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Handel: Theodora

23 March – 1 April 2018

Renowned British Handelians Sarah Connolly and Christian Curnyn prepare this dramatic oratorio in masterclasses before presenting a concert performance as part of Snape Maltings' Easter Weekend programme.

Course Tutors

Sarah Connolly mezzo soprano
Christian Curnyn conductor
Catherine Martin upper strings
Catherine Rimer lower strings / continuo
David Hendry brass
Pawel Siwczak harpsichord

Adrian Bending timpani
Rhoda Patrick woodwind
Gail Hennessy woodwind
Elizabeth Kenny theorbo
Tom Appleton chorus master
Ashley Solomon flute

Vocal Participants

Anna Cavaliero
Lucy Knight
Charlotte Bowden
Nazan Fikret
Polly Leech
Valeria Girardello
Rodrigo Sosa Dal Pozzo
Kieron-Connor Valentine
Patrick Kilbride
Benjamin Durrant
Chase Henry Hopkins
Joel Williams
Benjamin Kazez
Kieran Rayner
Jonathan Woody
Jolyon Loy

Britten-Pears Baroque Orchestra

Violin I Gary Ngan*, Matilde Tosetti, Ida Meidell Blylod, Kirsty Main

Violin II Abel Balazs*, Karolina Habalo, Eloise MacDonald, Rebecca Windram,

Viola Yvonne Smith*, Cecile Silva

Cello Camilla Morse-Glover, Daniel Davis

Double Bass Peter Ferretti

Natural Horn Anna Drysdale, Sadie Glass

Natural Trumpet Imogen Hancock, Bruno Lourensetto

Flute Laura Quesada, Pablo Gigosos

Oboe Katie Cowling, Katie Lewis

Bassoon Catriona McDermid, Matthew Lewis

Theorbo Jonatan Bougt, Eric Thomas

Harpsichord/Organ Fernando Aguado, Sean Heath

Timpani Nick Cowling


*  Denotes Section Leader

Course Tutors

Sarah Connolly

Born in County Durham, Sarah Connolly studied piano and singing at the Royal College of Music, of which she is now a Fellow.  She was made a DBE in the 2017 Birthday Honours, having previously been made a CBE in the 2010 New Year’s Honours.  In 2011 she was honoured by the Incorporated Society of Musicians and presented with the Distinguished Musician Award. She is the recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s 2012 Singer Award.

Highlights in her 2017/18 season include her debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in a new production of Ariodante, the title role in Giulio Cesare at the Glyndebourne Festival and Brangäne Tristan und Isolde for the Gran Teatro del Liceu.

Past highlights have included Fricka (Covent Garden & Bayreuther Festspiele) Brangäne Tristan und Isolde (Covent Garden & Festspielhaus Baden-Baden); Komponist Ariadne auf Naxos and Clairon Capriccio (Metropolitan Opera); the title role in Giulio Cesare, Brangäne and Gertrude in the world premiere of Brett Dean’s Hamlet (Glyndebourne Festival); the title role in Ariodante and Sesto La clemenza di Tito (Festival d’Aix-en-Provence); Purcell’s Dido (Teatro alla Scala & Covent Garden); Jocaste in Enescu’s Œdipe (Covent Garden); Gluck’s Orfeo and the title role in The Rape of Lucretia (Bayerische Staatsoper); Phèdre Hippolyte et Aricie (Opéra national de Paris) and the title role in Agrippina and Nerone L’Incoronazione di Poppea (Gran Teatro del Liceu).

She has also sung the title role in Maria Stuarda and Roméo I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Opera North); Komponist (Welsh National Opera) and Octavian Der Rosenkavalier (Scottish Opera).  A favorite at the English National Opera, her many roles for the company have included Geschwitz Lulu; Octavian; the title roles in Charpentier’s Medée and Handel’s Agrippina, Xerxes, Ariodante and Ruggiero Alcina; the title role in The Rape of Lucretia; Didon Les Troyens; Roméo, Susie The Silver Tassie and Sesto – for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera.

The future sees her return to the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, the Opéra national de Paris and make her debut at the Teatro Réal in Madrid.

Her many concert engagements include appearances at the Lucerne, Salzburg, Tanglewood and Three Choirs Festivals and at the BBC Proms where, in 2009, she was a memorable guest soloist at The Last Night.  Other notable engagements have included The Dream of Gerontius (Boston Symphony Orchestra/Sir Colin Davis & Mozarteumorchester Salzburg/Bolton); Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 at the BBC Proms (LSO/Haitink); A Child of our Time and Brangäne (Berliner Philharmoniker/Rattle); Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (Leipzig Gewandhausorchester/Chailly, Boston Symphony Orchestra/von Dohnanyi & Philadelphia Orchestra/Nézet-Séguin); Das Lied von der Erde (Concertgebouworkest/Harding, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra/Nézet-Séguin & LPO/Jurowski); Des Knaben Wunderhorn (L’Orchestre des Champs-Elysées/Herreweghe) and La mort de Cléopâtre (Hallé/Elder, CBSO/Gardner & BBC Symphony Orchestra/Sir Andrew Davis).

