Conductor

Born in 1925 of Australian parents in the United States. Awarded a CBE in 1974, knighted for his services to music in 1979, received

Sir Charles Mackerras 1925 - 2010
Mozart - The Supreme Decorator

The Medal of Merit from the Czech Republic in 1996, made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1997 and in 2003 a Companion of Honour in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

In his 80th year, in 2005, he was given an Honorary Doctorate from the Royal Academy of Music (he is only the third person to receive the honour), the Royal Philharmonic Society's highest honour, the Gold Medal, and the Queen's Medal for Music - a new annual award for an individual who is judged to have had a major influence on the musical life of the nation.

The Financial Times: ‘Mackerras has theatre in his blood: you hear it every time he walks into the pit… But when it comes to making music,

Mozart - The Supreme Decorator
Scottish Opera   Almeida Opera   Accademia Rossiniana   Opera North   Wexford Festival    Rossini in Wildbad   English National Opera   Buxton Festival   Welsh National Opera   Chandos Opera in English   Royal Opera Covent Garden   Musica Nel Chiostro   Royal Northern College of Music   Glyndebourne on Tour    Opera Factory   Garsington Opera   The Guildhall School of Music & Drama
Donizetti's Mary Stuart
+ highlight disc
Handel's
Julius Caesar
+ highlight disc
Humperdinck's Hansel & Gretel
Janáček's Jenůfa , Osud ,
The Makropulos Case
Massenet's Werther
Mozart's The Magic Flute
Smetana's The Bartered Bride
Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin
Verdi's La traviata
Verdi - A Celebration
Baroque Celebration
Garry Magee
Pacini's Carlo di Borgogna
Rossini Gala
Essential Opera Rara: Mercadante's Zaira
Bizet's Carmen
Gounod's Faust , Faust (abridged)
Mozart's Don Giovanni
Recitals: Della Jones , Alastair Miles

Baritone A Kathleen Ferrier Award winner

Born in UK

The Times: Debussy’s Pelléas and Mélisande
‘This is one of the great opera productions of our time... Garry Magee is new as Pelléas, unfailingly mellifluous of tone even in the highest register, intensely musical.’

Evening Herald: Mozart’s Don Giovanni
‘Garry Magee’s Don Giovanni simply oozed debauchery, and was every inch the ladies’ man, with a well-honed voice to boot.’

Tenor now also teaching, working as a Stage Director and producing classical music 'evenings'.

Born in Bologna

Rossini’s Ricciardo e Zoraide MusicWeb International:

‘In the high tessitura role of Ricciardo, written for one of the San Carlo wonder tenors Giovanni David, William Matteuzzi gives one of his best performances on record.’

Patric Schmid, Artistic Director,
Opera Rara
'Reviving the serious operas of Rossini has, until recently, been rather a problem... the roles Rossini wrote for the tenor voice are so difficult that they were simply impossible to cast. But in the 1980's there emerged a remarkable and diverse group of tenors with the technical capability to conquer these challenges... none more so than William Matteuzzi.'

Rossini's Otello
Ricciardo e Zoraide
Rossini's Three Tenors
Bruce Ford Serious Rossini
Artist's Collections: William Matteuzzi Ferme tes Yeux
Alastair Miles
Gounod's Faust , Faust (Abridged)
Puccini's La bohème
Verdi's Aida , Nabucco ,
Verdi - A Celebration
Recitals: Alastair Miles
Mascagni's Cavalliera Rusticana ,
Cav & Pag
Recitals: Dennis O'Neill 2

Bass

Born in London

Opera: Donizetti‘s Dom Sébastien, roi de Portugal
‘Alastair Miles is chillingly resonant as the grand inquisitor Dom Juam.’

The Stage: Vaughan Williams’ Sir John in Love
‘As Brook, Alastair Miles’ uptight Ford explodes like Peter Cook on speed.’

The Guardian: Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius
‘Alastair Miles is a wonderfully implacable Priest and Angel of the Agony.’  

