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Orchestra

The Orchestra of Classical Opera plays on period-instruments, and comprises some of the leading players in their field.

The orchestra, which varies in size from 12 to 50 depending on repertoire and venue, has won consistently high praise from public and critics alike, and performs symphonies and concertos as well as operas. 18th-century instruments are very different from their modern counterparts. Access to new materials through global trade and advances in technology mean that today’s instruments are lighter and more robust, and might also be more naturally resonant. Most 18-century instruments are far more exposed and difficult to play than their modern equivalents, but they bring a thrilling vibrancy and immediacy to the music. This is particularly true of vocal repertoire, where the orchestra provide a dynamic subtext and often become an extra actor in the drama.

Like Mozart’s musicians, our players are able to improvise around a given melody or harmonic sequence, bringing their own interpretation to a work and ensuring that audiences never hear the same thing twice.

The short film below features one of our principal cellists Joseph Crouch, together with Artistic Director Ian Page, discussing their approach to the interpretation of recitative during the recording of Mozart’s Apollo et Hyacinthus.