London Early Opera


London Early Opera (LEO) is a British period-instrument orchestra consisting of a group of diverse, specialist baroque instrumentalists, international singers, researchers, historians and musicologists. LEO was founded by the Artistic Director Bridget Cunningham in 2008 as a research-led group. They are based in London and the south-east of England and became a UK Charity in 2011 (Charity No. 1143989).

“Handel has never sounded better” 5 Stars ★★★★★ BBC Music Magazine, 2019.


London Early Opera is at the forefront of baroque research and historical performance practice and perform newly discovered programmes, world premiere concerts and create albums to preserve musical heritage. Together they make new scholarly editions and recordings of long-lost works specialising in the music of George Frideric Handel, Johann Adolf Hasse and their contemporaries. Bridget Cunningham has reconstructed Handel’s Caio Fabbricio HWV A 9 and researched Handel’s music in London, Germany, Ireland, Italy and at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.

LEO has established itself around the world for these imaginative programmes, award winning research, outstanding performances and for their acclaimed recordings with Signum Classics, directed by Bridget Cunningham from the harpsichord. Their educational scheme and chamber ensemble The Handelians focuses on the development and education of exceptional singers and musicians nurturing them in the baroque style and inspiring the future generations.

As well as European tours, LEO have performed at several London venues including Coram’s Fields, the Foundling Museum, St James’s Church Piccadilly, St George’s Church Hanover Square, the Handel Hendrix Museum, St. Peter’s Church Vauxhall, Grosvenor Chapel Mayfair and a 400th Anniversary Concert of the Monteverdi Vespers at Southwark Cathedral. They have also performed for the London Handel Festival and with the Band of the Queen’s Division for a Trafalgar Day concert at St Mary Magdalene's Church, Richmond introduced by Jamie Crick.

In 2017 they performed Handel’s Water Music and a new world-premiere performance of River written by a BBC Inspire Young Composer of the Year, Grace Evangeline-Mason. This was commissioned by the BBC and performed live by London Early Opera for BBC Radio 4 on the Erasmus Boat on the River Thames celebrating the 300th Anniversary of Handel's Water Music.

In 2022 LEO performed the world premiere modern day performance of Handel’s Caio Fabbricio at St George’s Church Hanover Square to launch their edition and recording and have given numerous performances on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4 and have a vibrant YouTube channel.

LEO ‘s world premiere recording series with Signum Classics explores Handel’s life, influences and experiences and includes the albums Caio Fabbricio, Handel in Italy, Handel in Ireland, Handel at Vauxhall, Handel’s Eight Great Harpsichord Suites and Handel’s Queens which have been released to international acclaim and on the shortlist for a 2020 Gramophone Award nomination:

“Superb album - I never thought I could listen to more than 2 hours of such stuff at a stretch without a break, but that’s what I have done” Handel’s Queens album, David Mellor, Classic FM, 2019.

• 2022 Caio Fabbricio HWV A9 by G.F. Handel
• 2021 Handel’s Eight Great Harpsichord Suites
• 2019 Handel’s Queens
• 2017 Handel at Vauxhall Volume 2
• 2017 Handel in Ireland Volume 1
• 2016 Handel in Italy Volume 2
• 2016 Handel at Vauxhall Volume 1
• 2015 Handel in Italy Volume 1
• 2011 Thirty-Odd feet below Belgium

"Bridget Cunningham directs Caio Fabbricio brilliantly, leading from the harpsichord to energise the other players, and to give them space to exploit juicy passages. The singers’ virtuosity and rich characterisations are delightful… Caio Fabbricio contains much fine music and compels fresh admiration of Handel’s orchestral skills. Execution of this project is uniformly excellent” BBC Music Magazine, June 2022.

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Past programmes