LynessJonathan Lyness – Music Director

Jonathan was born in London and read music at Bristol University where he won both university undergraduate and British Academy postgraduate arts scholarships. He studied conducting with George Hurst since when has worked extensively in opera, co-founding his own company Opera Project with the director Richard Studer in 1993. With OP he has conducted widely on tour throughout the UK at a number of festivals and theatres including the Tobacco Factory Theatre, Bristol (annually from 2003 – 2019). His repertoire with OP has ranged from the baroque, through many standard works of the c18th and c19th to such twentieth century works as Walton’s The Bear, Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, Ravel’s L’heure espagnole, Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale and Britten’s chamber operas The Turn of the ScrewThe Beggar’s Opera and Albert Herring.

He conducted regularly for Longborough Festival Opera from 2002 – 2016 including a critically acclaimed Janacek cycle: Jenufa, Katya Kabanová and The Cunning Little Vixen. Also for LFO: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, ToscaThe Barber of SevilleLa bohème, Falstaff, RigolettoMadama ButterflyEugene OneginThe Marriage of FigaroDon Giovanni and Albert Herring. He has conducted regularly at West Green House Opera since 2000 where recent productions include Madama Butterfly, La Rondine, Ariadne auf NaxosThe Marriage of Figaro, Die Fledermaus, Un ballo in maschera, Bernstein’s Candide and Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music and Sweeney Todd. In 2016 he was appointed Music Director of Mid Wales Opera for whom he has conducted The Magic FluteEugene Onegin, The Marriage of FigaroSemele (in collaboration with the Academy of Ancient Music), Dido and Aeneas, La BohèmeTosca, Hansel and Gretel and Macbeth.

As conductor and pianist Jonathan has performed at many of the UK’s foremost music festivals including Deal, Salisbury, Culross, Canterbury, Presteigne, Newbury, Chelmsford and Hay Winter Festival. In 2019 he became Music Director of the Ludlow Orchestra. Jonathan’s many reduced orchestrations of operas are performed extensively worldwide. In 2017 Jonathan created a new chamber arrangement of William Walton’s The Bear for five instrumentalists which was performed by Mid Wales Opera (MWO) on tour; it was subsequently produced and filmed by Opera Holland Park and is now published by Oxford University Press. Subsequent chamber arrangements for MWO have include Ravel’s L’heure espagnole; his new stage work Mrs Peachum’s Guide to Love and Marriage (derived from John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera in collaboration with MWO’s Artistic Director Richard Studer); Puccini’s Il tabarro; Montsalvatge’s El Gato con botas / Puss in Boots now published by Peermusic Classical, New York; and Berlioz’s Beatrice and Benedict.

Vividly portrayed under Richard Studer’s direction”

The Guardian, 17 October 2012
(Eugene Onegin, The Tobacco Factory Theatre)

StuderRichard Studer – Artistic Director

Whilst studying Veterinary at Bristol University Richard became heavily involved in directing through the University Opera Society where he met and formed a longstanding artistic partnership with the conductor Jonathan Lyness. He is co-founder and Artistic Director of Opera Project, directing and designing their touring productions. Since making his professional debut with Don Giovanni at The Bristol Old Vic in 1994 he has directed the majority of the core repertoire in over 90 productions for theatres and festivals across the UK both with Opera Project and as a freelance director. The last decade has seen his reputation grow for his incisive interpretations of the twentieth century repertoire, notably Britten & Janáček.

Recent productions include: for Longborough Festival OperaJenufa, Tosca, The Barber of Seville, Albert Herring, Madama Butterfly, The Cunning Little Vixen, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Falstaff, Katya Kabanova and La Boheme; for West Green House Opera: Ravel’s L’heure espagnol, The Tales of Hoffman, Un ballo in maschera, The Merry Widow, Ariadne auf Naxos, The Marriage of Figaro, A Little Night Music, Candide, Madama Butterfly, Die Fledermaus and Gianni Schicchi; for The Tobacco Factory Theatres, Falstaff, Eugene Onegin, The Magic Flute, Madama Butterfly and Don Giovanni. Translation credits include La Bohème, The Barber of Seville, La Cenerentola, Il Seraglio and Don Pasquale. In addition, Richard is an experienced workshop leader producing education projects for schools and arts organizations including LFO. He was recently appointed Artistic Director of Mid Wales Opera, for whom he has directed The Magic Flute, Eugene Onegin, The Bear, L’heure espagnole, Dido and Aeneas, Tosca, The Marriage of Figaro, La Boheme, Il tabarro, Hansel and Gretel, El Gato con botas, Beatrice and Benedict, Verdi’s Macbeth and his stage work Mrs Peachum’s Guide to Love and Marriage which he created in collaboration with Jonathan Lyness.