Internationally renowned as an opera and concert conductor of distinction, Harry Bicket is especially noted for his interpretation of baroque and classical repertoire and in 2007 became Artistic Director of The English Concert, one of the UK’s finest period orchestras. He became Chief Conductor of Santa Fe Opera in 2013 and opened the 2014 season with a critically-acclaimed Fidelio. Born in Liverpool, he studied at the Royal College of Music and Oxford University and is an accomplished harpsichordist.
Plans for the 2016/17 season include his first Carmen with Lyric Opera of Chicago and Alcina with Santa Fe Opera. Symphonic work includes visits to Cleveland Orchestra including Rameau’s Suite from Les Boréades, and a visit to the Cincinnati May Festival with Bach’s B Minor Mass. Plans with The English Concert include UK and international touring within Europe, United States (Handel’s Ariodante featuring Joyce DiDonato, including Carnegie Hall) and the Far East (Wuhan, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong).
Video & Audio
The English Concert discusses its direction towards Opera, particularly those of Handel, with interviews from […]
From The Green Room
01 Mar 16 Handel: Orlando The English Concert Barbican CentreMore info
“… Harry Bicket’s daringly slow but impeccably judged accompaniment. Both conducting and playing were first-rate throughout.”
26 Feb 16 Handel: Orlando The English Concert Birmingham Town HallMore info
“It was performed exquisitely by Harry Bicket, the English Concert and a quintet of singers that it would be hard to surpass.”
“How Handel uses the orchestra to convey his characters’ innermost feelings becomes even clearer in concert, especially when played with the cleanly etched lines, supple grace and invigorating energy of the English Concert, directed from the harpsichord by Bicket.”
Rebecca Franks, The Times, 01 March 2016
09 Dec 15 Stradella: Christmas Cantata The English Concert Christ Church SpitalfieldsMore info
“Under Bicket’s skilled direction, the players of the English Concert made delectable sounds in bringing this intricate score – full of ingenuity and charm – back to life.”
20 Jul 14 Beethoven: Fidelio Santa Fe Opera Santa Fe OperaMore info
“From the moment the Santa Fe Opera house lights dimmed, with a hint of sunlight still lingering above the surrounding hills, it was impossible not to be caught up in the drama of Fidelio… Harry Bicket led, firmly and freely, the Santa Fe Opera orchestra and singers”
05 Apr 14 Handel: Hercules Canadian Opera Company Canadian Opera CompanyMore info
“Under Harry Bicket’s superb conducting, Handel’s score becomes less a series of fussy arias and recitatives than a fully realized cohesive drama, and a fully felt exploration of the human condition as experienced through war”
02 Feb 14 Handel: Theodora The English Concert, Tour VariousMore info
“You certainly couldn’t have asked for a more inspired performance than the one given on Sunday, with Harry Bicket conducting the spirited English Concert and the Choir of Trinity Wall Street.”
“I wonder whether the English Concert has ever sounded better than it does now under Bicket.”
“Maestro Bicket consistently adopted tempi that were inherently right for the music and for the singers. (…) he displayed a natural affinity for collaboration with vocalists, and his shaping of scenes disclosed a deep understanding of Händel’s dramatic structures, which are crafted with as sure a hand as in any of the composer’s operas.”
“This was a high-quality performance on all counts. Bicket is not just a brisk, non-interventionist Baroque conductor. He searched out colour and expression in the inner parts, drawing a wealth of rich playing from the English Concert, and kept the music underpinned with a sturdy rhythmic impetus.”
“Flawless and uplifting.”
“Much of the time, my ear was seized by the wonderful playing in the orchestra. Conductor Harry Bicket and the players of the English Concert found a special tone for the piece, a kind of husky harshness, especially noticeable during the wonderful “dungeon” arias in the second act.”
Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph, 09 February 2014
04 Apr 13 Handel: Giulio Cesare Metropolitan Opera Metropolitan OperaMore info
“Mr. Bicket draws a lithe, lyrical and stylish performance of this great score from the Met orchestra, reduced in numbers and complemented by a Baroque continuo group.”
“Under the baton of Harry Bicket, the musical realization, all four-and-a-half hours of it, is superb…. The Met orchestra has finally found its Baroque chops…”
01 Nov 11 Handel: Rodelinda Metropolitan Opera Metropolitan OperaMore info
“The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra played splendidly under Harry Bicket’s alert leadership. Their crowning moment was surely the soulful echoes and plaints that wove their way through Bertarido’s Con rauco mormorio, with Handel in his most inspired pastoral mode.”
“To a remarkable degree, Mr Bicket has the Met orchestra sounding like a period band, scrubbed free of most vibrato.”
The English Concert
Created by Trevor Pinnock in 1973, The English Concert chose Harry Bicket to be its Artistic Director in 2007, and he has since led the orchestra in tours to Europe, the USA and the Middle East.
In the 2016/17 season they will give performances in the UK, within Europe, in the United States (Handel’s Ariodante featuring Joyce DiDonato, including Carnegie Hall) and the Far East (Wuhan, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong).
In October 2013, Harry was appointed Chief Conductor of Santa Fe Opera. In Summer 2014 he conducted Fidelio – his first production at the helm of the company – to wide critical acclaim. In Summer 2017 he will conduct Alcina at the opera.
In November 2016 it was announced that Harry Bicket has extended his contract with Santa Fe Opera until the end of Autumn 2020.
Harry commented: “I am thrilled to be able to continue my relationship with the orchestra and artistic management of the Santa Fe Opera; it has been, and continues to be, one of the most stimulating and exciting experiences of my career and I look forward to building further on the achievements of the past three years.”