Founded in 2014, Opera Settecento have established a reputation for strikingly characterful and emotional performances of eighteenth century repertoire. Focusing primarily on the music of Handel and his contemporaries, they have given many UK and world premières of works by Hasse, Pergolesi, and Handel. Through the scholarship of the ensemble’s Artistic Director, Leo Duarte, Opera Settecento have undertaken a groundbreaking series of Handel’s pasticcio operas which they have presented to critical acclaim at the London and Halle Handel Festivals and have broadcast live on German radio.
Through this series they have shed important new light on the broader context of Baroque opera and on the music of composers Handel himself deemed worthy of performance. As well as championing the work of unsung composers, Opera Settecento are proud to engage talented singers at the start of their careers alongside more established artists, including many prizewinners from the Handel Singing Competition. 2024 will see a performance of symphonies by Haydn, Gluck and William Herschel at the Rezonanzen Festival in Vienna as well as a reconstruction of an unfinished opera by Handel titled 'Titus l'Empereur.'
Leo Duarte – The Artistic Director:
Praised for his vivid conducting, and described in the press as an “explosive tangle of musical energy”, Duarte is always eager to challenge the status quo in search of overlooked aspects of performance practice and is dedicated to research into early manuscripts and treatises. Recent conducting engagements include a concert at the London Handel Festival focussing on repertoire for the singer Francesca Cuzzoni, as well as performances of Handel’s Agrippina for English Touring Opera. In Autumn 2023 he acted as Assistant Conductor and Historical Advisor for performances of Handel’s L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato for a tour of the the USA with the English Baroque Soloists. He has prepared several performing editions of Baroque operas and has received particular praise for his edition of Handel's Brockes Passion for the Academy of Ancient Music.
Core players (depending on project demands and player availability):
Violins: Julia Kuhn, James Toll, Claudia Norz, Guy Button, Gabriella Jones, Ellen Bundy
Violas: Joanna Patrick, Elitsa Borisova Bogdanova
Cellos: Christopher Suckling, George Ross
Double basses: Carina Cosgrave, Rosie Moon
Oboes: Leo Duarte, Robert de Bree
Bassoon: Catriona McDermid
Horns: Pierre-Antoine Tremblay, Peter Moutoussis
Harpsichord: Tom Foster