Toby Purser’s combination of passion and intellect, structure and freedom, poetry and drama have earned him attention and praise from opera critics including The Times (“such musical energy”), The Telegraph (“galvanising”), and WhatsOnStage (“scintillating precision”).
In the first half of 2019 alone, hehas been nominated for an Oliver Award (best new opera production) for Britten The Turn of the Screwwith ENO/Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, by the International Opera Awards, (best rediscovered work) for Stanford The Travelling Companionwith New Sussex Opera, and awarded a prize by The Peace & You Movement in recognition of his cultural initiatives between the UK and Middle East.
His music-making has prompted guest invitations from numerous opera companies including English National Opera (where he just completed two seasons as ENO Mackerras Conducting Fellow), Lyric Opera Ireland, Grange Park Opera, Opera National de Paris, and Opera della Luna. Appointed Music Director of New Sussex Opera last year, his recent production of Stanford’s The Travelling Companion was recorded by SOMM.
He has most recently returned from conducting performances of La Bohème in Dublin for Lyric Opera, Ireland. For English National Opera, he also conducted The Marriage of Figaro and La Traviata, and was Assistant Conductor on Lulu, the world premiere of Ryan Wigglesworth’s Winter’s Tale, and of Julian Anderson’s Thebans. He was also Assistant Conductor to Edward Gardner at the Opèra National de Paris on Eugene Onegin, and to Anthony Negus at Longborough Festival on Tristan und Isolde. For Grange Park Opera, he conducted Madama Butterfly, Eugene Onegin, Rigoletto and Fortunio, which was also performed at the Buxton Festival. With Opera della Luna, he conducted The Daughter of the Regiment, Orpheus in the Underworld, the UK premiere of Johann Strauss’s operetta Das Spitzentuch der Königin, and Offenbach’s one act operettas Croquefer and L’isle de Tulipatan.
Other operatic performances have included Bailey’s The Black Monk for The Sirius Ensemble, Haydn's The Apothecary and La Canterina for Bampton Classical Opera, Die Entführung aus dem Serail for British Youth Opera and Le Comte Ory for Chelsea Opera Group. For Pimlico Opera, he has conducted productions in various prisons, with a cast of inmates performing alongside professionals in repertoire include Carmen the Musical, Les Misérables, Sugar, Sister Act, Sweeney Todd and West Side Story.
Forthcoming operatic work includes the revival of Orpheus in the Underworld for Opera della Luna, La Belle Hélène for New Sussex Opera, a return invitation from Lyric Opera, Ireland, to conduct Fidelio,and an Italian opera gala at the Royal Festival Hall with Michael Fabiano and Joyce El Khoury.
Orchestras conducted include the St Petersburg Festival Orchestra, St. Petersburg Camerata, Kammerphilharmonie Graz, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, and many leading British orchestra, including the Royal Philharmonic, English Chamber Orchestra, London Concert Orchestra, Manchester Concert Orchestra and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, which he conducted in Jesús León’s debut CD Bel Canto for Opus Arte/Naxos.
In 2005 Toby Purser founded the Orion Orchestra, developing it into London’s leading symphony orchestra for the most talented instrumentalists leaving music college. With them, he performed over a dozen concerts per year in all of London’s most prestigious venues. Now their Principal Guest Conductor, he ended his period as Artistic Director with an acclaimed performance at London’s Cadogan Hall last April of Beethoven Symphony No.9, joined by the London Philharmonic Choir.
As Artistic Director of the Peace and Prosperity Trust, he has been furthering cultural collaboration between the UK and the Middle East with concerts in Beirut and London, bringing together Western and Middle Eastern opera singers, helping relaunch the Beirut Orpheus Choir, and taking music and instruments to Syrian children in the refugee camps on the Lebanese/Syrian border.