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.
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.
Benjamin Hulett trained as a choral scholar at New College, Oxford and studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Ben made his Classical Opera début at Wigmore Hall in 2013, and appears in the role of Agenore on our recording of Il re pastore, the fourth release in our complete recording cycle of Mozart's operas. Ben's opera roles have included Flute (A Midsummer Night's Dream), Jaquino (Fidelio), the Four Servants (Les Contes d'Hoffmann), Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Ferrando (Così fan tutte) and Narraboth (Salome) for Hamburg State Opera, Tamino (The Magic Flute) for Welsh National Opera, Edmondo (Manon Lescaut) for the Royal Opera House, Peter Quint (The Turn of the Screw) for Opera North, Madwoman (Curlew River) for Rome Opera, and Ferrando (Così fan tutte) for Grange Park Opera.
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.