Canadian-British bass baritone Giles Tomkins made his Pacific Opera Victoria mainstage debut in October 2009 as Dr. Grenvil in La traviata. An alumnus of Pacific Opera Victoria's Fall 2009 Resident Artist Program, Giles returned in February 2011 as Colline in Puccini's La bohème – a role he has also performed with Scottish Opera, Saskatoon Opera, and Highlands Opera Studio. In February 2013 he returned as Police Superintendent Budd in Britten's Albert Herring – a role he has also performed with the prestigious Britten-Pears Festival in Aldeburgh and with Vancouver Opera in fall 2014. Giles also performed the Sweepmaster in The Little Sweep in POV's Britten Festival collaboration with the Belfry Theatre. In February, 2015, POV welcomed Giles as Raimondo in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor – a role debut followed by a reprise for Edmonton Opera in April, 2015. In 2016 Giles returned as Don Basilio in Rossini's The Barber of Seville – a role he had previously performed with Opera Lyra Ottawa and with Scottish Opera, directed by Sir Thomas Allen. April 2016 sees him on the POV stage as Snug in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Recent engagements also include Elijah with Vancouver Bach Choir and Bach's Christmas Oratorio with Symphony Nova Scotia. On the contemporary music scene, Giles joined the cast of The Bells of Baddeck, Dean Burry's music drama based on the life of Alexander Graham Bell, in Cape Breton.
Giles is recognized as one of Canadaís most promising young singers, widely praised for his vocal virtuosity and lyricism in an impressive range of repertoire. His performances in the United Kingdom have included King Arthur (Purcell) at the Aldeburgh Festival and the European première of Queen of Puddings Music Theatre's production of The Midnight Court at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Recent operatic roles include Angelotti in Tosca with Opera Lyra Ottawa; Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte at Tanglewood (conducted by James Levine); Leporello and the Commendatore in Don Giovanni with Vancouver Opera. In 2015 Giles debuted the role of Konchak in Borodinís rarely-performed Prince Igor with Torontoís Voicebox:Opera in Concert.
In keeping with the lyrical law enforcement theme, Giles performed the Sergeant of Police in The Pirates of Penzance with Vancouver Opera, in addition to his appearances as Superintendent Budd in both Vancouver and Victoria.
Giles was an expressive Christus in Toronto Bach Consortís performance of the St John Passion, conducted by Yannick Neézet-Séguin. Other recent concert performances have included Messiah with the Elmer Iseler Singers, Aradia Ensemble and Symphony Nova Scotia, as well as The Damnation of Faust (Berlioz) with the Vancouver Bach Choir; the Beethoven Ninth Symphony with both Peterborough Symphony and Symphony New Brunswick, as well as the St John Passion with Thirteen Strings in Ottawa.
Giles has become a familiar figure as Colline in La bohème, in recent years performing the role with Scottish Opera, as well as in Saskatoon, Kingston, and with Pacific Opera Victoria. He most recently bade farewell to his old coat in Manitoba Operaís 2014 production of La bohème.
Giles has performed with such leading arts organizations in Toronto as the Canadian Opera Company, the Aldeburgh Connection, Opera In Concert, and Queen of Puddings Music Theatre Company. He has also performed alongside such leading chamber music groups as the St. Lawrence String Quartet and the world-renowned Canadian Brass.
He has appeared on seven Naxos recordings with the Aradia Ensemble, including Rameau's Castor et Pollux, Handel's Rinaldo, and Vivaldi's Griselda, has recorded with the Canadian Brass and The Elmer Iseler Singers, is featured on a Centrediscs release of Baby Kintyre: An Opera by Dean Burry, and has released a solo CD And So It Goes. He has also frequently been featured on CBC Radio, Classical 96 FM, Bravo! Television, and BBC Radio 3 in the UK.
Tomkins has a generous and clear voice which he used to good effect in his rich and gentle arias.
Elizabeth Paterson, Review Vancouver, Review of Pacific Opera Victoria's Lucia di Lammermoor, 2015
Giles Tomkins handles his role as Sergeant of Police with glorious goofiness, combining with members of the Vancouver Opera Chorus with that ludicrously charming character song A Policemanís Lot Is Not a Happy One.
John Jane, Review Vancouver, 2012
Giles Tomkins' opportunistic Don Basilio (his account of "La Calunnia" was first rate)... rounded out the accomplished cast very well.
Wayne Gooding, Opera Canada, 2012
Don Basilio in the able hands of Giles Tomkins is also a creation of new and surprising qualities, at least a far as Iíve experienced. Here is a man with constantly startled eyeballs who lays on his innuendo like sticky jam, which is doubly funny in a beautifully sung bass-baritone. He glides as he walks and is hilarious as an understated presence.
James Strecker, jamesstrecker.com, 2011