Internationally renowned as an opera and concert conductor of distinction, Harry Bicket (artistic director and conductor) is especially noted for his interpretation of Baroque and Classical repertoire and since 2007 has been the artistic director of the English Concert, one of Europe’s finest period orchestras. In 2013, following regular guest appearances with Santa Fe Opera, he became that company’s Chief Conductor; in 2018, he assumed the music directorship. In Santa Fe, he has led productions of Carmen, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Le nozze di Figaro, Fidelio, La finta giardiniera, Roméo et Juliette, Alcina, Candide, and Così fan tutte. During the 2019 season, he also performed Strauss’ Four Last Songs with Renée Fleming. Born in Liverpool, he studied at the Royal College of Music and Oxford University.
Projects with the English Concert this season, in addition to their London season and recording projects, include tours to Europe and the United States with Handel’s Solomon and performances of Ariodante at the Palais Garnier. Bicket will also return to Chicago Symphony (for a special collaboration with the Joffrey Ballet), Orchestra of St Luke’s, the Canadian Opera Company, and Santa Fe Opera.
Following the success in earlier seasons of Rinaldo and Ariodante featuring Joyce DiDonato, last spring, the English Concert continued its Handel opera series with critically acclaimed performances of Serse in the UK, Europe, and the United States, including at St Martin-in-the-Fields and Carnegie Hall. Other highlights with the English Concert have included Bicket’s own arrangements of Mozart works for mechanical clockwork organ, Bach’s Cantatas for Advent, and Wayne Eagling’s Remembrance ballet, set to Handel’s Ode to St Cecilia’s Day, for English National Ballet Theatre.
In addition to his regular Santa Fe productions, recent North American seasons have included the Metropolitan Opera (most recently Rodelinda, The Magic Flute, Le nozze di Figaro, La clemenza di Tito, Giulio Cesare, Agrippina, and Così fan tutte); Lyric Opera of Chicago (Ariodante, Orphée et Eurydice, Carmen, Rinaldo); Houston Grand Opera (Le nozze di Figaro, Rusalka); and Canadian Opera Company (Maometto II, Hercules). Symphonic guest conducting has included the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Houston Symphony, Seattle Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, and Boston Symphony Orchestra. He has also led master classes at the Juilliard School.
European conducting has ranged from opera for the Liceu in Barcelona (including Agrippina, Lucio Silla, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Opéra de Bordeaux (Alcina), and Theater an der Wien (Iphigenie en Tauride, Mitridate), to concert projects with Prague Philharmonia, RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Oslo Philharmonic, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Bayerische Rundfunk, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Earlier work outside of Europe included his Japanese debut with Ian Bostridge and the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra and Israel Philharmonic.
Opera has also included various productions at the Royal Opera House, Minnesota Opera, Scottish Opera, New York City Opera, Royal Danish Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, Edinburgh Festival, Spoleto Festival, English National Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Welsh National Opera, Opera North, and Los Angeles Opera.
Bicket made his Glyndebourne Festival debut in 1996 with Peter Sellars’ landmark production of Handel’s Theodora and returned in 1999 and 2003. In 2004, his first Metropolitan Opera production (an acclaimed new production of Rodelinda with Renée Fleming and David Daniels) was quickly followed by Giulio Cesare (2006–07) and La clemenza di Tito (2008) and he is now a regular guest with the company. In 2003, Bicket’s debut production for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Handel’s Orlando) received an Olivier Award nomination for Best New Opera Production. That same year, he conducted at the Lyric Opera of Chicago for the first time; he has since returned regularly.
Recordings to date with the English Concert include releases for Virgin Classics, Chandos, and Harmonia Mundi featuring Elizabeth Watts, David Daniels, Lucy Crowe, Sarah Connolly, and Rosemary Joshua. Bicket’s discography also includes five recordings with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, among them Handel opera arias with Renée Fleming (Decca) and Ian Bostridge (EMI), as well as selections from Handel’s Theodora, Serse, and the cantata La Lucrezia with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Avie, nominated for a Grammy Award). His Gramophone Award-nominated CDs include Sento Amor with David Daniels featuring arias by Gluck, Handel, and Mozart (Virgin Veritas) and Il tenero momento with Susan Graham featuring arias by Mozart and Gluck (Erato).