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London Early Opera

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London Early Opera
Orchestra & Research Group
LEO Premiere of Handel's Caio Fabbricio [de]
LocationLondon & South East England
Music directorBridget Cunningham
Logo of London Early Opera

London Early Opera (LEO) is a British period-instrument orchestra consisting of specialist baroque instrumentalists, singers, researchers, historians and musicologists.[1] LEO was founded in 2008 by artistic director Bridget Cunningham as a research-led group. The orchestra is based in London and the south-east of England and became a UK Charity in 2011 (charity no 1143989).[2]

Research and education[edit]

London Early Opera undertakes musicological research into baroque music and historical performance practice, working with historians, scholars and editors including Bridget Cunningham[3] David E. Coke,[4] Lars Tharp and Michael Talbot.[5][1] The orchestra performs and records well-known baroque music as well as newly discovered historical works to preserve musical heritage.[6] The group also creates new scholarly editions of previously lost musical works, specialising in the music of George Frideric Handel, Johann Adolf Hasse and their contemporaries. In 2021 the group edited and recorded their reconstruction of Handel’s Caio Fabbricio HWV A9[7][8][9] and have also edited a selection of Handel’s music originally performed in Vauxhall, London, Germany, Italy.[10][11][12]

LEO also operates an educational scheme and chamber ensemble, The Handelians, which focuses on the development and education of singers and musicians, and nurtures them in the baroque style.[1]


LEO artistic director Bridget Cunningham

LEO has performed at venues including Coram’s Fields; the Foundling Museum;[13] St James’s Church, Piccadilly; St George’s Church, Hanover Square; the Handel Hendrix Museum; St. Peter’s Church, Vauxhall; Grosvenor Chapel; and a 400th Anniversary Concert of the Monteverdi Vespers at Southwark Cathedral.[14] The orchestra has performed at the London Handel Festival[15] and also tours outside of the UK.[16]

In 2017 LEO performed Handel’s Water Music and a new world-premiere performance of River written by a previous winner of BBC Young Composer of the Year, Grace-Evangeline Mason. This was commissioned by the BBC and performed live by London Early Opera for BBC Radio 4 on the Eras`mus Boat on the River Thames celebrating the 300th Anniversary of Handel's Water Music.[17][18] In 2022 LEO launched their recording of Handel’s Caio Fabbricio [de] with a world premiere first performance in modern times at St George’s Church, Hanover Square, edited and directed by Bridget Cunningham.[7] LEO have also given several performances on BBC Radio 3.[19][20]


In 2015, LEO began a series of recording projects with Signum Records, capturing world premiere recordings exploring Handel’s life, influences and experiences.[21][22] The series includes the albums Caio Fabbricio,[23] Handel in Italy,[24] Handel in Ireland, Handel at Vauxhall[25] and Handel’s Eight Great Harpsichord Suites.[26] Handel’s Queens[27][28] was shortlisted for a 2020 Gramophone Award nomination.[29][30]

Full discography
Title Album details
Caio Fabbricio HWV A9 by G.F. Handel
Handel’s Eight Great Harpsichord Suites
  • Released: 2021
  • Label: Signum Records
Handel’s Queens
  • Released: 2019
  • Label: Signum Records
Handel at Vauxhall: Volume 2
  • Released: 2017
  • Label: Signum Records
Handel in Ireland: Volume 1
  • Released: 2017
  • Label: Signum Records
Handel in Italy: Volume 2
  • Released: 2016
  • Label: Signum Records
Handel at Vauxhall: Volume 1
  • Released: 2016
  • Label: Signum Records
Handel in Italy: Volume 1
  • Released: 2015
  • Label: Signum Records
Thirty-odd feet below Belgium
  • Released: 2011
  • Label: Gloria Magnificat Recording Company


  1. ^ a b c "London Early Opera – About". London Early Opera. Retrieved 2023-06-19.
  2. ^ "The London Early Opera Company Ltd – Charity 1143989". register-of-charities.charitycommission.gov.uk. Retrieved 2022-10-24.
  3. ^ Deller, Toby. "Meet the Maestro: Bridget Cunningham". Rhinegold. Retrieved 2022-10-24.
  4. ^ "Front Row – David Coke and conductor and harpsichordist Bridget Cunningham discuss a new recording of Handel's music by London Early Opera". BBC Radio 4.
  5. ^ Seymour, Claire (2022-05-03). "A premiere recording of Handel's pasticcio, Caio Fabbricio, by London Early Opera". Opera Today. Retrieved 2022-10-24.
  6. ^ "IDAGIO Meets ... Bridget Cunningham". www.idagio.com. Retrieved 2022-10-24.
  7. ^ a b "A premiere recording of Handel's pasticcio, Caio Fabbricio, by London Early Opera". Opera Today. 2022-05-03. Retrieved 2022-10-24.
  8. ^ Hugill, Robert. "Sit back and enjoy: London Early Opera's engagingly virtuosic performance of Handel's pasticcio, Caio Fabbricio". Retrieved 2022-10-24.
  9. ^ Rogers, Curtis (2022-05-24). "Handel / Hasse – Caio Fabbricio – London Early Opera & Bridget Cunningham". The Classical Source. Retrieved 2022-10-24.
  10. ^ "Concert on 07 July 2019 – The Foundling Museum, London – Mr Handel's Vauxhall Pleasures | London Early Opera (baroque orchestra)". www.concert-diary.com. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  11. ^ Hugill, Robert. "London Early Opera's 'Handel in Italy' volume 2". Retrieved 2022-10-24.
  12. ^ "Handel at Vauxhall". Presto Music. Retrieved 2022-10-24.
  13. ^ "Classical Events: Mr Handel's Vauxhall Pleasures". Classical Events. 7 July 2019. Retrieved 2022-10-24.
  14. ^ "Monteverdi Vespers of 1610 at Southwark Cathedral". Bankside Press. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  15. ^ "London Handel Festival 2019 Brochure" (PDF).
  16. ^ "Opéra baroque à l'église". Sud Ouest (in French). 4 September 2018. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  17. ^ "Front Row, Handel Water Music at 300 celebration; Grace Evangeline Mason". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  18. ^ Mason, Grace-Evangeline. "Work: River". Retrieved 2022-10-24.
  19. ^ "In Tune, Cassie Kinoshi, Bridget Cunningham, Sirius Chau & Victor Lim". BBC Radio 3. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  20. ^ "In Tune, Australian Chamber Choir, Karina Canellakis". BBC Radio 3. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  21. ^ "London Early Opera Archives". Signum Records. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  22. ^ "London Early Opera on Hyperion Records". Hyperion Records. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  23. ^ "A premiere recording of Handel's pasticcio, Caio Fabbricio, by London Early Opera". Opera Today. 2022-05-03. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  24. ^ Benson-Wilson, Andrew (2016-08-02). "Review: Handel in Italy: Vols 1&2". Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  25. ^ Smith, David. "Handel at Vauxhall". Presto Music. Retrieved 2022-10-24.
  26. ^ Hugill, Robert. "Celebrating the 300th anniversary of their publication in 1720, Bridget Cunningham records Handel's Eight Great Harpsichord Suites". Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  27. ^ "Handel's Queens – Cuzzoni & Bordoni [Signum] – The Classical Source". 2020-02-10. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  28. ^ "BBC Music Magazine – October 2019 Choices". Presto Music. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  29. ^ "The Gramophone Classical Music Awards 2020 Shortlist is revealed". Gramophone. Retrieved 2022-10-25.
  30. ^ "Handel's Queens". Gramophone. Retrieved 2022-10-26.

External links[edit]