The English Concert
Harry Bicket, Artistic Director and Conductor
Joyce DiDonato, Mezzo-Soprano (Ariodante)
Christiane Karg, Soprano (Ginevra)
Mary Bevan, Soprano (Dalinda)
Sonia Prina, Contralto (Polinesso)
David Portillo, Tenor (Lurcanio)
Matthew Brook, Bass-Baritone (King of Scotland)
Tyson Miller, Tenor (Odoardo)
HANDEL Ariodante (concert performance)
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 at home, on the road, and in the studio since 1973, guided along the way by founder Trevor Pinnock, his successor Andrew Manze, and current Artistic Director Harry Bicket. The orchestra'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. Groundbreaking collaborations in musical theater and opera have helped to form longstanding relationships with exceptional artists and venues. From the Buxton Festival or the Elizabethan settings of Shakespeare's Globe and the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse to challenging perceptions of gender through the music of Handel, The English Concert steps outside the traditional concert hall to reach new audiences. This season sees Handel's Messiah brought to life on stage at the Bristol Old Vic through director Tom Morris's dramatic vision, while next summer the musical treasures of Jewish communities will be put on show at Wigmore Hall. The new season is also profoundly influenced by literature, as the orchestra celebrates the 400th anniversary of the deaths of both William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes. The adventures of Don Quixote are recounted through the music of Purcell and Telemann, while musical representations of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Giulio Cesare set sail on a tour to the Far East. Completing the round-the-world trip, The English Concert's series of Handel operas in concert, commissioned by Carnegie Hall, continues to flourish after the success of Radamisto in 2013, Theodora and Alcina in 2014, and Hercules and Orlando in 2015 and 2016.
Harry Bicket made his Glyndebourne Festival debut in 1996 with Peter Sellars's landmark production of Theodora, and has since become internationally renowned as an opera and concert conductor of distinction. Noted particularly for his interpretation of Baroque and Classical repertoire, he was appointed artistic director of The English Concert in 2007. In 2013, Mr. Bicket also became chief conductor of Santa Fe Opera, opening the following season with a critically acclaimed Fidelio.
From New York to Los Angeles, and Hong Kong to Stockholm, Mr. Bicket has performed with great orchestras and at opera houses the world over. Following his celebrated production of Rodelinda with Renée Fleming and David Daniels in 2004, he has been a regular guest at the Metropolitan Opera. The current season is no different, with visits to Lyric Opera of Chicago and The Cleveland Orchestra, as well as extensive touring with The English Concert to the US, Europe, and the Far East.
Mr. Bicket's production of Handel's Orlando for the Royal Opera House received an Olivier Award nomination for Best New Opera Production, and he has received both Grammy and Gramophone award nominations for his recordings with David Daniels, Susan Graham, and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson.
In demand on the concert and recital circuit, Joyce DiDonato has recently held residencies at Carnegie Hall and London's Barbican Centre; toured extensively in South America, Europe, and Asia; and appeared as a guest soloist at the BBC's Last Night of the Proms. Recent opera highlights have included her first Charlotte in Werther at the Royal Opera House under Sir Antonio Pappano; the title role in Maria Stuarda at the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, and Barcelona's Liceu; the title role in Alcina on tour with The English Concert and Harry Bicket; and Marguerite in La damnation de Faust with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Sir Simon Rattle.
Ms. DiDonato opened her 2016-2017 season in a gala concert with the Seattle Symphony under Ludovic Morlot; she also performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Riccardo Muti and in recital with Philippe Jordan. Later in the season, she appears with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Yannick Nézet-Séguin. On the opera stage, she makes her debut in the title role of Semiramide in a new production at the Bayerische Staatsoper under Michele Mariotti; returns to Strasbourg as Dido (Les Troyens) under John Nelson; and reprises the role of Sesto (La clemenza di Tito) under Mr. Nézet-Séguin in Baden-Baden.
An exclusive recording artist with Erato / Warner Classics, Ms. DiDonato's Joyce and Tony: Live from Wigmore Hall (with Sir Antonio Pappano) won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Album. Her Grammy Award-winning Diva, Divo comprises arias for male and female characters, celebrating the rich dramatic world of the mezzo-soprano. A retrospective of her first 10 years of recordings entitled ReJoyce! The Best of Joyce DiDonato was released in 2013. Other honors include the Gramophone Artist of the Year and Recital of the Year awards, three German ECHO Klassik awards as Female Singer of the Year, and induction into the Gramophone Hall of Fame.
Ms. DiDonato's most recent recording, In War & Peace: Harmony Through Music, was released last November, accompanied by a 20-city international tour.
