Purves sang with Opera North in several productions in the seasons 1997 to 2004 and later. He performed with The Sixteen and has an extensive discography. Purves featured on the CD cover as Figaro in Opera in English's release of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro in 2004. He was one of the artists on the Lamenti recital (Virgin Classics) which won Record of the Year in 2009 at France's Victoires de la musique classique. He premiered the role of Protector in George Benjamin's 2012 opera, Written on Skin, and the role of Walt Disney in Philip Glass's 2013 opera The Perfect American.
A choral scholar at King’s College, Cambridge, Purves went on to become a member of experimental rock group Harvey and the Wallbangers.
- Opera (2009), vol. 60, p. 516, "Christopher Purves. Erica Jeal. Purves sings his first Falstaff at Glyndebourne this month Before I get to talk with ... Home was Cambridge, where as a boy treble he sang in the choir of King's College. ... (Gerald Finley was the fellow bass of his year group: the tenor Mark Padmore was in the year above.) ..."