Paul Agnew

Photo: Philippe Delval


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RAMEAU Suite from “Platée”

PURCELL Theatre Music

PURCELL Suite from “The Fairy Queen”

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Paul Agnew is in continuous demand as an outstanding interpreter of the baroque and pre-classical repertoire. His long association with the world’s leading conductors in the field of early music includes a discography of over one hundred recordings. Born in Glasgow, he was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford before embarking on an acclaimed vocal career that has taken him throughout the world.

His transition to a conducting career began following a highly successful debut with Les Arts Florissants in Paris in 2007, when William Christie appointed him Joint Musical Director of the orchestra; he has since gone on to lead the orchestra on tour to major venues such as the Wiener Konzerthaus, throughout France, to Salzburg and to China. He made his London debut as conductor with the same ensemble at the Barbican as part of their 30th anniversary celebrations. Paul Agnew succeeded Christophe Rousset as Music Director of the Orchestre Français des Jeunes Baroque in 2009 and he is actively engaged in the training and preparation of the next generation of specialist instrumentalists. Paul Agnew is also the co-director of the academy for young singers, Le Jardin des Voix. He has conducted performances of Messiah for Le Concert d’Astrée and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra as well as Handel’s La Resurrezione at the Atelier of the Opéra national de Paris. He made his opera conducting debut with Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor at the Opéra de Rennes and in 2014, replaced William Christie to conduct the new Robert Carsen production of Rameau’s Platée at the Theatre an der Wien in Vienna, at the Opera Comique in Paris, and at St. John’s Smith Square with Early Opera Company in London (“Performances like these must make the genre’s die hard enthusiasts feel as though they’ve died and gone to heaven.” — Fringe Opera).

As Joint Musical Director of Les Arts Florissants, he continues to present the complete cycle of Monteverdi Madrigals in concert. Spread over nearly 100 concerts, this monumental project continues into 2016. The first recording to have come from the project, entitled “Mantova” and released on the Les Arts Florissants label has received high critical acclaim. The Guardian has given 4 stars to the second recording “Cremona”, and Gramophone magazine has selected it for the “Editor’s choice” of its July issue. The CD has been also awarded the “Choc du mois” by the specialized music magazine Classica. Volume three of the project, “Venice” is forthcoming.

At the forefront of the revival of the French baroque repertoire, Paul Agnew made his critically-acclaimed debut singing the title-role in Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie at the Palais Garnier in Paris conducted by William Christie. He has since returned to Opéra National de Paris for new productions of Rameau’s Platée, Les Boréades and Les Indes galantes. He continued to perform the demanding haute-contre roles worldwide including at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and Opernhaus Zürich. In recent seasons he extended his repertoire to include Mozart’s Idomeneo under William Christie; Peter Quint in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw at Opéra National de Bordeaux under Jane Glover and at the Opéra de Rennes; Haydn’s L’anima del filosofo with Kammerorchesterbasel in Vienna and Eisenstadt, Handel’s Jephtha at Det Kongelige Theater, Copenhagen in a new production by Katie Mitchell (conducted by Lars Ulrik Mortensen) and Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites at Opéra de Nice. Agnew made his debut with The Royal Opera, Covent Garden in their production of Acis and Galatea to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Handel’s death.

Agnew’s comprehensive discography includes “Lamentazione” – on which he conducts Les Arts Florissants choir in works by Scarlatti and Caldara for Virgin, “The Food of Love – songs by Purcell” for Ambroisie, Sally Beamish’s In Dreaming for Virgin Classics, Rameau’s Dardanus for ABC, and Dowland songs for Metronome. On DVD, his performances include Les Boréades and Les Indes galantes on Opus Arte, Lully’s Armide, the Bach B Minor Mass and St. Matthew Passion, and his celebrated performance as Platée on TDK.

Recent and forthcoming engagements include a scenic production of Rameau’s Indes Galantes at the Staatstheater Nürnbergthose, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Finnish Radio Chamber Orchestra in Helsinki, The Juilliard School, Music of the Baroque in Chicago, St Paul Chamber Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony, and the Seattle Symphony.