Stephen Higgins (conductor)

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Stephen Higgins studied at Oxford University, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the National Opera Studio in London and is a conductor, musical director, arranger and producer who has worked extensively in major opera houses, theatres and festivals both in the UK and abroad. He spent his early professional career on the music staff of ROH, Glyndebourne and ENO and has worked on a wide variety of repertoire, ranging from Monteverdi, Mozart, Puccini, John Adams and Stephen Sondheim.

He has diverse and extensive experience of working in many different musical styles.

As conductor Higgins has worked at the Paris Opera, Gothenburg Opera, Bergen Opera as well as at ENO, Holland Park and Garsington back home in the UK. An interest in contemporary music has resulted in his conducting many world premieres: The Way Back Home, a children's opera at the Young Vic directed by Katie Mitchell, which was revived at the Opera de Paris; Dr Dee by Damon Albarn, directed by Rufus Norris, which he conducted both for the Manchester Festival and at ENO, and recorded for EMI; and The Duchess of Malfi by German composer Torsten Rasch, which was a collaboration with ENO and the theatre company, Punchdrunk. He also commissioned and performed three world premiere music theatre pieces by composer Jonathan Dove.

Equally at home in standard operatic repertoire, Higgins has conducted The Magic Flute for ENO, Owen Wingrave for the Bastille, Thais for Chelsea Opera Group, L'Elisir d'amore for Opera Holland Park and Don Giovanni for the Porto festival. He also produced, arranged and conducted a radical reimagining of Don Pasquale for WNO with a cast including Bryn Terfel and Andrew Shore.

He, furthermore, has an interest in music theatre, working with Sondheim on revivals of A little Night Music and Sunday in the Park with George at the Châtelet theatre in Paris, Gershwin’s Crazy for You in Gothenburg, Sweeney Todd in Bergen with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Phantom of the Opera in London's West End. Higgins regularly performs in cabaret with artists such as Janie Dee, A J Casey, Clive Rowe and Henry Goodman

Higgins is considerably in demand as a vocal coach and as guest chorus master for choirs, vocal groups and opera companies up and down the country, and he appeared on the recent Maestro at the Opera on BBC2 as mentor to Josie Lawrence.

He has a long history of working with recording artists, ranging from making discs with classical singers Sir Thomas Allen and Gerald Finley, to crossover projects including creating the "opera band" Amici Forever, recording with Collabro and many others.

He has worked as musical supervisor for several theatre projects including Rufus Norris’ Everyman at the National Theatre Olivier stage and Molière plays in French at the Theatre de Criee in Marseille with director Macha Makeieff. Higgins is musical director for the young experimental opera company Silent Opera where he has created electronic scores presented alongside live performances of many classic operas, including Don Giovanni and Janacek’s Vixen, as well as a new staging of the entirety of Disney’s Fantasia which have travelled around the world. Silent Opera are pioneers in the use of new technology in performances, using specially created apps and enhanced sound design such as binaural headphones for audiences. The company under Higgins’ musical leadership has created a new genre of hybrid music theatre which has been ecstatically received by public and critics alike.[citation needed]

The year 2020 and all its implications saw Higgins write and musically direct several film and online projects including a successful update of the Carmen story into a Scandi-noir thriller which premiered on Norwegian network NRK and has been bought and distributed by Unitel.

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