Performance Sunday, March 13, 2016 | 2 PM

The English Concert

Handel's Orlando (opera in concert)

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Handel’s Orlando employs a freer style with less adherence to the formal conventions of his earlier works, featuring expressive, richly orchestrated recitatives, powerful ariosos, and dramatic ensembles. Orlando also has a groundbreaking second-act scene where the title character descends into madness accompanied by music that shatters the operatic norms of the day. Dramatic, fantastic, and melodic, it’s nothing short of thrilling.


  • The English Concert
    Harry Bicket, Artistic Director and Conductor
  • Iestyn Davies, Orlando
  • Erin Morley, Angelica
  • Sasha Cooke, Medoro
  • Carolyn Sampson, Dorinda
  • Kyle Ketelsen, Zoroastro


  • HANDEL Orlando

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately three and one-half hours, including two 20-minute intermissions.


  • The English Concert

    With an unsurpassed reputation for inspiring performances of Baroque and Classical music, The English Concert ranks among the finest chamber orchestras in the world. Such standing is the result of tireless work on the road and in the studio since 1973, guided by founder Trevor Pinnock, his successor Andrew Manze, and current Artistic Director Harry Bicket. The English Concert's award-winning discography of more than 100 recordings features masterworks from Bach to Purcell and Handel to Mozart, as well as some of the most renowned artists in recent history. Lucy Crowe's debut solo recital Il caro sassone, Alison Balsom's Sound the Trumpet, and Elizabeth Watts's recent exploration of virtuosic operatic arias by Alessandro Scarlatti are but the latest of the ensemble's endeavors.

    The orchestra also works with distinguished guest directors who have included harpsichordists Laurence Cummings and Christian Curnyn, and violinist Rachel Podger. Virtuoso pianist Kristian Bezuidenhout kicks off the New Year with the early classical masters of C. P. E Bach and Mozart, while Christian Curnyn turns his attention toward the French style with Rameau and Marais in the spring.

    Groundbreaking collaborations are at the forefront of The English Concert's thinking and part of its longstanding relationships with exceptional artists and venues. These include Dominic Dromgoole's Gabriel at Shakespeare's Globe with trumpeter Alison Balsom, retracing the footsteps of music historian Dr. Charles Burney at the wonderfully intimate Sam Wanamaker Playhouse with tenor Mark Padmore, and a reinvigorated production of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas with the Bristol Old Vic and Buxton Opera House. Across the Atlantic, Carnegie Hall has commissioned a series of annual dramatic Handel productions after the success of Radamisto in 2013.

    Harry Bicket

    Internationally renowned as an opera and concert conductor of distinction, Harry Bicket is especially noted for his interpretation of Baroque and Classical repertoire, and became artistic director of The English Concert in 2007. He became chief conductor of Santa Fe Opera in 2013, and opened the 2014-2015 season with a critically acclaimed Fidelio. Born in Liverpool, he studied at the Royal College of Music and Oxford University, and is an accomplished harpsichordist.

    Mr. Bicket's engagements in the 2015-2016 season include returns to the Oslo Philharmonic and the Royal Northern Sinfonia, as well as his debut with the Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France. Operatic engagements include both Le nozze di Figaro and Rusalka at Houston Grand Opera, and Maometto at the Canadian Opera Company. Mr. Bicket and The English Concert continue their Handel cycle with Orlando, which tours to Europe and America. Appearances at London's Wigmore Hall include programs that feature both Iestyn Davies and Andreas Scholl. Future plans include extensive concert and touring projects with The English Concert, and performances with The Cleveland Orchestra, the Metropolitan Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago.

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  • Iestyn Davies

    After graduating with a degree in archaeology and anthropology from St. John's College, Cambridge, Iestyn Davies studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He has sung the roles of Creonte in Steffani's Niobe for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Ottone in L'incoronazione di Poppea at Zurich Opera and the Glyndebourne Festival; Arsace in Partenope for New York City Opera; Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream for Houston Grand Opera and English National Opera; and Apollo in Death in Venice for English National Opera and in his debut at La Scala. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in Rodelinda, and has also appeared with the company as Trinculo in The Tempest and as Oberon. Additional highlights have included Rinaldo at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Bertarido in Rodelinda at English National Opera, his debuts at the Munich and Vienna festivals and Paris's Opéra Comique in George Benjamin's Written on Skin, and the title role in Rinaldo at the Glyndebourne Festival.

