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Ana Maria Labin
The Romanian born soprano Ana Maria Labin grew up in Zurich. In concert she has performed with the Classical Opera Company, the Austro-Hungarian Haydn Philharmonic, English Concert, Collegio Ghislieri and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Opera roles include Valencienne (La Veuve joyeuse)Â for La Scala and Paris, Arminda (La finta Giardiniera) at Aix-en-Provence, Contessa (Le nozze di Figaro) for Opera North, Najade (Ariadne auf Naxos) for the Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Armida (Rinaldo) and Konstanze (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) for Glyndebourne on Tour, and La Baronessa Irene (La vera costanza) at Haydnfestspiele Brühl.
Helen Sherman studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music, where she was the first student to receive the International Artists Diploma in opera. For Classical Opera, Helen has sung the role of Sesto in Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito and performed in our Mozart in London festival at Milton Court, and she has recently been named an Associate Artist. In 2011, Helen represented Australia at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition and in 2012 she was awarded Australian Music Association prizes at the Royal Overseas League Music competition in London. Previous operatic roles include Aurelio (L’assedio di Calais) and Dorabella (Così fan tutte) for English Touring Opera, Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) for Mid Wales Opera, Suzuki (Madama Butterfly) and Governess (The Queen of Spades) for Grange Park Opera.
Ben Johnson has appeared with Classical Opera as Aceste (Ascanio in Alba) and in concerts at King’s Place and Milton Court. In 2008 he won First Prize at the Kathleen Ferrier awards, and he was an English National Opera Harewood Artist and a Wigmore Hall Emerging Talent. Operatic engagements have included Novice (Billy Budd) for Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Nemorino (The Elixir of Love) for ENO, Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) for Opéra National de Bordeaux, Grimoaldo (Rodelinda) for Opéra de Baugé, the title role in Albert Herring for British Youth Opera, Tom Rakewell (The Rake’s Progress) at the RCM, and Tonik (Smetana’s The Two Widows) for Scottish Opera. He is the Founder and Chief Conductor of the Southrepps Sinfonia as well as joint Artistic Director of the Southrepps Classical Music Festival. He is professor of singing at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
Anna Devin has performed regularly with the Classical Opera since first appearing with them on tour in Baden Baden in 2012, and she sings the role of Tamiri on the 2015 recording of Mozart’s Il re pastore. She is an alumna of the Royal Opera House’s Jette Parker Young Artist programme, Royal Irish Academy of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme and the National Opera Studio. Recent seasons saw her sing Susanna in Scottish Opera’s and Welsh National Opera’s productions of Le nozze di Figaro, débuts with La Scala and the Vienna Philharmonic, role and festival début as Galatea in Handel’s Acis and Galatea at Mozartwoche Salzburg, role début as Nannetta (Falstaff) at the Royal Opera house, Covent Garden, Michal in Glyndebourne Touring Opera’s production of Saul. This season she will make her début at Madrid’s Teatro Reale as Cecila in Lucio Silla, debut as Cleopatra in Handel’s Giulio Cesare with Early Opera Company, debut Semele at Karlsruhe Handel Festival, Debut Fiordiligi with Northern Ireland Opera.
Rebecca Bottone became an inaugural Associate Artist of Classical Opera in 2006. Her appearances with the company have included Sabina (Adriano in Siria), Sifare (Mitridate, re di Ponto), Servilia (Gluck’s La clemenza di Tito), Melia (Apollo et Hyacinthus), Despina (Così fan tutte), Elisa (Il re pastore) and Semira (Artaxerxes), as well as numerous concerts at Wigmore Hall and Kings Place. She can also be heard on our recordings of Artaxerxes and ‘The A-Z of Mozart Opera’.
Other roles include Blonde (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) for the Aix-en-Provence Festival and Scottish Opera, First Innocent (world premiére of Birtwistle’s The Minotaur), Maid (Ades’ Powder Her Face) and First Niece (Peter Grimes) at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Cricket and Parrott (world premiére of Dove’s Pinocchio) for Opera North and Tytania (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) for Garsington Opera.
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.
Martene Grimson became an inaugural Associate Artist of Classical Opera in 2006. She is a former winner of the Maggie Teyte Competition, and won second prize at the 2006 Kathleen Ferrier Awards. Her previous engagements with Classical Opera include Hyacinthus (Apollo et Hyacinthus), Arbate (Mitridate, re di Ponto), Cinna (Lucio Silla), Aminta (Il re pastore), Sesto in the UK premiére of Gluck’s La clemenza di Tito and concerts at Wigmore Hall and the Barbican. She also appeared on the company’s début CD, ‘The A-Z of Mozart Opera’.
Other operatic appearances have included Glauce (Cherubini’s Medea) for Nationale Reisopera, Holland, Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro) for Opera East and Longborough Festival Opera, Ilia (Idomeneo) for Pinchgut Opera, Sydney, First Witch (Dido and Aeneas) for Opera North, and Laurette (Bizet’s Le Docteur Miracle) and Mrs Gleaton (Floyd’s Susannah) for Wexford Festival Opera.
Eleanor Dennis studied at the Royal College of Music and was a Harewood Artist with English National Opera. Her roles with Classical Opera have included Lucio Cinna (Lucio Silla) and Orasia (Telemann’s Orpheus). Further operatic roles include First Shining One/Madam Wanton/Voice of a Bird/Celestial Voice 3 (Vaughan Williams’ The Pilgrim’s Progress) for ENO, the title role in Rodelinda and Costanza (Riccardo Primo) for the London Handel Festival, Romilda (Xerxes) for English Touring Opera, Countess Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro) for British Youth Opera and the title role in Francisco Antônio de Almeida’s Ippolito for the Festival de Sablé.
Steven Devine has performed all over the world as a harpsichord soloist (his recent Chandos recording of the Goldberg Variations was described by Gramophone Magazine as “one of the best”). He is a highly sought-after continuo player with permanent positions with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Classical Opera and London Baroque and directs repertoire with a wide range of groups with repertoire from 16th century polyphony to new commissions.
Ian Page is the founder, conductor and artistic director of Classical Opera and The Mozartists. 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 Mozartists play 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.