Ever since its founding in the 1960s, the Monteverdi Choir has been a leading force in the world of choral music. Through a combination of consummate technique, historically informed performance practice and a strong appreciation for visual impact, the Choir constantly strives to bring fresh perspectives, immediacy and drama to its performances across the world.
Amongst its many trailblazing tours was the Bach Cantata Pilgrimage in 2000, during which the Choir performed all 198 of Johann Sebastian Bach’s sacred cantatas in over 60 churches throughout Europe and North America. The entire project was recorded and released by the Monteverdi Choir & Orchestra’s record label, Soli Deo Gloria, with Gramophone hailing the venture as “one of the most ambitious musical projects of all time”. The Monteverdi Choir has over 150 recordings to its name and has won numerous prizes.
The Choir has taken part in a variety of projects across different repertoires, ranging from a tour of Bach’s “St Matthew Passion” (performed from memory) with the English Baroque Soloists (EBS) to Berlioz’s “La damnation de Faust” and Verdi’s Requiem with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique (ORR). It has also performed in several staged opera productions, including “Orphée et Eurydice” at the Royal Opera House (2015), “Der Freischütz” (2010), “Carmen” (2009) at the Opéra Comique in Paris, and “Les Troyens” at the Théâtre du Châtelet (2003). In 2017 the Choir took part in the Royal Philharmonic Society Award-winning Monteverdi 450 project, which saw them perform all three of Monteverdi’s surviving operas with Gardiner and the EBS across Europe and the United States.
In 2019, the Choir showcased a new production of Handel’s “Semele” alongside Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists, touring to celebrated halls across Europe, including Milan’s Teatro alla Scala. The highlights continued into the summer as the Choir joined Gardiner, the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and an international cast of soloists for critically acclaimed performances of Berlioz’s “Benvenuto Cellini”. The Choir rounded off the year with a series of debut performances in Russia and South America, performing sacred choral works by Monteverdi, Carissimi, Purcell and Scarlatti.
In 2020, the Monteverdi Choir accompanied the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique in performances of Beethoven’s 9th symphony in Barcelona, New York and Chicago, forming part of a wider project celebrating the 250th anniversary of the composer. The choir was set to continue this tour and perform Beethoven’s “Missa solemnis” across Europe, before the COVID-19 pandemic brought this project to a halt. The ensemble also gave its inaugural concerts at the Settimana di Musica Sacra di Monreale festival in Sicily, performing choral Baroque masterpieces alongside the English Baroque Soloists.
So far in 2021, the choir has performed its first live streamed concert: Bach’s “St John Passion” with the English Baroque Soloists, filmed in Oxford’s historic Sheldonian Theatre and streamed on Deutsche Grammophon’s online platform DG Stage.