    In concert, Mr. Davies has performed at Teatro alla Scala in Milan with Gustavo Dudamel, and at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw and Zurich's Tonhalle with Ton Koopman. He has also appeared at London's Barbican, Paris's Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, New York's Lincoln Center, and as part of the BBC Proms. He recently made his recital debut at Carnegie Hall. He enjoys a successful relationship with Wigmore Hall, where, in the 2012-2013 season, he curated his own residency. His new CD, The Art of Melancholy--a recital of songs by John Dowland--was released in April 2014 by Hyperion Records.

    Current and upcoming engagements include a project based around Farinelli at The Globe with Mark Rylance; concerts with the New York Philharmonic and The Cleveland Orchestra; returns to London's Wigmore Hall, the Metropolitan Opera, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; and performances as David in Saul at the Glyndebourne Festival.

    Mr. Davies is the recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society's 2010 Young Artist of the Year prize, the 2012 Gramophone Recital Award, the 2013 Critics' Circle Awards for Exceptional Young Talent (Singer), and the 2014 Gramophone Recital Award for his disc Arise, my muse on the Wigmore Live label.

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  • Erin Morley

    Erin Morley is one of today's most sought-after coloratura sopranos. She has stepped into the international spotlight in recent years with a string of critically acclaimed appearances in the great opera houses of the world.

    The 2015-1616 season takes Ms. Morley to Munich (Fiakermilli in Arabella) and Paris (Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier), and includes debuts at Minnesota Opera (Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos), Opéra national de Lorraine (the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor), and with Harry Bicket and The English Concert in a European and North American tour of Handel's Orlando. In concert, Ms. Morley appears with the Utah Symphony in Carmina Burana, and with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for holiday and spring concerts.

    A graduate of the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, Ms. Morley has sung more than 70 performances at the Metropolitan Opera. In the 2013-2014 season, she stepped in at the last minute to sing Sophie in an entire run of Der Rosenkavalier, performances that were critically acclaimed. She returns to the Met as Sophie in a new production alongside Elīna Garanča and Renée Fleming, with James Levine at the podium. Met audiences also heard Ms. Morley in her role debuts as Olympia in Les contes d'Hoffmann and Sister Constance in Dialogues des Carmélites, among others.

    Equally at home in chamber music, Ms. Morley has appeared with Louis Langrée and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, in Satie's Socrate with James Levine and The MET Chamber Ensemble, and in recital with pianists Vlad Iftinca and Ken Noda.

    In recordings, Ms. Morley can be heard as Sandrina (La finta giardiniera) with Emmanuelle Haïm in the Opéra de Lille production for Erato; Woglinde in Götterdämmerung with Fabio Luisi in the Metropolitan Opera's Ring cycle for Deutsche Grammophon; Marguerite de Valois in Les Huguenots, live from Bard SummerScape, for the ASO label; Carl Nielsen's Symphony No. 3, "Sinfonia Espansiva," with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic for Dacapo Records; and Sylvie in Gounod's La Colombe with Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra for the Opera Rara label.

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  • Sasha Cooke

    Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke is sought after by the world's leading orchestras, opera companies, and chamber music ensembles for her versatile repertoire and commitment to new music. Concert engagements in the 2015-2016 season include performances of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with the San Francisco and New World symphonies and the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Mahler's Symphony No. 2 with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Handel's Messiah with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Nashville and Seattle symphonies. She gives the world premiere of Marc Neikrug's Canta-Concerto with the New York Philharmonic, and makes her role debut as Magdalena in Sir David McVicar's production of Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at San Francisco Opera. In the spring, Hyperion releases Liszt: The Complete Songs, Vol. 4 with Ms. Cooke alongside pianist Julius Drake.

    Highlights of recent seasons include a European tour of Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony; performances with orchestras that include the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Houston Symphony, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, I Musici de Montréal, and The Philadelphia Orchestra; the world premieres of Laura Kaminsky's As One at BAM, Joby Talbot's Everest at Dallas Opera, and a new cycle by Kevin Puts commissioned by Carnegie Hall; and the title role in Mark Adamo's The Gospel of Mary Magdalene at San Francisco Opera. On the operatic stage, Ms. Cooke has also appeared with Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, English National Opera, Israeli Opera, Opéra National de Bordeaux, and the Metropolitan Opera, where she completed the young artist program.

