Founded by Sir John Eliot Gardiner in the 1960s, the widely acclaimed Monteverdi Choir has always focused on bringing a new perspective to its repertoire, with a combination of consummate choral technique and historically-informed performance practice. The Choir goes beyond the music, seeking to make the visual impact of its performance enhance the experience, often exploiting the venues themselves in the search for immediacy and drama.
Amongst a number of trailblazing tours was the “Bach Cantata Pilgrimage” in 2000, during which the Choir performed all 198 of Johann Sebastian Bach’s sacred cantatas in more than 60 churches throughout Europe and America. The entire project recorded by the company’s record label Soli Deo Gloria was hailed as ‘one of the most ambitious musical projects of all time’ by Gramophone magazine. The Monteverdi Choir has over 150 recordings to its name and has won numerous prizes.
The Choir has participated in several staged opera productions, including “Der Freischütz” (2010), “Carmen” (2009) at the Opéra Comique in Paris, and “Les Troyens” at the Théâtre du Châtelet. In 2015, the Choir performed Gluck’s “Orphée et Eurydice” at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, working in collaboration with the Hofesh Shechter dance company.
In addition, the Choir has taken part in a variety of projects across different repertoires – from an extensive tour of Bach “Matthäus-Passion” (performed from memory) with the English Baroque Soloists (EBS) to Berlioz “Roméo et Juliette” at the BBC Proms and Festival Berlioz with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique (ORR) in 2016. Under the direction of Sir John Eliot Gardiner, they have also collaborated with both the London Symphony Orchestra on Mendelssohn’s “Ein Sommernachtsraum” and the Tonhalle Orchestra on Janáček’s “Glagolitic Mass”.
In 2019, the Choir, alongside Gardiner and the EBS, showcased a new production of Handel’s “Semele”, which toured to some of Europe’s most celebrated concert halls including the Philharmonie de Paris, Barcelona’s Palau de la Música and Milan’s Teatro alla Scala. The highlights continued into the summer as the Choir joined Gardiner, the ORR and an international cast of soloists for critically acclaimed performances of Berlioz’ “Benvenuto Cellini” at the Festival Berlioz, Musikfest Berlin 2019, BBC Proms and Chateau de Versailles. The Choir rounds off the year with a series of debut performances in Russia and South America with the EBS, performing a programme of sacred music featuring works by Monteverdi, Carissimi, Purcell and Scarlatti.
Recent achievements include the award-winning “Monteverdi 450 Trilogy” tour, in which the Choir performed all three of Monteverdi’s surviving operas across Europe and in the United States. In a reprise of its now iconic “Bach Cantata Pilgrimage”, 2018 saw the Choir perform several mixed programmes of the composer’s sacred cantatas with the EBS across Europe, before giving a number of critically-acclaimed performances of Verdi’s “Requiem” alongside the ORR – including a landmark concert at Westminster Cathedral in aid of Cancer Research UK.
As of November 2019