Biography

Highlights

“Technical agility… Youthful sounding declamation”
International Record Review 2012

“A subtly nuanced performance”
BBC Music Magazine 2011

“Ravishing simplicity”
The Times 2010

“Plenty of plaudits for Elin Manahan Thomas…
Crystal clear”
The Times 2008

“Sublimely sung”
Gramophone 2007

“Touchingly delicate”
The Independent on Sunday 2007

“Meltingly expressive”
Evening Standard 2006

“Bright-toned flair”
The Independent 2006

“Faultless tone”
The Guardian 2005    

Full Biography

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.

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 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. Recent performances include 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; Bach St John Passion 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, and the Bafta-nominated Papa Haydn.

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 future releases include the Mozart Requiem with King's College Cambridge.