Manuel da Costa graduated from the Royal College of Music, London, where he won second prize in the Early Music Competition, and was commended in the Graziella Sciutti Prize and the Keith Falkner Prize.
He studied singing with Margaret Cable and Michael Chance, in London; with the soprano Elena Dumitresco Nentwig, the baritone Franz-Ferdinand Nentwig in Hanover, Germany; and also in Lisbon with Dr. João Lourenço, who passed on the tradition he acquired in his studies at the Universities of Texas and Boston.
Manuel has performed in London, Japan, France, Brussels, Germany, on tour in Maputo, Goa, New Delhi, Mombay and Macau, and at home in Lisbon, Cascais, Oporto, Obidos, Aveiro, Faro, Espinho, Guarda and elsewhere in Portugal.
He has worked under the direction of many conductors including Leonardo de Barros, Peter Basseno, Christopher Bochmann, Henrique Piloto, Ricardo Cangi, Joana Carneiro, Antonio Carrilho, César Viana, Cesario Costa, Kethil Haugsand, Jorge Matta, João Paulo Santos, João Paulo Janeiro, Nicholas Kok, Nikolay Lalov, Jorge Matta, Ivan Moody, Manuel Morais, João Paulo Santos, Paul Spicer , etc
Manuel Brás da Costa has sung the roles Ernst, a world première of a contemporary opera, Jerusalem, by Vasco Mendonça at Culturgest Cultural Centre, July 2009/10, of Narciso in Handel’s Agrippina, S. Carlos Lisbon Opera Theatre, 2008/9; Orfeo in Charpentier’s La déscente d’Orphée aux Enfers Lisbon- Palácio da Independencia, 2008/9; Opener in the world premiere of Vasco Mendonça’s Opera Reset at the Culturgest in Lisbon, 2006/7 and at the Beurschouwburg Theatre in Brussels, 2007; Oberon in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Britten Theatre, London and the National Cultural Centre in Lisbon, 2006; Endiminione in La Calisto by Cavalli at the Britten Theatre and the National Cultural Centre in the Lisbon, 2006; Arsindo in Il Trionfo d’Amore by Francisco António de Almeida at the Belem Cultural Centre in Lisbon and Aveiro Cultural Centre; Ottone in excerpts from Monteverdi’s L’ incoronazione di Poppea; the poet Benjamin in Nefertiti by José Julio Lopes in Lisbon at the Trindade Theatre in Lisbon; Castrato in the theatre work A última batalha by Fernando Augusto at the Aberto Theatre in Lisbon; Anjo da história in the opera Os dias levantados (Time out of Joint) by António Pinho Vargas at São Carlos, as part of the Lisbon Expo 1998; Verão (Summer) in the theatre piece O trionfo de Inverno by Gil Vicente at the Cornucopia Theatre in Lisbon, and as The Singer in O Inverno de 45 (Winter of 45) by Michael Deutsh, at the Trindade Theatre.
Manuel also has an extensive sacred repertoire. He has sung in works by Bach (Johannes Passion and B-minor Mass, Magnificat, and cantatas Widersthehe doch der Sunde, Vergnugte Ruh), Mozart (Coronation Mass, G Major Mass, Requiem) Pergolesi (Salve Regina, Stabat Mater), Vivaldi (Salve Regina, Stabat Mater, Nisi Dominus, and the profane cantata Cessate Omai Cessate), Haendel (Messiah, and other orotarios),Pergolesi ( Stabat Mater, Salve Regina ) as well as being a well-known interpreter of the works of the Portuguese baroque composers Francisco António de Almeida (Te Deum, Magnificat) and Carlos Seixas (Mass, Dixit Dominus), José Joaquim dos Santos, Pero de Escobar, Melgaz, and others.
His many recordings include the Vilancicos and Vilancetes by Pero de Escobar with the Escobar Ensemble; Mass by Carlos Seixas with the Norweigen Baroque Orchestra; Canções medievais e renascentistas with the Birundum Consort; a private recording of Il trionfo d’Amore in 2003. He has been invited to sing in a record of organ music with alto by João Vaz.
Manuel has been a member of the Lisbon-based baroque musical ensembles Capela Joanina (conductor João Paulo Janeiro), Escobar ensemble (conductor Ivan Moody), Os Segréis de Lisboa (conductor Manuel Morais), Madeira Camerata and a member of the medieval and renaissance musical ensemble Birundum (conductor César Viana, since 1999. He has toured Portugal, France and India with these ensembles and others.
In 2001, he was invited to be the main singer in a world music project called San Simon. The recording of this project, an album of modern compositions inspired by the lyrics of the cancões de amigo (14th and 15th centuries – poems of friendship and love, set to music by troubadours and trouvers), won first prize at an international composition competition in England this year and second prize at the John Lennon International Composition Competition in the USA. The cast of San Simon, with Manuel, are invited to be present in November 2007 at the Latin Grammies in L.A.
Manuel’s future engagements include a world Tour with Amar a Terra – a performance of live music and modern Dance, commissioned by Unesco -the title role in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice; Tour in France of the Händel’s Messiah.
Manuel has solo and orchestral concerts in Japan, Brazil, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Azores Islands.
Manuel has been expanding his career as a singing and vocal technique teacher in several theatres, universities and cultural centres in Portugal.
Manuel works occasionally as a model for Central Models Agency and as actor on national television in Portugal.