Christiane Karg studied at the Mozarteum Salzburg and the Conservatory of Music in Verona. She was a member of the International Opera Studio at the Hamburg State Opera before joining, in 2008, the ensemble of Oper Frankfurt, where her roles have included Susanna, Musetta, Pamina, Servilia, Zdenka (Arabella), the title role in La Calisto, Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier), and Mélisande.
In 2006, Ms. Karg made her debut at the Salzburg Festival, and has since returned to sing Amor (Orfeo ed Euridice) with Riccardo Muti and Zerlina (Don Giovanni) with Yannick Nézet-Séguin. She is a regular guest at the Theater an der Wien, where she has sung Ismene (Mitridate), Télaïre (Castor et Pollux), and Héro (Béatrice et Bénédict). She has sung Ighino (Palestrina), Pamina, and Blanche (Dialogues des Carmélites) at Bayerische Staatsoper; Sophie at the Semperoper Dresden; Musetta and Norina at Komische Oper Berlin; and Anne Trulove (The Rake's Progress) at Opéra de Lille. In 2015, she made her debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, singing Pamina, and her US opera debut singing Susanna at Lyric Opera of Chicago; in 2016, she made her debut at La Scala in Milan singing Sophie, and returned to Chicago for Pamina.
In concert, Ms. Karg has worked with such conductors as Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Herbert Blomstedt, Daniel Harding, Mariss Jansons, and Christian Thielemann. A world-renowned recitalist, she has appeared at the Musikverein in Vienna, Oji Hall in Tokyo, Schwarzenberg Schubertiade, and Wigmore Hall, as well as the Edinburgh Festival. Other appearances include the Mozarteum Salzburg, Vienna Konzerthaus, Essen, Cologne, Schwetzingen, Hamburg, Innsbruck, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and Stuttgart.
Ms. Karg's recordings have twice been awarded the prestigious ECHO Klassik award.
Sonia Prina is recognized worldwide as one of the leading contraltos of her generation. Career highlights include the title role of Handel's Rinaldo at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the Zurich Opera House, and the Glyndebourne Festival; the title role in Mozart's Ascanio in Alba at the Salzburg Festival; Clarice in Rossini's La pietra del paragone at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris; the title role of Handel's Orlando at the Sydney Opera House; and the title role of Tamerlano at the Bayerische Staatsoper.
Upcoming engagements include Mistress Quickly in Falstaff in Parma and Turin with Roberto Abbado, Federica in Luisa Miller at the Liceu, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 at Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms.
Ms. Prina regularly performs at venues that include La Scala, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Opéra de Paris, Teatro Real in Madrid, Teatre Liceu in Barcelona, Sydney Opera House, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, and Opernhaus Zürich, as well as the Salzburg and Aix-en-Province festivals.
Ms. Prina has performed the title roles of Handel operas that have included Giulio Cesare and Orlando in Paris; Amadigi di Gaula in Naples; Rinaldo in Zurich, and at La Scala and the Glyndebourne Festival; Silla in Rome; and Tamerlano in Munich; as well as Bertarido in Rodelinda in London and Vienna; Goffredo in Rinaldo at Lyric Opera of Chicago; and Amastre in Serse in San Francisco and Houston.
Ms. Prina's recordings include Handel's Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno and La resurrezione (Virgin); Vivaldi's La senna festeggiante, Ottone in villa, and L'Olimpiade (Naïve); Monteverdi's Orfeo (Erato); Handel's Lotario (DHM) and Rodelinda (Deutsche Grammophon); and the title roles in both Gluck's and Handel's Ezio (Erato).
DVD releases include the title role of Ascanio in Alba (Deutsche Grammophon), La pietra di paragone (Naïve), the title role of Handel's Rinaldo (DVD Opus Arte), and a solo album featuring Vivaldi's Arie ritrovate with Accademia Bizantina (Naïve). Three new albums are scheduled for release by the Glossa label: Handel's Catone (title role), Handel's Silla (title role), and a solo album featuring world premiere recordings of works by Gluck.
Praised for his impeccable clarity and beautiful tone, American tenor David Portillo has emerged as a major lyric talent in opera and concert on both sides of the Atlantic. Following his debut at the Vienna State Opera as Count Almaviva (Il barbiere di Siviglia), he made debuts at the Aix-en-Provence Festival as Lurcanio (Ariodante) in a new staging by Richard Jones, and at the Salzburg Festival in concert performances of La favorite alongside Elīna Garanča and Juan Diego Flórez.
In the US, he recently made his debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago as David (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg) and has established strong relationships with many of America's important companies, returning to Chicago as Andres (Wozzeck) under Sir Andrew Davis and to Houston Grand Opera as Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), and debuting at Washington National Opera as Ramiro (La Cenerentola). Mr. Portillo made his Metropolitan Opera debut last season as Count Almaviva, and returns this season as Jaquino (Fidelio) under Sebastian Weigle.
