Mozart: Mitridate, re di PontoBack To Shop
Ian Page is the founder, conductor and artistic director of Classical Opera. He began his musical education as a chorister at Westminster Abbey, and studied English Literature at the University of York before completing his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London. At the start of his career he worked on the music staff at Scottish Opera, Opera Factory, Drottningholm and Glyndebourne, working with such conductors as Sir Alexander Gibson, Nicholas McGegan, Mark Wigglesworth, Ivor Bolton and Sir Charles Mackerras.
With Classical Opera he has conducted most of Mozart’s early operas, including the world premières of the “original” version of Mitridate, re di Ponto and a new completion of Zaide, as well as Le nozze di Figaro, Così fan tutte and La clemenza di Tito. He has also conducted the UK premières of Gluck’s La clemenza di Tito and Telemann’s Orpheus, and the first new staging for 250 years of Johann Christian Bach’s Adriano in Siria. In 2009 he made his Royal Opera House début conducting Arne’s Artaxerxes at the Linbury Studio Theatre, and his studio recording of the work was released in 2011 on Linn Records.
He also devised and conducted Classical Opera’s recordings of ‘The A-Z of Mozart Opera’ (Signum Classics) and ‘Blessed Spirit – a Gluck retrospective’ (Wigmore Hall Live), both of which were selected for Gramophone magazine’s annual Critic’s Choice, and he recently embarked on a new complete cycle of Mozart opera recordings with Classical Opera.
The Orchestra of Classical Opera
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 generally far more exposed and difficult to play than their modern counterparts, 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.
Barry Banks appears in the title role of Classical Opera’s recording of Mozart’s Mitridate, re di Ponto. Barry’s outstanding facility in roles by Bellini, Rossini and Donizetti regularly takes him to the world’s leading opera houses, and performances have included Arturo (I puritani), Arnold (Guillaume Tell), the title role in Mitridate and Don Narciso (Il turco in Italia), Ernesto (Don Pasquale), Count Almaviva (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Idreno (Semiramide), Don Ramiro (La cenerentola) and Iago in Rossini’s Otello. At English National Opera he has appeared as Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann) and the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto.
Internationally renowned Swedish soprano Miah Persson worked with Classical Opera on the recording of Mozart’s Mitridate, re di Ponto, and most recently performed a programme of Haydn and Mozart at Wigmore Hall in 2014. In her distinguished career she has appeared at the Paris Opera, Wiener Staatsoper, Bayerische Staatsoper, Metropolitan Opera New York and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, among others. Recent highlights include Pamina in Die Zauberflöte at the Metropolitan Opera New York and the title role in L’incoronazione di Poppea at Teatro alla Scala Milan.
Sophie Bevan made her Classical Opera début in 2005 as Publio in the UK première of Gluck’s La clemenza di Tito, and became an Associate Artist in 2007. Other appearances with the company include Weltgeist (Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots), Silvia (Ascanio in Alba), our J. C. Bach, Handel, Gluck and Haydn retrospectives at Wigmore Hall and several concerts at Kings Place. She appears on our recordings of Apollo et Hyacinthus and Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots, singing the roles of Hyacinthus and Der Weltgeist respectively, and appears in the title role on our recording of Zaide. She can also be heard on our recording ‘Blessed Spirit – a Gluck retrospective’ (Wigmore Hall Live, 2010). Further roles include Barbarina (Le nozze di Figaro) for Welsh National Opera, Xenia (Boris Godunov), Soprano (Messiah), Despina (Così fan tutte), Télaïre (Castor et Pollux) and Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier) for English National Opera, and Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) and Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) for Garsington Opera. Her extensive concert repertoire ranges from Handel’s Samson to James Macmillan’s Parthenogenesis, and in 2008 she made her BBC Proms début in Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music.
Lawrence Zazzo sang the title role in Classical Opera’s début production of Mozart’s Apollo et Hyacinthus in 1998, and in 2011 he returned to appear with the company in concert at Wigmore Hall. In 2016 he joined the company in Eisenstadt to perform in the annual Haydn Festival at the Esterházy palace. Further operatic appearances have included the title roles in Handel’s Giulio Cesare for Opéra National de Paris and Radamisto for English National Opera, Tolomeo (Giulio Cesare) for the Metropolitan Opera, New York, Farnace (Mitridate, re di Ponto) for Bayerische Staatsoper and Trinculo (Ades’ The Tempest) for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Klara Ek has previously appeared with Classical Opera as Vitellia (UK première of Gluck’s La clemenza di Tito) and Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), and in concerts at Wigmore Hall, the Barbican and, in September 2016, at the annual Haydn Festival at the Esterházy palace in Eisenstadt. She can also be heard on the company’s début recording ‘The A-Z of Mozart Opera’. Other operatic roles include Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) for Staatstheater Stuttgart, Ilia (Idomeneo) for Danish National Opera, Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte) for Théâtre de la Monnaie, Brussels and Arminda (La finta giardiniera) for the Academy of Ancient Music, and she has appeared in concert with many of the world’s leading orchestras.
Robert Murray studied at the Royal College of Music and the National Opera Studio, and he was a Jette Parker Young Artist at the Royal Opera House. He has appeared with Classical Opera in concert at Wigmore Hall (‘Mozart in Salzburg’ and Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots), the Barbican (‘The A-Z of Mozart Opera’) and in our Mozart in London festival at Milton Court. His operatic roles have included Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Lysander (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Agenore (Il re pastore), Belfiore (La finta giardiniera), Jacquino (Fidelio) and Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) for the Royal Opera, the title role in Albert Herring for Glyndebourne Touring Opera, Piquillo (La Périchole) and Tom Rakewell (The Rake’s Progress) for Garsington Opera, among others. Recordings include a Complete Poulenc Songs series for Signum Classics and excerpts from Britten’s Gloriana for Chandos.
Anna Devin studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the National Opera Studio. She was a Jette Parker Young Artist at the Royal Opera House where her operatic roles have included Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), Suor Genovieffa (Suor Angelica), Amante (Il Tabarro), Papagena (Die Zauberflöte), Dew Fairy (Hänsel und Gretel) and Silvia (L’isola Disabitata). Further operatic roles have included, Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) for Glyndebourne on Tour, Gretel (Hänsel und Gretel) for Garsington Opera and Sophie (Werther) for Scottish Opera. With Classical Opera she has appeared in concert at Wigmore Hall and in July 2013 she recorded Arbate (Mitridate, re di Ponto).