NEW! FIVE YOUNG SINGERS JOIN THE JETTE PARKER YOUNG ARTISTS FOR 2017

10/01/2017

NEW JETTE PARKER YOUNG ARTISTS ANNOUNCED FOR 2017

rohThe Royal Opera is delighted to announce the five singers who will join the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme in September 2017.

American soprano Jacquelyn Stucker

Korean soprano Haegee Lee

Russian mezzo-soprano Aigul Akhmetshina

Korean tenor Kuno Kim

British baritone Dominic Sedgwick Read more

NEW! THE SOPRANO ELISABETH MEISTER: FIGHTING BACK FROM WHAT LIFE THROWS AT YOU AND INSPIRING OTHERS

03/01/2017

Fighting Back From What Life Throws At You And Inspiring Others: Jim Pritchard Interviews The Soprano Elisabeth Meister

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Elisabeth Meister

One of the highlights of the recent concert performance of Die Walküre for the Saffron Opera Group was Elisabeth Meister’s wonderful Sieglinde. Peter Reed in Opera magazine described how ‘gathering depth and brilliance’ she ‘built towards an orchestra-surfing “O hehrstes Wunder!” of pulverizing grandeur’. On this site I said she just ‘got better and better’ and how ‘Meister is an intelligent singer who knows how to project her voice, and she achieved extraordinary heights of passion in Act III without pushing the voice beyond its limits.’ (For full review click here.) I also mentioned how Elisabeth was – with this performance – returning to singing after something of a hiatus to her singing career, which was set to have a meteoric rise after leaving the Royal Opera’s Jette Parker Young Artists Programme. Elisabeth has a remarkable – and inspirational – story to tell which involves losing and regaining her singing voice. Read more

NEW! REVIEWERS OF SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL PICK THEIR BEST OF 2016

23/12/2016

THE BEST OF 2016 FROM REVIEWERS OF SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL  Read more

NEW! The Mastersingers Celebrate Wagner Past and Present with the Rehearsal Orchestra

01/11/2016

Wagner, Götterdämmerung Act II: Soloists; Mastersingers Chorale; Rehearsal Orchestra / David Syrus (conductor), Henry Wood Hall, London, 30.10.2016. (JPr) Read more

NEW! MARTYN BRABBINS IS ENGLISH NATIONAL OPERA’S NEW MUSIC DIRECTOR

21/10/2016

Martyn Brabbins to take up position as Music Director of English National Opera from 21 October 2016
Martyn Brabbins

Martyn Brabbins (c) Benjamin Ealovega

English National Opera (ENO) has today, 21 October 2016, announced that British conductor Martyn Brabbins will become Music Director of the Company with immediate effect.

Read more

NEW! MONICA HUGGETT IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN

17/10/2016

MONICA HUGGETT IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN

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Monica Huggett © Hiroshi Iwaya

If one wanted a broad picture of the evolution of historical performance, with intriguing little nuances revealed along the way, there would be few better musicians to talk to than Monica Huggett. She has been an unremitting force for four decades, well known from her early association with the Academy of Ancient Music and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, and these days as Artistic Director of the Portland and Irish Baroque Orchestras, and Adviser to the Juilliard Historical Program. This interview traces the violinist’s experiences from the time when the authentic movement was just gathering momentum. Most important are her insights about how historical performance has developed out of a number of contrasting approaches that have cross-fertilized each other. Equally interesting are her ideas on where historical scholarship and performance practice still have room to grow, what she wants to achieve from an orchestra in interpretation, and how she has maintained an undiminished inspiration all this time. The interview took place in conjunction with the Vancouver Bach Festival in August 2016, where Monica Huggett directed the Pacific Baroque Orchestra in the Complete Bach Orchestral Suites (review).    Read more

UPDATED IN MEMORIAM – SIR NEVILLE MARRINER CH, CBE (1924 – 2016)

02/10/2016

Sir Neville Marriner CH, CBE, Founder and Life President of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields has died

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Sir Neville Marriner (1924-2016)

The Academy of St Martin in the Fields is deeply saddened to announce the death of Sir Neville Marriner, Founder and Life President of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Sir Neville Marriner passed away peacefully in the night on 2 October. Read more

NEW! OLIVER MEARS TO JOIN ROYAL OPERA HOUSE AS DIRECTOR OF OPERA

12/09/2016

OLIVER MEARS TO JOIN ROYAL OPERA HOUSE IN MARCH 2017

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Oliver Mears © Sim Canetty-Clarke

The Royal Opera House announced today that Oliver Mears will join the Royal Opera House at the beginning of March 2017 to succeed Kasper Holten as Director of Opera, who leaves on 11 March 2017.

