On Monday, November 14, Harry Bicket will take to the podium of the Metropolitan Opera to conduct Rodelinda, the Handel opera that marked his highly successful debut with the company in 2004. The acclaimed production launched a regular association between the Met and Bicket, one of the world's leading practioners of baroque and classical repertoire. He has since conducted revivals of Giulio Cesare and Clemenza di Tito.
When Rodelinda was first staged in 2004 it was widely considered to be a milestone in the Met's history, praised for the combination of Stephen Wadsworth's production, the stunning cast lead by soprano Renée Fleming, and the conducting of Baroque specialist Bicket who "coaxes exquisite detailing from the Met orchestra (The New York Times) and "drew uncannily stylish period sounds from the Met orchestra" (The New Yorker). The Rodelinda revival reunites Bicket, a "singer's conductor", with Fleming and original cast-member soprano Stephanie Blythe, who are joined on stage by tenor Joseph Kaiser, bass-baritone Shenyang, and countertenors Andreas Scholl and Iestyn Davies who is making his Met debut.
Rodelinda will run for eight performances at the Met, with the matinee on December 3 being broadcast to more than 1,600 movie theaters in 54 countries around the world as part of the Met's Live in HD series.
Born in Liverpool of British and American descent, Bicket captured international attention in 1996 when he stepped in to conduct Handel's Theodora at the Glyndebourne Festival, a landmark Peter Sellars production that starred David Daniels, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and Dawn Upshaw. His affinities with vocal and operatic repertoire have led to strong affiliations the world over with regular appearances at such companies as the Atlanta, English National, Minnesota, Royal Danish, Santa Fe and Scottish Operas, Canadian Opera Company (whose production in May 2011 of Orfeo and Euridice earned Bicket a Dora Award for Outstanding Musical Direction), the Spoleto Festival, Liceu in Barcelona, Theatre an der Wien, and Bavarian State Opera in Munich. This season, in addition to the Met, Bicket will return to the Lyric Opera of Chicago to conduct Rinaldo.
On the concert platform Bicket has leant his baroque and classical sensibilities to some of the world's great orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestras, and the Tokyo Symphony. Earlier this season he stepped in at the last minute to conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, replacing an ailing Riccardo Muti.
Harry Bicket was appointed Artistic Director of The English Concert in 2007. He has led the orchestra on tours to the Middle East, Germany, Austria, Spain, France and the United States, most recently concluding an acclaimed coast-to-coat, nine-city tour with countertenor Andreas Scholl, including performances at Walt Disney Hall in Los Angeles, Jordan Hall in Boston and Carnegie's Zankel Hall in New York City. The English Concert's future North American plans include presenting a series of Handel operas throughout the 2012-15 seasons.