Internationally renowned as an opera and concert conductor of distinction, Harry Bicket is especially noted for his interpretation of Baroque and Classical repertoire and since 2007 has been Artistic Director of The English Concert, one of Europe’s finest period orchestras. In 2013, following regular guest appearances for Santa Fe Opera, he became that organization’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 last season, in addition to the orchestra’s London season and recording projects, included tours to Europe and the United States with Handel’s Solomon and performances of Ariodante at the Palais Garnier. This season, Bicket will also return to Chicago Symphony for a special collaboration with the Joffrey Ballet, Orchestra of St Luke’s, Canadian Opera Company (Le nozze di Figaro), and Santa Fe Opera.
Following the success in earlier seasons of Rinaldo and Ariodante featuring Joyce DiDonato, in Spring 2022, The English Concert continued its Handel opera series with critically acclaimed performances of Serse in 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 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 (including Cincinnati May Festival), New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Houston Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, NACO Ottawa, Indianapolis Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, and Boston Symphony Orchestra. He has also led master classes with the Juilliard School.
European conducting has ranged from opera for Liceu 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, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo, 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 Royal Opera House (Theodora, Orlando), Minnesota Opera (Croesus), Opera Australia (Giulio Cesare), Scottish Opera (Orfeo), New York City Opera (Le nozze di Figaro, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Clemenza di Tito, Rinaldo), Royal Danish Opera (Orfeo), Glimmerglass Festival (Partenope, Agrippina), New Israeli Opera (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Aldeburgh Festival (Faerie Queen), Edinburgh Festival (Clemenza di Tito), Spoleto Festival (Giasone, Tamerlano, L’ile de Merlin), English National Opera (Orfeo, Ariodante, Semele, Xerxes, Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda), Bayerische Staatsoper (Rinaldo, Ariodante, Serse, Orlando, Orfeo ed Euridice, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and Die Zauberflöte), Welsh National Opera (Clemenza di Tito), and Opera North (Radamisto, Return of Ulysses, The Magic Flute, Croesus), and Los Angeles Opera (Giulio Cesare, L’incoronazione di Poppea).
Bicket made his Glyndebourne Festival debut in 1996 with Peter Sellars’ landmark production of 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 Clemenza di Tito (2008) and he is now a regular guest. In 2001, his first Barcelona production, Giulio Cesare, earned him the Opera Critics’ Prize for best conductor and in 2003 his debut production for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Handel’s Orlando) received an Olivier Award nomination for Best New Opera Production. In the same year he conducted Lyric Opera of Chicago for the first time and 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 and a concerto disc released in September 2018 on Signum. His discography also includes five recordings with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, among them a collection of 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), which was nominated for a Grammy Award. His Gramophone Award-nominated CDs also 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).