Artistic Director of Northern Ireland Opera, Northern Ireland’s national company since its foundation in 2010, Oliver Mears has built up the company with a focus on excellence, local context, innovation and ambitious local and international partnerships. A champion of Northern Irish and Irish composers, the company has also been determined to build new audiences for the art form, taken the lead in creating work with communities across Northern Ireland and initiated the country’s first dedicated Young Artists Programme.

As a director he has staged productions for Northern Ireland Opera including Tosca – which won the Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Opera in 2012 – L’elisir d’amore, Der fliegende Holländer – which was nominated for Achievement in Opera Award, Theatre Awards UK 2013 – Macbeth (with Welsh National Opera), Salome, Agrippina, Hansel and Gretel and The Turn of the Screw (also Novaya Opera, Moscow). His production of Noye’s Fludde featured as part of the London Cultural Olympiad before travelling to Beijing and Shanghai.

He has also directed productions for the Young Vic, Aldeburgh Music, Opera North, Nederlandse Reisopera, Pimlico Opera, Nevill Holt Opera, Scottish Opera and Bergen National Opera. As Artistic Director of Second Movement, he directed productions across London in site-specific venues, while his production of Martinů’s The Knife’s Tears for the company travelled to Brno and Prague as part of the 2010 Janáček Festival.

Announcing the appointment, Alex Beard, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House said: ‘I am delighted that Oliver Mears is to join the Royal Opera House. He has successfully established Northern Ireland Opera as an important part of the UK opera scene as its founding Artistic Director, conceiving and delivering a range of innovative and impressive projects on and beyond the stage. It’s a very exciting appointment.’

These sentiments were echoed by Antonio Pappano, Music Director of The Royal Opera: ‘I have been very impressed by Oliver Mears all through the selection process. He is fiercely intelligent, very knowledgeable about what is going on in the world of the performing arts, in particular theatre and opera, and he has genuine passion for our art form. I look forward to a very productive collaboration with him and wish him all success.’

Oliver Mears said ‘I have had a wonderful time at Northern Ireland Opera over the last six years and am proud of the company’s growth and artistic excellence. I’m thrilled to be joining The Royal Opera to work alongside Antonio Pappano, Peter Katona, Cormac Simms, John Fulljames and the team – we have already had some inspiring conversations and I look forward to the future working together.

Full Biography

Oliver Mears gained a Double First in English and History at Lincoln College, Oxford, and began his career assisting playwright Howard Barker. While working at many of the leading opera houses of the world including the Royal Opera House and La Scala, Milan, he became one of the founding Artistic Directors of London-based opera company Second Movement, directing many site-specific opera productions, including several UK stage premieres and a tour to Prague and Brno of Martinů’s The Knife’s Tears.

He has been Artistic Director of Northern Ireland Opera (Northern Ireland’s national company) since its foundation in 2010.

As director, he has staged many productions for Northern Ireland Opera including Tosca – which won the Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Opera in 2012 – L’elisir d’amore, Der fliegende Holländer – which was nominated for an Achievement in Opera Award, Theatre Awards UK 2013 – Macbeth (with Welsh National Opera), Salome, Agrippina (winner of Best Production, Dublin Theatre Fringe Festival Awards), Hansel and Gretel and The Turn of the Screw. His production of Noye’s Fludde featured as part of the London Cultural Olympiad 2012 before travelling to festivals in Beijing and Shanghai, while his production of The Turn of the Screw travelled to the Buxton Festival and Novaya Opera, Moscow.

He has also directed productions for the Young Vic, Aldeburgh Music, Opera North, Nederlandse Reisopera Holland, Pimlico Opera, Nevill Holt Opera, Early Opera Company, Scottish Opera, the National Opera Studio, and Bergen National Opera. In 2012 he was nominated for an ‘Achievement in Opera’ award by the UK TMA Awards for his leadership of NI Opera, and was nominated in the ‘Best Newcomer’ (Director) category at the 2013 International Opera Awards.

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