Donizetti's Maria de Rudenz ,
Roberto Devereux ,
Rosmonda D'Inghilterra
Renée Fleming sings Rosmonda D'Inghilterra
Mercadante's Emma d'Antiochia ,
Orazi e Curiazi
Pacini's Maria Regina d'Inghilterra
Rossini's Ricciardo e Zoraide
Rossini Gala , Rossini Three Tenors
Bruce Ford Serious Rossini
Donizetti's Dom Sébastien, roi de Portugal ,Rosmonda D'Inghilterra
Renée Fleming sings Rosmonda D'Inghilterra
Mayr's Medea in Corinto
Jane Eaglen sings Medea in Corinto
Mercadante's Orazi e Curiazi
Meyerbeer's Margherita d'Anjou
Pacini's Maria Regina d'Inghilterra
Rossini's Ricciardo e Zoraide
Rossini Gala
Essential Opera Rara Mercadante's Zaira
Nelly Miricioiu

Music & Vision: Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda
‘Miricioiu is really able to use Bellini's virtuoso vocal lines to create character... Though Miricioiu's performance was highly dramatic, it was also very affecting. This was particularly true in the closing pages when Beatrice forgives all and goes to the scaffold welcoming death. Perhaps Bellini's music is a bit too gleeful and a little too lively at this point, but when sung like this, who cares?'

Opera: Verdi’s Les Vêpres siciliennes
'It was anounced that Sondra Radvanovsky was unwell and would act Helene while the role was sung from the side by... and the announcer gabbled the name... But after a confident, fearless account of her first-act aria it didn’t take long to realize that the soprano was none other than Nelly Miricioiu... Her most beautifully shaped account of Ami, le coeur d'Helene stopped the show and, visibly moved, she was given a huge, well deserved ovation at the curtain calls. This extraordinary diva can sing anything , and sing it well."

Soprano

Born in Romania

Opera: Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia
’Nelly Miricioiu and Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia are a potent mix, as was demonstrated at the Opera de Marseille... one of the few sopranos today able to impart dramatic potency to the bel canto idiom.’

CultureKiosque: Bel Canto Portrait CD
‘Brava Nelly Miricioiu, Brava Opera Rara. Once again we have a recording full of interest by a performer who knows how to make 19th century Italian opera come to life.’

Geoffrey Mitchell Choir

Bellin’s Norma
The Times: ‘this was singing of supernatural delicacy and craft, and she has a presence of such understated dignity and grace it is impossible to take your eyes off her. Her duets with Montague’s Adalgisa, half an hour of pure emotion in sound straddling the interval, were just miraculous: these voices pirouetting as gracefully as ice dancers somewhere in the musical ether.’
The Sunday Telegraph: ‘The way Miricioiu floated a pianissimo or effortlessly delivered ribbons of seamless coloratura revealed reservoirs of technique and artistry; she breathes life into the deceptively simple artifice of Bellini’s music.’ The Financial Times: ‘Nelly Miricioiu... imperious, tender, dignified, fiery, she gives as near to a complete performance of Norma as any singer has come for a generation or more.’

