“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.
- Garsington Opera (Mozart Die Zauberflöte) and L’Opéra national du Rhin (Mozart Don Giovanni) debuts
- Early Opera Company – Blow Venus & Adonis; Dido & Aeneas (Amsterdam Concertgebouw debut); Handel Solomon (for ROH)
- Tasmania, West Australian, and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras – Handel Messiah
- Concerts with Ensemble Resonanz, OAE, English Concert, Philharmonie Essen
- Future productions for Opera North, Theatre Basel, Komische Oper Berlin, Royal Opera Covent Garden
In 1994 Christian founded the Early Opera Company with whom he appears regularly at the Wigmore Hall and St John’s Smith Square, and has performed with 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.
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). 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’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). In the USA Christian Curnyn has conducted Partenope and Mozart’s 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, 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.
Recent and future highlights include debuts with Garsington Opera (Die Zauberflöte) and Opéra national du Rhin (Don Giovanni), Idomeneo for Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos, Blow Venus & Adonis and Dido & Aeneas with the Early Opera Company (Amsterdam Concertgebouw debut), Handel Solomon for the Royal Opera Covent Garden, and other forthcoming productions for Opera North, Theatre Basel, Komische Oper Berlin, and The Royal Opera. Concerts include performances with the Academy of Ancient Music, Philharmonie Essen, and a Messiah tour with Tasmania, West Australia, and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras.
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 on the Chandos label include Eccles’ The Judgement of Paris, (awarded a Diapason D’or), Britten’s The Beggar’s Opera, and Handel’s Flavio, Alceste (winner of the Opera award in the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2013), Serse and most recently Acis & Galetea, as well as Il Trionfo del Tempo for Wigmore Live.