Having begun performing at an early age as an actor in musicals and plays, Christopher Dawes then ventured into opera where he has worked professionally for nearly four decades. Since his recent transition from in front of the footlights to behind the director’s desk, he has taken on assignments as Assistant Director with major opera companies in his native Australia. Credits include HMS Pinafore, Trial by Jury, Turandot, Werther, Cavalleria rusticana, Pagliacci, La bohème and Aida. He has been revival director of L’elisir d’amore for Opera Queensland and has staged the open-air productions of Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci and La bohème for Opera Australia.
During his long career as a character tenor, Christopher demonstrated his versatility through a wide range of roles in opera, operetta and music theatre. He spent 8 years singing in Germany at Würzburg City Theatre and was a popular guest performer in The Student Prince at the Heidelberg Castle Festival on several occasions. He has appeared with most of the major state opera companies in Australia and was a permanent principal artist with the The Australian Opera (now Opera Australia) for 25 years. He sang the role of David in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the 1990 New Zealand International Festival of the Arts and played the opera tenor Piangi in the Australian premiere season of The Phantom of the Opera, performing the role over 700 times.
Christopher performed more than 30 roles during his tenure in Germany and in Australia his repertoire includes the following: Basilio and Curzio in Le nozze di Figaro, Monostatos in Die Zauberflöte, Pedrillo in Die Entfϋhrung aus dem Serail, Benoit and Alcindoro in La bohème, Pang in Turandot, Goro in Madama Butterfly, Spoletta in Tosca, Trin in La fanciulla del West, Tinca in Il tabarro, Bardolfo in
Falstaff, Trabuco in La forza del Destino, Borsa in Rigoletto, Gastone in La Traviata, Roderigo in Otello, Remendado in Carmen, Poisson in Adriana Lecouvreur, Missail in Boris Godounov, Rector and Bob Boles in Peter Grimes, Snout in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Lucano in L’incoronazione di Poppea, Triquet in Eugene Onegin, Moser and Vogelgesang in Die Meistersinger von Nϋrnberg, Schreiber in Tannhäuser, Rustighello in Lucrezia Borgia, Schmidt in Werther, Schoolmaster in The Cunning Little Vixen, Topp in Voss, Premier in The Eighth Wonder, Leonato in Béatrice et Bénédict, Incredibile in Andrea Chénier, Mendel in Fiddler on the Roof, Duchess of Plaza-Toro in The Gondoliers, Njegus and St Brioche in The Merry Widow, Blind in Fledermaus, Baron Zsupan in Countess Maritza, Feri in The Gypsy Princess, Pimpinelli in Paganini, Pirelli in Sweeney Todd, Lord Tolloller in Iolanthe.
Christopher appears in the Opera Australia video recordings of La Traviata, Voss, Tosca, The Mastersingers, The Merry Widow, Adriana Lecouvreur and Fledermaus.