Beethoven's Fidelio
Berg's
Wozzeck
Bizet's Carmen
Donizetti's Don Pasquale , The Elixir of Love ,
Lucia of Lammermoor
Gounod's Faust , Faust (abridged)
Janáček's Jenůfa
Leoncavallo's Pagliacci , Cav & Pag
Mascagni's Cavalliera Rusticana
Mozart's Don Giovanni , The Magic Flute ,
The Marriage of Figaro
Puccini's
La bohème , Madam Butterfly , Tosca ,
Jane Eaglen sings Tosca , Turandot
Rossini's The Thieving Magpie
R. Strauss Der Rosenkavalier
Verdi's Aida , A Masked Ball , Il trovatore ,
Verdi - A Celebration
Wagner's The Flying Dutchman
Recitals: Sir Thomas Allen , Barry Banks ,
Christine Brewer , Bruce Ford 1 , Bruce Ford 2 , Viennese Operetta , Elizabeth Futral ,
Della Jones , Yvonne Kenny 1 , Yvonne Kenny 2 , Alastair Miles , Diana Montague 2 ,
Dennis O'Neill 1 , Dennis O'Neill 2 , Alan Opie , Andrew Shore , John Tomlinson 1 ,
John Tomlinson 2
Donizetti's Elvida , Francesca di Foix ,
Emilia di Liverpool , Gabriella di Vergy ,
Il diluvio universale , L'Assedio di Calais ,
Maria de Rudenz , Maria Padilla ,
Pia de' Tolomei , Rosmonda D'Inghilterra Renée Fleming sings Rosmonda D'Inghilterra
Ugo Conte di Parigi , Zoraide di Granata
Mayr's Medea in Corinto ,
Jane Eaglen sings Medea in Corinto
Mercadante's
Emma d’Antiochia , Orazi e Curiazi Meyerbeer's Dinorah , Il Crociato in Egitto ,
L'esule di Granata , Margherita d'Anjou
Offenbach's Christopher Columbus ,
Robinson Crusoe
Pacini's Carlo di Borgogna ,
Maria Regina d'Inghilterra
Rossini's
Bianca e Falliero ,

Elisabetta regina d'Inghilterra
, Otello ,
Rossini Gala , Bruce Ford - Serious Rossini ,
Rossini - Three Tenors
Essential Opera Rara:
Mercadante's
Maria Stuarda regina di Scozia
and Zaira
Ricci's La Prigione di Edimburgo
Artist's Collections: Ferme tes Yeux
Yvonne Kenny - 19th Century Heroines

Geoffrey Mitchell spent fifteen years managing the BBC Singers and Symphony Chorus.

Under his direction the New London Singers won major overseas awards as well as the title of 'Outstanding UK choir" in the BBC's ‘Let the People Sing’ competition.

For the past 30 years the Geoffrey Mitchell Choir has made numerous recordings and broadcasts, to international acclaim, many of these for Chandos and Opera Rara.

Donizetti's Rosmonda D'Inghilterra ,
Renée Fleming sings Rosmonda D'Inghilterra
Zoraide di Granata
Meyerbeer's Il crociato in Egitto
Mozart The Supreme Decorator
Artist's Collections:
Yvonne Kenny - 19th Century Heroines
Rossini's Otello
Ricciardo e Zoraide
Rossini's Three Tenors
Bruce Ford Serious Rossini
Artist's Collections: William Matteuzzi Ferme tes Yeux
Gounod's Faust , Faust (abridged)
Humperdinck's Hansel & Gretel
Janácek's The Cunning Little Vixen
Mascagni's Cavalliera Rusticana ,
Cav & Pag
Mozart's Idomeneo , The Magic Flute ,
The Marriage of Figaro
R. Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier Highlights
Smetana's The Bartered Bride
Recitals: Diana Montague 1 ,
Diana Montague 2 , Elizabeth Futral , Dennis O'Neill 2
Diana Montague

Mezzo-soprano

Born in Winchester, UK

Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro
The Guardian: 'The most memorable performance in Figaro came from Marcellina - Diana Montague.’
The Financial Times: ‘Diana Montague's Marcellina is so scrumptious.’
The Times: ‘A delightful performance from Diana Montague as a glamorous Marcellina.’
The Daily Telegraph: ‘Diana Montague's stylishly sung Marcellina.’

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: Berlioz Les nuits d'été
‘All the different facets of this poetic world were lit up by the English singer Diana Montague. Montague's mezzo

The Independent: Beethoven's Choral Symphony ‘Dohnanyi's ability to clarify and shape long spans of music was also on display in the Choral Symphony. This powerful reading… benefited from a strong team of vocal soloists and the stirling contributions of the Geoffrey Mitchell Choir and the Philharmonia Chorus.’

Seen & Heard: Donizetti‘s Imelda de' Lambertazzi
'... the chorus, the superb Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, showed its colours, representing the vox populi.‘

MusicWeb International Holst’s The Planets
Uranus and Neptune are equally fine, with the off-stage Geoffrey Mitchell Choir...  contributing exactly the right icy purity to the end of this great masterpiece.’