Last season, Mr. Portillo made his debut at the Glyndebourne Festival as David in David McVicar's production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, before reuniting with McVicar for his new production of Così fan tutte at Opera Australia. Following his return to Aix-en-Provence as Pedrillo in Martin Kušej's new production of Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Mr. Portillo has since reprised the role at the Théâtre de Champs-Élysées with Le Cercle de l'Harmonie and Jérémie Rhorer, and will perform it again this season for his debut at Dutch National Opera. Also this season, he makes his debut at Oper Frankfurt as Tamino. Other international engagements have included Gonzalve (L'heure espagnole) at the Saito Kinen Festival under Stéphane Denève, and Ferdinand in Thomas Adès's The Tempest with the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome conducted by the composer.
Matthew Brook has appeared as a soloist throughout Europe, Australia, North and South America, and the Far East. He has worked extensively with conductors who include Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Richard Hickox, Sir Charles Mackerras, Harry Christophers, Christophe Rousset, Paul McCreesh, and Sir Mark Elder, and with orchestras and ensembles that have included the London and Melbourne symphony orchestras; the Philharmonia, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, and Freiburg Baroque orchestras; Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; English Baroque Soloists; Gabrieli Consort & Players; The Sixteen; Royal Northern Sinfonia; Orchestre National de Lille; Orchestre de Chambre de Paris; Orchestre des Champs-Élysées; Hallé Orchestra; Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich; Collegium Vocale Gent; and City of London Sinfonia.
Mr. Brook's recordings include Counsel in Sullivan's Trial by Jury and Friar Tuck in Sullivan's Ivanhoe with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales for Chandos Records; a Gramophone Award-winning recording of Handel's Dublin score of Messiah and Acis and Galatea, as well as Bach's St. Matthew Passion and B-Minor Mass, and most recently Handel's Esther, all with the Dunedin Consort for Linn Records; and the King of Scotland in Handel's Ariodante with Il Complesso Barocco and Alan Curtis for EMI/Virgin.
Recent and future highlights include Argenio in Handel's Imeneo at the Göttingen International Handel Festival, Fauré's Requiem with the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, Monteverdi's Vespers with the Dunedin Consort, Mozart's Requiem with the Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw, Tippett's A Child of Our Time with the Hallé Orchestra, Zoroastro in Orlando with The English Concert, Handel's Messiah with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra and with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the King of Scotland in Ariodante with the Staatstheater Stuttgart and on tour with The English Concert, Bach's Lutheran Masses with the Academy of Ancient Music, and performances of Bach's B-Minor Mass and Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
Tyson Miller's recent engagements have included Pedrillo in Chas Rader-Shieber's production of Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Raoul de St. Brioche in Lehár's The Merry Widow at Utah Opera, his debut at El Paso Opera as Remendado in Bizet's Carmen, Acis in Handel's Acis and Galatea with Opera Piccola of San Antonio, and Joe in Puccini's La fanciulla del West in a return to Santa Fe Opera. From 2013 to 2015, while a resident artist with the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera, Mr. Miller's roles included Gastone in La traviata, the Prince of Persia in Turandot, Pedrillo in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, the Registrar in Madame Butterfly, and Sellem in The Rake's Progress. During this time, Mr. Miller performed roles in touring productions that included Nemorino in L'elisir d'amore and Ferrando in Così fan tutte. In addition, at Utah Opera he covered such roles as Nadir in Bizet's Les pêcheurs de perles, Ferrando in Così fan tutte, and Tom Rakewell in The Rake's Progress.
In 2013, Mr. Miller made his Utah Symphony debut as the tenor soloist in Handel's Messiah, followed by a return engagement for the same piece during the 2014-2015 season. Additional debut performances in 2013 included Dorvil in Rossini's La scala di seta and Florville in Rossini's Il signor Bruschino at the Lone Star Lyric Theater Festival, followed by a return engagement performing the Duke in Milton Granger's Talk Opera in the 2014 summer season.
Mr. Miller has enjoyed a long relationship with the Aspen Music Festival and School, performing as both a young artist and student singer. During the 2013-2014 season, he performed the role of Lord Geoffrey in Lowell Lieberman's The Picture of Dorian Gray. In the 2012-2013 season, he performed the role of the Governor in Candide, and sang the role of Bob Boles in a semi-staged version of Britten's Peter Grimes alongside Anthony Dean Griffey and conducted by Robert Spano. Other highlights with the Aspen Music Festival have included Pirelli in Sweeney Todd in 2012 and Action in West Side Story in 2011.