24 April 2013

Harry Bicket Named as Santa Fe Opera's New Chief Conductor

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Harry Bicket has been named as Santa Fe Opera's new chief conductor and will assume his post on October 1, 2013, the company's general director, Charles MacKay, announced today. 

Bicket's first performances in his new role will take place during the company's 2014 summer-season, when he will return to the podium to lead the Santa Fe Opera premiere of Beethoven's Fidelio. Bicket's appointment as the company's chief conductor follows the August 2012 resignation of Frédéric Chaslin from that post. Chaslin's October 2010 designation as chief conductor brought an end to a nearly two-year interregnum of musical administrators at Santa Fe Opera, which followed the 2008 resignation of chief conductor Edo de Waart. De Waart, in turn, replaced former music director Alan Gilbert, who resigned in 2007. 

"The entire Santa Fe Opera family is thrilled to have you join the company and welcomes you to Santa Fe," MacKay said to Bicket, who arrived in Santa Fe for the announcement of his appointment. "Harry Bicket is one of the most important and sought-after conductors working today, and brings a wealth of experience to Santa Fe," MacKay added. "He is in demand by opera companies, symphony orchestras and chamber music venues; his ability to commit to the responsibilities of chief conductor is a coup for the company."

Bicket's selection as the company's new chief conductor followed several months of deliberation by MacKay, the company's orchestra committee — comprised of members elected by their colleagues — as well as a task force created by Santa Fe Opera's board of directors. According to the company, the orchestra was enthusiastic about its past work with Bicket, who has paced performances of Agrippina (2004), Platée (2007) and Radamisto (2008) at Santa Fe Opera. A press release issued today by the company noted that Bicket's primary responsibility as chief conductor will be to maintain the artistic standards and quality of the opera orchestra. 

Bicket, 52, who currently serves as artistic director of the period-instrument orchestra the English Concert, maintains an active career in many of the world's foremost opera houses and concert halls, including Covent Garden, the Metropolitan Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Glyndebourne Festival, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic and others. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2004 leading performances of Handel's Rodelinda featuring Renée Fleming and David Daniels; he has led subsequent performances of Giulio CesareRodelinda and Clemenza di Tito with the company. Future engagements will include performances of Carmen at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Rusalka performances at Houston Grand Opera and the continuation of a three-year cycle of concert performances of Handel operas at Carnegie Hall. 

Born in Liverpool, Bicket was educated at Radley College, Oxford and the Royal College of Music, and, after his studies, he went on to serve as sub-organist at Westminster Abbey. He has held positions in several of Britain's leading early-music organizations, including the Academy of Ancient Music, English Concert and the Monteverdi Orchestra. Bicket holds dual citizenship in the U.K and the United States. 

In addition to Bicket's appointment, Santa Fe Opera also announced today the details of the company's 2014 season, which will feature six operas, all of which will take the stage in new productions. Carmen will be directed by Stephen Lawless and will feature Anna Caterina Antonacci in her Santa Fe Opera debut in the title role. Laurent Pelly will direct a new production of Donizetti's Don Pasquale and Stephen Wadsworth will stage the company's first performances of Fidelio. Michael Gieleta will mount a double bill of Mozart's The Impresario and Stravinsky's Le Rossignol, which will be conducted by Evan Rogister. The American premiere of Chinese American composer Huang Ruo's Dr. Sun Yat-sen — sung in Mandarin — will be staged by James Robinson and conducted by Carolyn Kuan. spacer 

More information can be found at Santa Fe Opera.

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