What a wonderful season it has been for Edward Gardner, who in his fifth season as English National Opera’s Music Director has triumphed with four critically acclaimed productions.
The season began in November 2011 with Eugene Onegin, which for Fiona Maddocks [The Observer], ‘the evening belonged to Edward Gardner and the ENO orchestra. He brought out every nuance of the score and shaped every detail and dynamic change.' William Hartston [The Express] was equal in praise: ‘I have long admired conductor Edward Gardner's meticulous attention to detail and uncanny ability to reveal unsuspected depths to the music, but he even surpassed my high expectations with this Onegin.'
Der Rosenkavalier followed in January/February 2012 with William Hartston once again championing Edward’s skills with the ENO orchestra: ‘The highest honours of the evening deserve to go to the conductor Edward Gardner, who just seems to get better and better. His perfectionism and attention to detail are astounding, with the instrumentalists and singers kept in perfect balance and every note made to count. I doubt that I have ever heard the orchestra at the ENO give a more convincing performance.’
A few months later and yet more superlatives for Edward’s first ever Wagner opera, The Flying Dutchman: ‘A force 10 gale launches The Flying Dutchman, and fearless skipper Edward Gardner sailed ENO’s new production straight into the storm. What followed was a thrillingly dangerous journey during which Gardner – a Wagner greenhorn – never faltered, steering the ship manfully through massive breakers as well as calmer waters.’ [Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph]
Saving perhaps the best until last, Benjamin Britten’s ‘bleakly homoerotic, morally ambivalent and musically electrifying’ [Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph] Billy Budd was a true triumph and fitting end to what can only be described as an electrifying ENO season under Edward’s expert leadership. Edward Seckerson [The Independent] summing up perfectly: ‘[Edward] inspires his fantastic chorus and orchestra to great heights, the surge and swell of Britten’s score as surely caught as its queasy undertow.’ Echoed by Fiona Maddocks in The Observer: ‘In the authoritative hands of conductor Edward Gardner, Britten's score flares, sparks and fractures with white heat and luminescence. The ENO orchestra is on blazing form.’
Bravo to Edward! We are very much looking forward to an exciting start to his 2012/13 season at ENO with Peter Grimes at the BBC Proms on Friday 24 August.