“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 is widely recognised 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.
- Early Opera Company – Blow Venus & Adonis; Purcell Dido & Aeneas (Amsterdam Concertgebouw debut); Handel Solomon (for ROH)
- Opera North – Handel Giulio Cesare
- Theatre Basel – Mozart Le nozze di Figaro
- Komische Oper Berlin – Handel Jephtha
- Concerts with Ensemble Resonanz, OAE, English Concert, Philharmonie Essen and Concerto Köln
Christian Curnyn is widely recognised as one of the UK’s leading conductors specialising in the Baroque and Classical repertoire. In 1994 Christian founded the Early Opera Company with whom he appears regularly at the Wigmore Hall and St John’s Smith Square for the London Festival of Baroque Music. They have also performed at the BBC Proms as well as at the Cheltenham, Spitalfields, York Early Music and Kilkenny Arts Festivals.
Much in demand on the operatic scene, in the UK Christian has conducted for Scottish Opera (Handel Semele), Opera North (Handel’s Saul), Grange Park Opera (Semele, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, and Cavalli’s Eliogabalo) and with Garsington Opera (Die Zauberflöte). He is a regular at English National Opera where successes have included Olivier Award winning productions of Handel’s Partenope and Rameau’s Castor et Pollux (dir. Barrie Kosky), After Dido (Katie Mitchell’s realisation of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas), Handel’s Giulio Cesare, Charpentier’s Medée, and Handel’s Rodelinda.
For The Royal Opera, Covent Garden he has conducted Britten’s The Beggar’s Opera, Cavalli’s L’Ormindo to inaugurate their series at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s The Globe, where he returned for Luigi Rossi’s Orfeo (nominated for an Olivier Award), and Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse at The Roundhouse.
Further afield he has worked with Opera Australia (Partenope), Landestheater Salzburg (Vivaldi’s Farnace and Handel’s Ariodante) Frankfurt Opera (Cavalli La Calisto and Gluck Ezio), Komische Oper Berlin (Rameau Castor et Pollux and Zoroastre), Stuttgart Opera (Rameau Platée, Purcell The Fairy Queen and Handel’s Alcina) and Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos (Mozart Idomeneo). In the USA Christian 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.
Specialist early music ensembles Christian has worked with include Academy of Ancient Music, AKAMUS, English Concert, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Irish and Wroclaw Baroque orchestras. Alongside this work he takes a particular interest in performing Baroque and Classical repertoire with modern forces, including collaborations with Bournemouth Symphony, Ulster, Hallé, Scottish Chamber (including a recording on the Decca label with Nicola Benedetti), Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Stavanger Symphony, and Philharmonie Essen. He recently conducted a Messiah tour in Australia with the Tasmanian, West Australian and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras.
Recent and forthcoming highlights include a double-bill of Blow Venus & Adonis and Dido & Aeneas with Early Opera Company (Amsterdam Concertgebouw debut for their for NTR ZaterdagMatinee series), The Royal Opera Covent Garden (Solomon), Opera North (Giulio Cesare), Theatre Basel (Le nozze di Figaro), Komische Oper Berlin (Jephtha), and further new productions for both The Royal Opera Covent Garden and Garsington Opera, as well as performances with Concerto Köln and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
His extensive discography with the Early Opera Company for the Chandos label includes their 2005 recording of Partenope which won widespread critical acclaim, and their recording of Semele was chosen as a Best Recording of 2008 by The Sunday Times, Editor’s Choice in Gramophone Magazine and awarded the 2008 Stanley Sadie Handel Prize. Further releases include includes Il Trionfo del Tempo for Wigmore Live, Eccles’ The Judgement of Paris, (awarded a Diapason D’or), Britten’s The Beggar’s Opera, Handel’s Flavio, Alceste (winner of the Opera award in the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2013), Serse, and most recently Acis & Galetea (winner of the Opera category of the 2019 BBC Music Magazine Awards).