Alastair Miles is a bass who has frequently appeared on operatic stages in Europe and North America. He studied flute as a boy and continued studies of that instrument at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. After graduation, he worked as an orchestral flute player, then was encouraged to study voice. He made his operatic debut in 1985, then entered vocal competitions. He was the recipient of the Decca-Kathleen Ferrier Prize, one of Britain's most prestigious awards, in 1986, and in 1987 won the John Christie Award from the Glyndebourne Festival. Subsequently, he has appeared there regularly.
He sings frequently in productions of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in London, the English National Opera, and the Welsh National Opera. In Europe, he has sung with the Vienna State Opera, and in Berlin, Vancouver, Lyon, Amsterdam, and the Opéra de Paris. His American debut was in 1993 at San Francisco as Giorgio Walton in I Puritani, and in 1994 again sang there as Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor. He debuted at New York's Metropolitan Opera in 1996 as Sparafucile in Rigoletto, and was invited to return the next season as Giorgio in Puritani.
He is considered an ideal Verdi bass, and besides Sparafucile has sung as Zaccaria in Nabucco and in Otello, King Philip in Don Carlo, and in Ernani. He is also well known for bel canto-era roles in such operas as La Juive, Linda di Chamounix, Il viaggio a Reims, I Capuleti ed I Montecchi, La Traviata, La cenerentola, and The Barber of Seville. However, his operatic repertory is wide enough to encompass Le nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte, Don Giovanni, La bohème, Fidelio, Parsifal, Gounod's Roméo et Juliette, Faust, Handel's Agrippina, and Janácek's The Cunning Little Vixen.
Miles is also highly in demand as a concert singer. He has appeared with all the major symphony orchestras of Britain, as well as the New York Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic, the Swedish Philharmonia, the Swedish Radio Orchestra, and the Glyndebourne Festival. His concert repertory includes Mendelssohn's Elijah, Verdi's Requiem, Handel's Saul, Alexander's Feast, and Samson, and Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette, and L'Enfance du Christ. He has recorded for the likes of Chandos and Opera Rara, and further performances included Nick Shadow in The Rake's Progress in Vienna and Handel's Alcina and Il viaggio.