert for the RWCMD in Llandaff Cathedral; Handel Israel in Egypt for Stephen Layton in the Three Choirs Festival; Bach Mass in B Minor with Huddersfield Choral Society; Vivaldi Gloria in the Snape Maltings with the CLS; Handel Dixit Dominus for Richard Hickox in Sherborne Abbey; Mozart concert arias with the Gabrieli Consort in the Barbican Hall; Bach’s Christmas Oratorio for Peter Schreier in St John’s Smith Square; Mozart’s Mass in C Minor in King’s College Chapel; and Mozart Vespers on a tour of the USA.
Her fresh sounding, youthful voice, agile technique and secure intonation are a delight BBC Music Magazine 2012
On television, Elin has appeared in BBC 2’s Birth of British Music, singing ‘Dido’s Lament’ by Purcell; in BBC 4’s series Sacred Music; in Channel 4’s How Music Works, presented by Howard Goodall; and in BBC 2’s A Musical Nativity on Christmas day, as well as being the voice of the recent Audi adverts! Elin was also the presenter and main performer in S4C’s six-part documentary Y Sopranos, Papa Haydn and Adelina Patti. She has been twice nominated for a BAFTA Cymru (Best Newcomer, Best Presenter) and has presented for BBC 4 (The Proms) and BBC 2 Wales (Proms in the Park). Elin regularly presents for Radio Cymru, and is presenter on Radio Three's Early Music Late, on Sunday evenings.
Modern music is very much in Elin's repertoire, and she has been fortunate enough to work with Sir John Tavener, John Ruter, Sir Karl Jenkins, James Macmillan, Judith Weir and Eric Whitacre, alongside other renowned and respected composers. She also pops up in computer games, and is the voice of 'Everybody's gone to the rapture', Sony's multi-award-winning PS4 game, and Bloodborne. Elin is also known for her solo appearance in the 2015 Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular, which toured Britain with Peter Davidson and BBC NOW.
Elin Manahan Thomas's soprano was agile and light, and she confidently shaped the performance Opera Today 2015
On the opera stage, Elin has played the part of Israelitish Woman in Buxton Festival’s acclaimed staging of Handel Samson; Pamina (Mozart The Magic Flute) at the Helix Theatre, Dublin and Bridgewater Hall, Manchester; Belinda (Dido and Aeneas) with OAE in the Queen Elizabeth Hall; Ninetta (Mozart La Finta Semplice) and Arminda (Mozart La Finta Giardiniera) in New College, Oxford; Despina (Mozart Cosi Fan Tutte) for Robin Ticciati and Cambridge Opera; Mermaid (Weber Oberon) and Coryphée (Berlioz Les Troyens) at the Châtelet Theatre, Paris; and Night/Nymph in the Armonico Consort’s popular production of The Fairy Queen.
Elin has released five solo albums, and appeared as featured soloist on innumerable discs, for labels such as Universal, Naxos, Chandos, Hyperion, Coro, Signum, Collegium and Sain. In 2012, Radio 3 made her most recent recording with Florilegium, 'Vivaldi', CD of the Week; BBC Music Magazine awarded the disc five stars; while International Record Review placed it in their ‘Outstanding’ category. Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, also with Florilegium, was BBC Music Magazine Choice of the Month; and her 2011 release Ravish’d with Sacred Extasies was awarded Pizzicato Magazine’s coveted Supersonic Award. Her recordings range from the renaissance to Handel to Elgar and beyond, and 2016 sees the release of a CD of songs by Morfydd Llwyn Owen (previously unrecorded) for Ty Cerdd, and Karl Jenkins' Cantata Aberfan for Deutsche Gramophon, alongside Bryn Terfel.
In addition to her singing and presenting, Elin is a passionate advocate of music education, and has led choral workshops with Eric Whitacre, masterclasses at RWCMD, University of Oxford, children's concerts with LPO and OAE, and children's operas with Children's Music Workshop. She is an Honorary Fellow at RWCMD, and at the Universities of Swansea and Bangor, and is currently Artist in Residence at Bangor Music Festival. She was recently honoured to be invited to be listed in the NCEM Directory, for more details see below.