Tenor Nigel Rogers has led a highly colorful and varied music career, primarily singing in concerts and recitals, serving as a professor of music at the Royal College of Music, founding the choral ensemble Chiaroscuro and (as a late-comer) taking up conducting. Moreover, the early years of his career were spent in Germany and his operatic debut came only in 1969. For all his multifaceted talents, though, he has been above all a great singer. Yet, even his admirers will tell that while he possessed an attractive voice, it was not as creamy or warm as many other tenor voices; but Rogers wielded his instrument with all the dramatic and technical skills one could ever expect. Rogers was highly regarded in early music and Baroque repertory, with notable performances of works by Machaut, Gabrieli, Monteverdi, J.S. Bach, Schütz, Dowland, Purcell, and many others. But his repertory extended well beyond the Baroque period to take in music by Schubert, Verdi, and Britten. Rogers made about 70 recordings during his career, spread over a range of labels, including Chandos, Decca, DG, EMI, Lyrichord, Teldec, and Virgin Classics.
Nigel Rogers was born in Wellington, Shropshire, England, on March 21, 1935. From 1953-1956 he studied music at Cambridge University (King's College), becoming a choral scholar. He had further studies privately at Rome and Milan, and from 1959-1961 he was enrolled at the Hochschule für Musik in Munich where his most important teacher was Gerhard Hüsch. From 1960-1964, Rogers sang in the early music Munich-based vocal quartet Studio der frühen Musik. Rogers returned to England in 1965 and four years later made his operatic debut in Amsterdam. He returned to Amsterdam on several subsequent occasions, including for his 1972 appearance as Poppea in Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea, under Gustav Leonhardt.
Rogers served as professor of voice at London's Royal College of Music, from 1978. The following year he founded Chiaroscuro, a vocal ensemble devoted to early Italian music. At age 50 (1985) Rogers made his conducting debut. He would go on to direct and perform in many choral works, such as Alessandro Scarlatti's La gloria di primavera (1996). Rogers was still active in his seventies: at his 70th birthday concert in Wigmore Hall (May 3, 2005), he performed a range of solo works by Carissimi, Frescobaldi, Kapsberger, Stradella, Froberger, and others, with Elizabeth Kenny on theorbo and Lina Zilinskyte on harpsichord.