    Ms. Cooke has enjoyed close collaborations with many of the world's leading conductors, including Jiří Bělohlávek, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Mark Elder, Alan Gilbert, Bernard Haitink, Louis Langrée, James Levine, Ludovic Morlot, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, Donald Runnicles, Leonard Slatkin, Robert Spano, Michael Tilson Thomas, Edo de Waart, and Jaap van Zweden, among others.

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  • Carolyn Sampson

    Carolyn Sampson has enjoyed notable successes worldwide in repertoire that ranges from early-Baroque to the present day. On the opera stage, she has appeared with the English National Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Scottish Opera, Opéra de Paris, Opéra de Lille, Opéra de Montpellier, and Opéra National du Rhin.

    Ms. Sampson performs regularly at the BBC Proms and with orchestras that include the Bach Collegium Japan, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Freiburger Barockorchester, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and Vienna Symphony, as well as with numerous orchestras in the US.

    In recital, Ms. Sampson appears regularly at Wigmore Hall, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, and the Saintes and Aldeburgh festivals. She made her Carnegie Hall recital debut in October 2013.

    Ms. Sampson has an extensive discography on the Harmonia Mundi, BIS, Hyperion, Virgin Classics, DG Archiv, Linn Records, and Vivat labels. Her most recent recording with Ex Cathedra on the Hyperion label, A French Baroque Diva--celebrating Marie Fel, a star soprano of Rameau's time--won the 2015 Gramophone Recital Award.

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  • Kyle Ketelsen

    American bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen is in demand by the world's leading opera companies and orchestras for his vibrant, handsome stage presence and distinctive vocalism. In the 2015-2016 season, he returns to the Bavarian State Opera in Munich as Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, and to Opernhaus Zürich for his role debut as Golaud in a new production of Pelléas et Mélisande directed by Dmitri Tcherniakov and conducted by Alain Altinoglu. He joins Harry Bicket and The English Concert as Zoroastro in Handel's Orlando on tour to Vienna's Theater an der Wien, Birmingham's Town Hall, Valencia's Palau de la Música, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, and London's Barbican Centre. Mr. Ketelsen also appears with the St. Louis Symphony and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Handel's Messiah under the baton of Bernard Labadie.

    Mr. Ketelsen's 2014-2015 season featured performances as Leporello in a new production of Don Giovanni at Lyric Opera of Chicago, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis and directed by Robert Falls. He reprised the role with the Canadian Opera Company, and also performed as Cadmus in the company's production of Semele at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Mr. Ketelsen's acclaimed Escamillo in Carmen was seen at Minnesota Opera under the baton of Michael Christie and at the Chorégies d'Orange festival in France. Mr. Ketelsen's symphonic engagements have included Mozart's Requiem with Pinchas Zukerman and Handel's Messiah with the Colorado Symphony, Mozart's Mass in C Minor with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra conducted by Masaaki Suzuki, and Falla's El retablo de maese Pedro with The Knights at the Tanglewood Festival.

    Mr. Ketelsen has won first prize in several international vocal competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Richard Tucker Music Foundation (Career Grant), George London Foundation for Singers, Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, Sullivan Foundation, Opera Index, MacAllister Awards, Fort Worth Opera, National Opera Association, and Liederkranz Foundation. He is an alumnus of the University of Iowa and Indiana University.

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Pre-concert talk starts at 1:00 PM in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage with Benjamin Sosland, Assistant Dean for the Kovner Fellowships, Administrative Director of Juilliard Historical Performance.

At a Glance

Harry Bicket and The English Concert continue their acclaimed series of Handel operas at Carnegie Hall with the “magic opera” Orlando of 1733—one of the composer’s trio of late operatic masterpieces. Based on Ariosto’s famous epic poem Orlando furioso, it was created to feature London’s most popular star singer of the day, the castrato contralto Senesino. But Handel did not slight any member of his five-character cast, for this is one of his most inspired musical scores. The plot revolves around the education of the warrior Orlando, whose straying from the path of duty to romantic adventures progressively leads him into madness. The musical highlight of the score is Orlando’s astonishing “Ah! Stigie larve!,” one of the earliest and surely one of the finest of operatic mad scenes.
Program Notes