Opera: Meyerbeer’s Margherita d’Anjou
'The Geoffrey Mitchell Choir – founded originally to tour with Pink Floyd, more recently participants in a Missa Solemnis and the Prom Gurrelieder – was in fine form.'

Dennis O'Neill

Tenor

Born in Wales. He was awarded a CBE in the 2000 New Year’s Honours list, the 2005 Verdi Medal by the Amici di Verdi, honorary membership of the Royal Academy of Music. He is a member of the board of Welsh National Opera, the Director of the Artists Development Programme at Wexford Festival Opera and, in association with Cardiff University, has formed the Cardiff International Academy of Voice.

Leoncavallo's Pagliacci
Mascagni's Cavalliera Rusticana
Cav & Pag
Puccini's La Bohème , Tosca ,
Jane Eaglen Sings Tosca , Turandot
Verdi's Aida , A Masked Ball ,
Il trovatore , Verdi - A Celebration
Recitals: Dennis O'Neill 1 , Dennis O'Neill 2
Barry Banks , Bruce Ford 2 , Alan Opie
Alan Opie
Donizetti's Lucia of Lammermoor ,
Mary Stuart ,
Janet Baker sings Mary Stuart
Leoncavallo's Paggliaci , Cav & Pag
Puccini's La bohème
Rossini's The Barber of Seville
Verdi's Ernani , Il trovatore ,
Nabucco , Rigoletto ,
Verdi - A Celebration
Recitals: Alan Opie , Barry Banks
Diana Montague 2 , Dennis O'Neill 2 Viennese Operetta

Baritone

Born in Cornwall, UK. He won Grammies for his recordings of:
 - Balstrode in Britten's Peter Grimes for Chandos
 - Beckmesser in Wagner's Die Meistersinger for Decca.
In 1998 he was nominated for an Olivier Award for 'Outstanding Achievement in Opera' for his performance of the title role in Verdi's Falstaff with ENO.

The Financial Times: Verdi’s Falstaff
'Falstaff, superbly acted and sung by Alan Opie, is not a 10 ton tubby, with unsightly tufts of hair and bad skin, but a profoundly human

Offenbach's Christopher Columbus ,
Robinson Crusoe

figure, the sort of comical, egotistical character that pops up somewhere in every modern family.'

Britten’s Death in Venice
Evening Standard: ‘… another definitive Britten intepreter, Alan Opie, here brilliantly transforming himself into Fop, Gondolier, Barber and those other walk-on characters who add to Aschenbach's tristesse.’
The Guardian: ‘Alan Opie has been singing the many baritone cameos in this opera for almost as long as Langridge has been singing Aschenbach. Opie again invested each one with a distinctive character and his practised rapport with Langridge was exemplary.’
The Financial Times: 'Alan Opie was the supremely versatile baritone.'
The Times: ‘Alan Opie’s Dionysus — just one of several characters that he smoothly fleshed out from their… appearances’

Verdi’s Rigoletto
The Independent: 'Marvellous… As was Alan Opie as the much-mocked hunchback with suspicion and hate in his heart for everyone but Gilda, his only daughter. When he sings – and how – “the whole of my universe is you”, we believe him, his phrases swelling with pride. Opie’s melodramatic relish of the role does not preclude a deeper conviction. His reproach of the Duke’s henchmen in Act II collapses movingly into pitiful pleading, while his desperation is palpable by the end. And this opera really does stand or fall on the chemistry, the vocal frisson and the compatibility of the father-daughter relationship. Opie and Howarth did it for me.'
The Observer: 'Alan Opie grows ever more impressive in the title role of Rigoletto, his glorious voice and accomplished acting combining to forge a truly distinguished performance.'

