is the founder, conductor and artistic director of Classical Opera. He began his musical education as a chorister at Westminster Abbey, and studied English Literature at the University of York before completing his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London. At the start of his career he worked on the music staff at Scottish Opera, Opera Factory, Drottningholm and Glyndebourne, working with such conductors as Sir Alexander Gibson, Nicholas McGegan, Mark Wigglesworth, Ivor Bolton and Sir Charles Mackerras.
With Classical Opera he has conducted most of Mozart’s early operas, including the world premieres of the ‘original’ version of Mitridate, re di Ponto and a new completion of Zaide, as well as Le nozze di Figaro, Così fan tutte and La clemenza di Tito. He has also conducted the UK premieres of Gluck’s La clemenza di Tito and Telemann’s Orpheus, and the first new staging for 250 years of Johann Christian Bach’s Adriano in Siria. In 2009 he made his Royal Opera House debut conducting Arne’s Artaxerxes at the Linbury Studio Theatre, and his studio recording of the work was released in 2011 on Linn Records.
He also devised and conducted Classical Opera’s recordings of ‘The A-Z of Mozart Opera’ (Signum Classics) and ‘Blessed Spirit – a Gluck retrospective’ (Wigmore Hall Live), both of which were selected for Gramophone magazine’s annual Critic’s Choice, and he recently embarked on a new complete cycle of Mozart opera recordings with Classical Opera.
“From the outset, Ian Page nurtures a performance that crackles, beguiles, thrills and moves by turns exactly as Mozart’s opera requires.” Gramophone
The Orchestra of Classical Opera
plays on period-instruments, and comprises some of the leading players in their field.
The orchestra, which varies in size from 12 to 50 depending on repertoire and venue, has won consistently high praise from public and critics alike, and performs symphonies and concertos as well as operas. 18th-century instruments are very different from their modern counterparts. Access to new materials through global trade and advances in technology mean that today’s instruments are lighter and more robust, and might also be more naturally resonant. Most 18-century instruments are far more exposed and difficult to play than their modern equivalents, but they bring a thrilling vibrancy and immediacy to the music. This is particularly true of vocal repertoire, where the orchestra provide a dynamic subtext and often become an extra actor in the drama.
Like Mozart’s musicians, our players are able to improvise around a given melody or harmonic sequence, bringing their own interpretation to a work and ensuring that audiences never hear the same thing twice.
The short film below features one of our principal cellists Joseph Crouch, together with Artistic Director Ian Page, discussing their approach to the interpretation of recitative during the recording of Mozart’s Apollo et Hyacinthus.