David was born and brought up in Wells in Somerset and began his musical training as a chorister at Peterborough Cathedral. He trained at the Royal Northern College of Music, the Royal Academy of Music and the National Opera Studio.
In Autumn 2014 David made his English National Opera debut as Rodolfo/La Bohème to huge critical acclaim. He will reprise the role in 2015 for the Zorlu Centre in Istanbul and for English Touring Opera in venues throughout the UK. His burgeoning concert career sees him sing Tippett’s A Child of our Time in Bath and Haydn’s Nelson Mass with the Hallé Orchestra conducted by Sir Mark Elder at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.
From 2012-14 David was a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House where his roles included Abdallo/Nabucco (with Placido Domingo), First Armed Man/Die Zauberflöte, Master of Ceremonies/Gloriana, Pang/Turandot, First Knight/Parsifal, Gastone/La Traviata, Apparition of a Youth/Die Frau ohne Schatten, 1er Commissaire/Dialogues des Carmélites and Offizier/Ariadne auf Naxos.
Concert performances include Verdi Requiem with Orchestre de Picardie and L’Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne, Mahler Das Klagende Lied with Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Rossini Petite Messe Solenelle at the Barbican, Britten Folk Songs with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and recitals at the Wigmore Hall with Simon Lane and the Solstice Quartet.
David was a member of the Glyndebourne Chorus, a Glyndebourne Jerwood Young Artist and the winner of the prestigious John Christie Award in 2011. He made his debut later that year as Rodolfo/La Bohème for Glyndebourne on Tour. Other awards include the John Cameron Prize for Lieder, the Richard Lewis/Jean Shanks Award, the Edwin Samuel Dove Prize and the Bruce Millar/Gulliver Prize. He was also a member of the RNCM University Challenge team in 2003 and a Samling Artist in 2009.
Future plans include role debuts as Don José/Carmen (Nevill Holt Opera), Grigory/Boris Godunov (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden), Laca/Jenufa and Pinkerton/Madama Butterfly.
“The main musical attraction of this revival is the chance to hear young British tenor David Butt Philip making his role debut as Pinkerton […] the voice is growing swiftly, and promises so much for the future. As it stands, it’s one of the best-sung Pinkertons we’ve heard yet in this production, the voice even and lovely from bottom to top (and what a top it is in this piece) and phrasing consistently sensitive and musical.” Mark Valencia, WhatsOnStage
“There’s much to celebrate in the hyper-poetic Rodolfo of Somerset-born David Butt Philip, a lyric-dramatic tenor…young, personable and technically flawless.” David Nice, The Arts Desk
“It’s an impressively complete performance: his Rodolfo is likable and unassuming on stage, but when he sings he unleashes a warm, easy-sounding tenor voice with plenty of heft and ping at the top.” Erica Jeal, The Guardian
“The voice is a glorious one: warm, large, and ringing vibrantly through the high-lying phrases that Puccini lavishes on the poet, with never a hint of fatigue. All delivered with immense bravado and Italianate style.” Steve Silverman, Opera Britannia
“Philip, though, lived up to every expectation with a beautifully judged account of a role that tested the upper reaches his youthful lyric tenor but never found it wanting.” Mark Valencia, Whatsonstage
“David Butt Philip sings expansively and ardently as Rodolfo.” Neil Fisher, The Times
“Philip, who has only recently undertaken a transition from baritone to tenor, deployed a resonant baritonal register in Batter my Heart and Death, be not Proud; the result strongly suggested that when his vocal transformation is complete he will be in command of an exceptionally versatile, solidly based instrument.” The Evening Standard
“David Butt Philip (Calchas) knocked the rest for six.” The Independent
“David Butt Philip has a voice of rare clarity, which is absolutely secure… Two duets and one solo gave just a brief sampling of his quality.” Musical Pointers
“David Butt Philip has a rounded and attractive lyrical tenor… a rare and proper tenor.” The Brighton Argus