“Find anything exciting happening in period opera in the UK and Curnyn will be involved, whether it’s conducting at the Wanamaker or ENO, recording Handel or directing his own projects. Last week’s concert performance of Rameau’s Castor et Pollux was a perfect example[…]With such vivid, compelling persuasion, surely the UK can’t continue to hold out against the charms of Rameau, Lully and Charpentier?”
Christian Curnyn has emerged as one of the UK’s leading conductors specialising in the Baroque and Classical repertoire. After reading Music at the University of York, he took postgraduate studies on the harpsichord at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Recent and future highlights include:
- Royal Opera, Covent Garden – Luigi Rossi Orfeo at Sam Wanamaker Playhouse; Monteverdi Il Ritorno di ulisse in patrio at The Roundhouse
- English National Opera – Handel Partenope and Rodelinda
- Oper Stuttgart – Handel Alcina; Purcell The Fairy Queen
- Komische Oper Berlin – Rameau Zoroastre
- The Hallé; Bournemouth; Tasmania, West Australian, and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras – Handel Messiah
- Garsington Opera (Mozart Die Zauberflöte) and L’Opéra national du Rhin debuts
In 1994 Christian founded the Early Opera Company (www.earlyopera.com). Notable Handel performances have included Orlando for the South Bank Centre Early Music Festival, Partenope for Buxton and Aldeburgh Festivals, and national tours of Flavio and Susanna. EOC appears regularly at the Wigmore Hall and St John’s Smith Square, and has performed in concert at the Cheltenham Festival, Spitalfields Festival, York Early Music Festival, London Festival of Baroque Music, Kilkenny Arts Festival, and at the BBC Proms.
In the UK Christian has conducted Handel’s Semele for Scottish Opera, Handel’s Saul for Opera North, Britten’s The Beggar’s Opera for The Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Le nozze di Figaro, Semele and Cavalli’s Eliogabalo for Grange Park Opera, and Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, Handel’s Orlando and Alcina for Opera Theatre Company, Dublin.
In 2008 Christian Curnyn made his hugely successful debut with English National Opera in an Olivier Award winning production of Handel’s Partenope. He has returned to ENO for After Dido, Katie Mitchell’s realisation of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Barrie Kosky’s Olivier Award-winning production of Rameau’s Castor et Pollux, Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Charpentier’s Medée, and Handel’s Rodelinda.
In 2014 he conducted Cavalli’s L’Ormindo for The Royal Opera, Covent Garden to inaugurate their series at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s The Globe which he revived in 2015. Later that year he conducted Luigi Rossi’s Orfeo, also for The Royal Opera.
In the USA Christian Curnyn has conducted Partenope and Cosi fan Tutte for New York City Opera, Handel’s Tolomeo for Glimmerglass Opera and Cavalli’s Giasone and Charpentier’s Medée for Chicago Opera Theater.
Elsewhere he has worked with Opera Australia (Partenope), Landestheater Salzburg (Vivaldi’s Farnace and Handel’s Ariodante) Frankfurt Opera (Cavalli’s La Calisto and Gluck’s Ezio), Komische Oper Berlin (Rameau’s Castor et Pollux and Zoroastre) and Stuttgart Opera (Rameau’s Platée, Purcell’s The Fairy Queen and Handel’s Alcina). He conducted Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas in Aldeburgh as part of the Britten centenary celebrations. He has conducted Jephtha for Hallé Handel Festival and Handel’s Susanna for Karslruhe Handel Festival.
On the concert platform, Christian has conducted the Bournemouth Symphony, Ulster, Hallé, Stavanger Symphony, Wroclaw Baroque and Irish Baroque Orchestras as well as English Concert and Essen Philharmoniker. He toured Scotland with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Nicola Benedetti followed by a recording on the Decca label.
Recent and future highlights include a revival of Rodelinda at ENO, a new production of Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse at The Roundhouse for ROH, Die Zauberflöte for Garsington Opera, Idomeneo for Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos and a new production at Opéra national du Rhin, as well as concerts with the Academy of Ancient Music, Philharmonie Essen, and a Messiah tour with Tasmania, West Australia, and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras.
His recording of Partenope for Chandos won widespread critical acclaim and his recording of Semele was chosen as a Best Recording of 2008 by The Sunday Times, Editor’s Choice in Gramophone Magazine and was awarded the 2008 Stanley Sadie Handel Prize. Other releases on the Chandos label include Eccles’ The Judgement of Paris, (awarded a Diapason D’or), Britten’s The Beggar’s Opera and Handel’s Alceste which won the Opera award in the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2013. Recordings of Handel’s Flavio, Il Trionfo del Tempo (Wigmore Live) and Serse have also been released to enthusiastic press acclaim.