Maestro Monday - Stephen Barlow

Stephen Barlow – conductor Medea

Stephen Barlow, currently Artistic Director of the Buxton International Festival, returns to Wexford this year to conduct Medea by Luigi Cherubini – sung in Italian instead of the more usual French version.  Stephen first came to Wexford in 2015 to conduct Koanga by Frederick Delius whose music he has long championed. His formal musical instruction began when he was awarded an Organ Scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was Musical Director of the University Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Choir.  He went on to study conducting at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, under Vilem Tausky.

Stephen co-founded Opera 80 where he served as Music Director between 1988 and 1991. During this time, he was also resident conductor at English National Opera, conducted with Scottish Opera, Dublin Grand Opera, Opera Northern Ireland, Opera North and made his Royal Opera debut at Covent Garden conducting Turandot, where he later returned for Die Zauberflöte. He was Artistic Director of Opera Northern Ireland from 1996 to 1999.  

His many conducting credits include The Cunning Little Vixen at ENO, La bohème at Grange Park, Idomeneo, The Barber of Seville, Fidelio and Madama Butterfly in Belfast, Albert Herring, Falstaff, The Marriage of Figaro and Die Entführung aus dem Serail at Garsington and Madama Butterfly with Opera North. As Artistic Director of the Buxton International Festival, he also won critical acclaim for his productions of Macbeth‚ Leonore‚ Lucia di Lammermoor‚ Louise‚ The Jacobin‚ La princesse jaune‚ La colombe‚ Intermezzo and The Barber of Baghdad. In addition to his operatic work he has conducted concerts worldwide and as a pianist has recorded the complete songs of Butterworth, Delius and Quilter.  

With a rich recording repertoire also to his name Stephen is a tremendous addition to the Wexford talent.  The upcoming production of Medea, directed by Fiona Shaw with the Norwegian soprano Lise Davidson will hopefully be yet another career highlight.

“…There is exquisite playing from the orchestra under the conductor Stephen Barlow.”  The Times, Anna Picard, 23 October 2015 Koanga – Frederick Delius