New York Times: ‘Sir Charles's stock is toweringly high... in the 1940's, he was largely responsible for introducing Western audiences to the music of Janáček. In the 1950's, he was arguably the first mainstream conductor to take period-performance issues seriously. He has been one of the world's leading Mozarteans, a renowned Handelian, a vigorous proponent of opera in English translation, an early champion of Benjamin Britten, a surprisingly learned devotee of Gilbert and Sullivan... making you wonder whether any other conductor has acquired quite so many specialties or put them into practice with so many ensembles.’

Janáček’s Katya Kabanova
Opera: ‘Charles Mackerras worked his magic again… How does he do it? It is not only with Janáček. He has only to step into the Covent Garden pit and everything is transformed. The orchestra's playing, excellent as it usually is for other conductors, acquires a special authority and a fresh bloom of tone reserved for him. The tenderness of the strings in this performance was enough to bring tears to the eyes, but there was no sentimentality. The ejaculations on the brass and the strange chimes on harps underlined the heroine's tragedy as it reached its climax. He knows every nook and cranny of this score and it sears the soul of the listener with renewed intensity every time.’

Mozart's Die Zauberflöte
The Guardian: ‘The reason not to miss this is Charles Mackerras's conducting. There are times when the ROH Orchestra sounds like a real period band, in the best sense. It's a treat to hear the bassoons huffing away with such point and focus, and the strings, swept along by those bass lines, are consistently lively too. The staging may be dark, but there's plenty of light coming from

everything Mackerras does - and it’s an unusually broad range - he does wonderfully well… The three areas where he has been hugely influential are Handel, Janacek and Mozart’s vocal music. Scholarly but never academic, he showed the musical world what it was missing or getting wrong. A few weeks ago (2005) Mackerras was back in Prague to conduct a recording of Dvorak’s New World Symphony, a work long laid in stone. Casting his eye over the autograph score, he made a discovery: what had always been played as whole-tone trills in the third movement were in fact half-tones. ‘It explained a lot of conundrums’, he says, ‘and made quite a difference to the series of chords that you trill to’. That’s vintage Mackerras - ever eager to look at things afresh. Taking a new view is rare enough in a 30-or 40-year-old. It is exceptional when you are 80.’

the pit.’
The Sunday Times: ‘Charles Mackerras presides, with bracing, quasi-authentic tempi; transparent, airy textures; and great thwacks on the kettledrums to make us all sit up in the overture. This is Mozart as close to perfection as it’s possible to hear today...’

soprano timbre is capable of brilliant surprise moments - an ideal pre-requisite for this emotionally laden sound-world, and which completed this important and celebrated Frankfurt event."

Britten’s The Turn of the Screw
The Gramophone: ‘Diana Montague is a gratifyingly sympathetic Mrs Grose, using her body language to convey just the right feeling of apprehension and concern over the fate of her charges.’
Opera: ‘Diana Montague's youngish, uncomprehending Mrs Grose is the best I have seen or heard, touchingly acted and beautifully sung.’

Bellini’s Norma
The Times: ‘Montague conceded nothing in quality, giving a profoundly moving performance of vast vocal accomplishment and concentrated feeling. This was hypnotic, heart-stopping musical beauty.’
The Independent on Sunday: ‘Montague decodifies the multiple trills and roulades of her role; translating Bellini's period-specific syntax into a timeless language of feeling with a tone that is warm, fresh, flexible and secure in a performance worthy of any major opera house.’
The Stage: ‘Diana Montague's Adalgisa finds her at the height of her powers, tonally lustrous, technically assured, her portrait of the vulnerable priestess fleshed out with simplicity as moving as it is effective.’
The Guardian: 'Most of all, there is the glorious singing of Diana Montague as Adalgisa, which deserves a far better showcase than this. But the majestic Montague is simply in a different class, vocally and dramatically, from everyone else involved.'
The Financial Times: 'It was luxury casting to have Diana Montague, fresh and generous of tone, as an Adalgisa who for once made her part a major role.'

