REVIEWS - 2016
Billy Budd, Opera North
Alastair Miles, a true world-class bass of the colour the villain needs, has Claggart break out of his stiff public persona to terrifying effect in his monologue of hatred and envy, twisting Billy’s red neckerchief in his hands and making a curse over it … superb company work and three principals for the battle of good and evil all equal to their dramatic challenges at a level I haven’t seen for decades.
David Nice, The Arts Desk
As Claggart, Alastair Miles is wonderfully intimidating, with a voice that holds fast and a withheld officiousness (he makes you want to hiss, as if at a pantomime baddie).
Kate Kellaway, The Guardian
Alastair Miles’s Claggart is physically and vocally imposing.
Richard Morrison, The Times
Alastair Miles, an always modest wonderful bass, is subtle, firm and self-commanding as Claggart – all the more frightening for not being a monster.
Tom Sutcliffe, Critics Circle
the cast of this intense, all-male psychological drama is strong, and there were other striking performances. John Claggart, the Master of Arms, for example, played by Alastair Miles, was the required embodiment of depravity, costumed in black and swishing a cane around. The homoerotic element, brought to the libretto by EM Forster and Eric Crozier was not overemphasised, but Miles gave a moving interpretation, dark and low, of “O beauty, O handsomeness, goodness”, the character’s admission to himself that he has secret, forbidden desires, addressed to Billy’s red neckerchief on the floor. It was a nice touch. His “I will wipe you off the face of the earth!” had real power.
Richard Wilcocks, Bachtrack
To two singers – baritone Roderick Williams and bass Alastair Miles – falls the nigh-on impossible task of creating the symbolic roles of Billy and Claggart, embodiments of good and evil respectively. Miles conveys much of the inner darkness of Claggart, whose self-loathing causes him to destroy the being who has caused him to feel – perhaps for the very first time – a kind of love. Three wonderfully realised central performances in Britten’s saga of good versus evil.
George Hall, The Stage
There is an inherent problem with the role ( Claggart ): how to convey menace without crossing into Sweeny Todd country with stereotypical, farcical villainy. It’s a thin line easily crossed, but Alastair Miles managed to stop short… Vocally strong, Miles paradoxically gets one of the loveliest soliloquies in the opera which he sang beautifully while at the same time conveying the inner turmoil of the character.
John Leeman, SeenandHeardInternational
Don Carlos, Grange Park Opera
..and Alastair Miles’s loathsome Grand Inquisitor is precisely the monster Verdi intended him to be without ever sliding into caricature.
Alastair Miles didn’t overdo the subtlety of the Grand Inquisitor: this was a big bass voice used with the volume control turned up full …
Alastair Miles’ minutely detailed Inquisitor. What a fine singing actor Miles is – from such a moving Pogner at Glyndebourne just a few weeks ago, to this portrait of cruel obduracy.