Santa Fe Opera Taps Early-Music Specialist Harry Bicket

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Harry Bicket, the British early music specialist, is to be the next chief conductor of Santa Fe Opera, starting in October. He succeeds conductor Frederic Chaslin, who resigned last August after just two seasons on the job, saying he wanted to focus on composing and his duties as music director of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra.

Bicket's appointment, announced on Wednesday morning, is to some extent an indication of the inroads Baroque music has made in the traditional operatic establishment. He is currently manning the pit in Handel’s Giulio Cesare at the Metropolitan Opera. His opera resume also includes Handel performances at the Royal Opera House, the Glyndebourne Festival and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

The 52-year-old Bicket, who was born in Liverpool and educated at Oxford and the Royal College of Music, studied harpsichord, organ and piano in addition to conducting. He has been music director of the English Concert since 2007.

In 2014, Bicket will conduct Santa Fe Opera’s first performances of Beethoven’s Fidelio, in a production by Stephen Wadsworth. He’ll be delegating the other works – by Donizetti Stravinsky, Bizet and Huang Ruo (the American premiere of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen) – to other conductors.

Bicket's contract is for three years. He holds both U.S. and British citizenship.