Launch of our new season

It seems scarcely credible, but this month Classical Opera celebrates its 18th birthday. Our launch concert took place at the Royal College of Music’s Britten Theatre on 8 September 1997, and the illustrious line-up of soloists that evening included Gerald Finley and Melvyn Tan. We have come a long way since then, of course, but it seems entirely fitting that for our opening concerts of the 2015/16 season we are welcoming back the singer who has probably appeared with the company more times than any other.

Sophie Bevan first sang with Classical Opera in 2004, when she was still an undergraduate, and has appeared with us every year since, becoming an Associate Artist in 2007. Her many accolades have included the Critics’ Circle Award for Exceptional Young Talent in 2010, The Times Breakthrough Award at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards in 2012 and the Young Artist award at the inaugural International Opera Awards in 2013 – all this despite never having entered a competition.

She is now emerging as arguably the leading Mozart soprano of her generation, and despite still being in her early thirties she has already been cast in such major roles as Pamina (The Magic Flute), Ilia (Idomeneo) and Susanna (The Marriage of Figaro) at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. She has also featured in four Classical Opera recordings, to which two more – including her debut solo recital CD – will be added next year.
The opening concerts of our new season offer an exciting chance to see and hear Sophie live in concert with Ian Page and The Orchestra of Classical Opera – at Windsor Castle (our Windsor Festival debut) on 25 September and Cadogan Hall on 29 September. There is a great benefit in these artists having worked together so often and regularly, and Sophie will be singing magnificent concert arias by the three greatest composers of the Classical era – Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. The programme also includes orchestral works by these three composers, culminating in Beethoven’s exhilarating and prophetic First Symphony, completed in the opening weeks of the nineteenth century. This final work in particular will serve as a dynamic showcase for an orchestra which in recent years has been receiving increasingly glowing praise and recognition.

These concerts are the first of several exciting programmes we are offering this season, and we very much hope that you will be able to join us to celebrate our coming of age.