Verdi Songs MusicWeb International: ‘Dennis O’Neill is an experienced Verdi singer and this experience tells in his performance of these songs. All are performed with a gorgeous Italianate tone and a good feeling for the

Puccini’s Madam Butterfly The Scotsman:
‘Garry Magee's pragmatic and sympathetic middleman, Sharpless, is hugely believable.’
The Independent: ‘Garry Magee is a surprisingly young-looking Sharpless, a baritone of fine quality.’

Turnage's The Silver Tassie Online Review: 'Magee has a natural theatricality and his opening swagger turns chillingly, and very convincing.'

Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades The Sunday Telegraph: '...splendid as Yeletsky'
The Guardian: 'Garry Magee’s lovely singing in act two made the jilted Prince Yeletsky into a pitiable figure.'
The Sunday Times: '... a honey-toned Yeletsky...'

Jonathan Dove’s Flight The Sunday Times: ‘The cast is uniformly good, but I must single out… Garry Magee as the bisexually predatory air steward’

William Matteuzzi

phrasing of the songs… and by his gorgeous singing in the quieter moments, of which there are many.’

Sydney Morning Herald: Verdi’s Il trovatore
‘star import Dennis O'Neill seemed to gear his whole performance to the climactic outburst of wounded rage when he accuses Leonora: "You sold yourself!" It was at once a moment of great savagery and vocal beauty, and if he had sung no other scene all night it would have been sufficient to justify his star billing. Still, then we would have missed out on his equally breathtaking, technically effortless illumination of some of the opera's more decorative but still deceptively demanding tunes, a reminder that he had been, after all, cast as a troubadour.’

Halévy’s La Juive
The Daily Telegraph: ‘It’s odd that Placido Domingo , in his autumn years, has

never sung the sympathetic tenor role of Eléazar (but does it lie too high for him?), but Dennis O’Neill made a fine job of it here, singing Rachel! Quand du seigneur, one of Caruso’s favourite arias, with moving nobility.’
The Observer: ‘ The Jewish goldsmith, Eléazar is a heroic tenor role much favoured by Caruso, and carried off in high style by the ever-impressive Dennis O’Neill.’
The Independent:
‘Dennis O’Neill can still pull it out and did in his act four show-stopper. This is a man, one always feels, who cares about the craft of singing. His vocal longevity is a tribute to his technique. His much admired mezza voce still draws one in.’
The Times: The Jewess, the passionate, dignified and doomed Rachel, gets top billing, but its her father, the fanatical Eléazar, who is the story’s linchpin, and Dennis O’Neill was secure in voice and powerful in spirit, etching out a remarkable portrayal of a man torn between bitter revenge and paternal love… this was O’Neill and Halévy’s night.’

MusicWeb International: Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra
‘… the rock-steady bass of Alistair Miles (magnificent recently as Silva in Ernani at ENO and no less magnificent here). The orchestra (Royal Opera House) and Elder seem to rise to Miles’ portrayal, blazing in a reflection of his fury in the scene with Simon and in the confrontation about the missing child.’

ConcertNet.com: Handel’s Saul
‘Alastair Miles has one of the most beautiful bass-baritone voices in the business, and you wished that Saul had a lot more music: Handel's decision to reduce the role of Saul left Miles with little to do except look distraught, but he managed to suggest noble wreckage.’

MusicOMH.com: Handel's Messiah
‘Alastair Miles gave probably the best performance I've ever heard from him. To achieve such steady tone, fluid legato and powerful projection through arias such as The Trumpet Shall Sound and Why Do the Nations? is quite something for any artist. It was a shame that we didn't hear much more from him.’

The Guardian: Bellini’s La Sonnambula
‘Only the Count (an authoritative performance by Alastair Miles)… emerges in three dimensions.’

Britten’s Peter Grimes
The Guardian: 'The protagonists are mostly ciphers. Only Alan Opie’s Balstrode, witty, wise and full of telling detail, has a strong presence. For the first time in any production of this opera I wondered if whether, after the wreckage of her relationship with Grimes, Ellen Orford might find salvation with the old sea captain.'
The Times:'Alan Opie is the definitive Balstrode, the voice of common sense and fair play.'

30 October 2014