1767 – a retrospective
17 January 2017, 7.30pm - Wigmore Hall, London
The third year of Classical Opera’s MOZART 250 launches with this fascinating musical overview of 1767, featuring a thrilling line-up of young soloists and Classical Opera’s dynamic period-instrument orchestra.
Symphony No.6 in F major
“Bella in un vago viso” from Amore e Psiche
“No, crudel, non posso” from Alceste
J .C. Bach
“Sopra quell capo indegno” from Carattaco
“Frena le belle lagrime” from Sifari
“Vidit suum” and “Flammis orci” from Stabat mater
Symphony in C major
“Natus cadit” from Apollo et Hyacinthus
Gemma Summerfield is studying at the Royal College of Music’s International Opera School, having graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with a First Class Honours degree and gained a Masters in Performance at the RCM. She won First Prize and the Loveday Song Prize at the 2015 Kathleen Ferrier Awards. Her previous awards have included The Cuthbert Smith Prize in the Lies Askonas Competition 2014, The Governors’ Recital Prize for Voice 2013, The Norma Grieg Prize for French Song 2013 and the Jean Highgate Scholarship for Singing 2011. Her opera roles have included Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte) at the RCM and Annina (La traviata) for the Rye Arts Festival.
Stuart Jackson was a choral scholar at Christ Church, Oxford, where he studied Biological Sciences before completing his musical training at the Royal Academy of Music in 2013. He was a Jerwood Young Artist at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and last season joined the Stuttgart Opera Studio. He is a Classical Opera Associate Artist, and with the company he has performed the roles of Osroa in J. C. Bach’s Adriano in Siria, Lucio Vero in Jommelli’s Il Vologeso, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, and Soliman on a recording of Mozart’s Zaide. He has also appeared in concert with Classical Opera at St John’s Smith Square and Middle Temple Hall. Other operatic roles include Bénédict (Béatrice et Bénédict), First Armed Man (Die Zauberflöte) and Count Errico (La vera costanza) with Royal Academy Opera, Officer (Ariadne auf Naxos) with Glyndebourne Festival Opera, the title role in Orphée et Eurydice, Gastone (La traviata), Abdallo (Nabucco) and Second Priest (Die Zauberflöte) with Stuttgart Opera Studio.
Ashley Riches was a member of the King’s College Chapel Choir at Cambridge University, where he read English, before studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He was a Jette Parker Young Artist, and represented the Royal Opera at the Leading Young Artists of the World Gala, at the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow. He will make his Classical Opera début in January 2017 at Wigmore Hall. His operatic roles include Morales (Carmen), Mandarin (Turandot), Baron Douphol (La Traviata), and Officier (Les Dialogues des Carmelites) at Covent Garden, Osmano (L’Ormindo) at the Globe, the title role in Owen Wingrave for Opéra National de Lorraine, Guglielmo (Così fan tutte) for Garsington Opera, Claudio (Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict) with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Pollux (Rameau’s Castor et Pollux) with the Early Opera Company and Schaunard (La bohème) at English National Opera. His recordings include Poulenc’s Chansons Gaillardes with Graham Johnson for Hyperion, the role of Pilate in Bach’s St John Passion for the Academy of Ancient Music, Mercury in Daniel Purcell’s The Judgement of Paris and Handel’s L’Allegro for the Gabrieli Consort, and he recently recorded a solo disc of Shakespeare sonnets set to music by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, for Resonus Classics.
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.
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.