She has appeared in recital in London, New York, Boston, Paris, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, San Francisco, Atlanta, Stuttgart; at the Incontri in Terra di Siena La Foce and the Schubertiada Vilabertran and at the Aldeburgh, Cheltenham, Edinburgh and Oxford Lieder Festivals.

Committed to promoting new music, her world premiere performances include Judith Bingham’s The Colour of Fire (Two Moors Festival); Torsten Rasch’s A Welsh Night (Three Choirs Festival); Gareth Farr’s Relict Furies (Edinburgh Festival); Jonathan Harvey’s Songs of Li Po (Aldeburgh Festival) and Sir John Tavener’s Tribute to Cavafy (Symphony Hall, Birmingham) and Gnosis (BBC Proms).

A prolific recording artist, her many discs include Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (OAE); Des Knaben Wunderhorn (L’Orchestre des Champs-Élysées/Herreweghe – winner of an Edison Award); Brangäne Tristan und Isolde (LPO/Jurowski); Elgar’s Sea Pictures and The Dream of Gerontius (BBC Symphony Orchestra/Sir Andrew Davis – winner of a Gramophone Award); Britten’s Phaedra (BBC Symphony Orchestra/Gardner) and Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor and Haydn’s Scena di Berenice (Gabrieli Consort/McCreesh).  Her roles on DVD include Giulio Cesare, Nerone, Clairon and Purcell’s Dido.  Her recording of Handel arias with The Sixteen and Harry Christophers was described as ‘the definition of captivating’ and her three solo recital discs The Exquisite Hour, Songs of Love and Loss and My true love hath my heart have all won universal critical acclaim.  She features on the soundtrack Fragments of a Prayer by Sir John Tavener, for the feature film Children of Men.



Christian Curnyn

In 1994 Christian founded the Early Opera Company (www.earlyopera.com). Notable Handel performances have included Orlando for the South Bank Centre Early Music Festival, Partenope for Buxton and Aldeburgh Festivals, and national tours of Flavio and Susanna. EOC appears regularly at the Wigmore Hall and St John’s Smith Square, and has performed in concert at the Cheltenham Festival, Spitalfields Festival, York Early Music Festival, London Festival of Baroque Music, Kilkenny Arts Festival, and at the BBC Proms.

In the UK Christian has conducted Handel’s Semele for Scottish Opera, Handel’s Saul for Opera North, Britten’s The Beggar’s Opera for The Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Le nozze di Figaro, Semele and Cavalli’s Eliogabalo for Grange Park Opera, and Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, Handel’s Orlando and Alcina for Opera Theatre Company, Dublin.

In 2008 Christian Curnyn made his hugely successful debut with English National Opera in an Olivier Award winning production of Handel’s Partenope. He has returned to ENO for After Dido, Katie Mitchell’s realisation of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Barrie Kosky’s Olivier Award-winning production of Rameau’s Castor et Pollux, Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Charpentier’s Medée, and Handel’s Rodelinda.

In 2014 he conducted Cavalli’s L’Ormindo for The Royal Opera, Covent Garden to inaugurate their series at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s The Globe which he revived in 2015. Later that year he conducted Luigi Rossi’s Orfeo, also for The Royal Opera.

In the USA Christian Curnyn has conducted Partenope and Cosi fan Tutte for New York City Opera, Handel’s Tolomeo for Glimmerglass Opera and Cavalli’s Giasone and Charpentier’s Medéefor Chicago Opera Theater.

Elsewhere he has worked with Opera Australia (Partenope), Landestheater Salzburg (Vivaldi’s Farnace and Handel’s Ariodante) Frankfurt Opera (Cavalli’s La Calisto and Gluck’s Ezio), Komische Oper Berlin (Rameau’s Castor et Pollux and Zoroastre) and Stuttgart Opera (Rameau’s Platée, Purcell’s The Fairy Queen and Handel’s Alcina).  He conducted Purcell’s Dido and Aeneasin Aldeburgh as part of the Britten centenary celebrations. He has conducted Jephtha for Hallé Handel Festival and Handel’s Susanna for Karslruhe Handel Festival.

On the concert platform, Christian has conducted the Bournemouth Symphony, Ulster, Hallé, Stavanger Symphony, Wroclaw Baroque and Irish Baroque Orchestras as well as English Concert and Essen Philharmoniker. He toured Scotland with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Nicola Benedetti followed by a recording on the Decca label.

Recent and future highlights include a revival of Rodelinda at ENO, a new production of Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse at The Roundhouse for ROH, Die Zauberflöte for Garsington Opera,Idomeneo for Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos and a new production at Opéra national du Rhin, as well as concerts with the Academy of Ancient Music, Philharmonie Essen, and a Messiah tour with Tasmania, West Australia, and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras.

His recording of Partenope for Chandos won widespread critical acclaim and his recording of Semele was chosen as a Best Recording of 2008 by The Sunday Times, Editor’s Choice in Gramophone Magazine and was awarded the 2008 Stanley Sadie Handel Prize. Other releases on the Chandos label include Eccles’ The Judgement of Paris, (awarded a Diapason D’or), Britten’s The Beggar’s Opera and Handel’s Alcestewhich won the Opera award in the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2013.  Recordings of Handel’s Flavio, Il Trionfo del Tempo (Wigmore Live) and Serse have also been released to enthusiastic press acclaim.