"Stuart Stratford is the ideal conductor for this concept. His intense engagement and energy fertilise the rich colours of the score, belying the cliché that Donizetti’s orchestration is thin and jejune. Stratford’s approach pushes the cast quite hard, and like thoroughbred horses, they rise to the challenge. "
"Scottish Opera’s music director Stuart Stratford nevertheless maintains impeccable musical standards in the pit. "
Praised for his “intense engagement and energy” (The Telegraph) and his “razor sharp” musical direction (Times Literary Supplement), conductor Stuart Stratford was appointed Music Director of Scottish Opera in 2015. Engagements in the 2019-20 season include Tosca, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the European premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre and a concert performance of Mascagni’s Iris (all for Scottish Opera).
Engagements in the 2018-19 season included Lucia di Lammermoor (English National Opera); Anthropocene and Katya Kabanova (all for Scottish Opera). He also conducted concert performances of Mascagni’s Silvano for Scottish Opera.
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Scottish Opera, September 2020
The conductor Stuart Stratford, unflappable, held it all together with a precision the more remarkable for the wide open spaces between his band and the cast.
Christopher Lambton, The Arts Desk, 7 September 2020
The reduced orchestra plays Dove’s arrangement gorgeously and Stuart Stratford directs them with focused vigour.
Simon Thompson, The Times, 7 September 2020
From inside the warehouse, conductor Stuart Stratford and the orchestra of Scottish Opera keep the action moving.
Rowena Smith, The Guardian, 7 September 2020
Bravo to Stuart Stratford and his orchestra.
Opera Magazine, November 2020
Breaking the Waves
Adelaide Festival, March 2020
Illuminating this dark narrative, Mazzoli’s score is richly varied with gliding horns, prominent percussion, electric guitar and sonorous basses and strings. It’s a chamber orchestra – soloists from the Scottish Opera under the baton of Stuart Stratford – and full of colour and emotion.
Diana Simmonds, Limelight, 14 March 2020
Down in the pit, Scottish Opera music director Stuart Stratford led the large chamber ensemble of the Scottish Opera orchestra with flair.
Diana Carroll, InDaily, 16 March 2020
Scottish Opera, October 2019
Underpinning it all was the Orchestra of Scottish Opera and conductor Stuart Stratford who gave a lithe, responsive reading of Puccini’s score.
Rowena Smith, The Guardian, 17 October 2019
There are strongly nuanced performances from the supporting roles. With conductor Stuart Stratford’s sumptuously cinematic interpretation of Puccini’s score, they ensure that the story is being advanced for every second of this still-glorious production.
Thom Dibdin, The Stage, 17 October 2019
Stratford breathed instinctive passion into the score... engulfed by those impulsive Puccinian sweeps that tug mercilessly at the heartstrings
Ken Walton, The Scotsman, 18 October 2019
Breaking the Waves
Scottish Opera at Edinburgh International Festival, August 2019
The chamber orchestra – excellent Scottish Opera players under Stuart Stratford, managing to glow at close King’s Theatre quarters...
David Nice, The Arts Desk, 22 August 2019
Scottish Opera’s orchestra, reduced to chamber size, tackled Mazzoli’s luminous score brilliantly with detailed commitment, conductor Stuart Stratford very supportive of his singers.
David Smythe, Bachtrack, 22 August 2019
… evocative music, superbly played by a 27-piece ensemble conducted by Stuart Stratford
Keith Bruce, Herald Scotland, 22 August 2019
Scottish Opera’s music director Stuart Stratford nevertheless maintains impeccable musical standards in the pit.
George Hall, The Stage, 22 August 2019
Scottish Opera, April 2019
Its sole source of interest is the music, made up of subtly coloured orchestral and choral melodies and quietly impassioned ariosos for four principles. All this was extremely well profiled here, thanks to [Stuart] Stratford’s idiomatic command of phrasing and tempo, and his refusal to vulgarize the climaxes. The Orchestra of Scottish Opera and an ad hoc chorus distinguished themselves.
Andrew Clark, Opera magazine, June 2019
Scottish Opera, March 2019
Scottish Opera’s fine production of Katya Kabanova – directed by Stephen Lawless, vividly conducted by Stuart Stratford, and performed in the original Czech – is one of tremendous power… The choral and orchestral work is impeccable throughout, while Stratford’s command of the subtle coloristic range of Janacek’s score repeatedly enriches the overall emotional experience.
George Hall, The Stage, 13 March 2019
Scottish Opera, January 2019
Stuart Stratford’s musical direction is razor sharp, brilliantly abreast of the score’s pacing and colour, and the Scottish Opera orchestra responds with blazing electricity.
Guy Dammann, Times Literary Supplement, January 2019
Lucia di Lammermoor
English National Opera, October 2018
Stuart Stratford is the ideal conductor for this concept. His intense engagement and energy fertilise the rich colours of the score, belying the cliché that Donizetti’s orchestration is thin and jejune. Stratford’s approach pushes the cast quite hard, and like thoroughbred horses, they rise to the challenge.
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, October 2018
Stuart Stratford conducted a whirlwind account of the score and the ENO Orchestra responded to him with their customary verve. Has Donizetti’s glass harmonica ever sounded weirder than it did here, as played by Philip Alexander Marguerre during Lucia’s mad scene? It represented the splinters of a fragmenting mind more alarmingly than I can ever recall.
Mark Valencia, Bachtrack, October 2018
Conductor Stuart Stratford led a superb performance by the ENO Orchestra: stark swipes of instrumental colour never over-powered the singers, the pace was dramatic but not precipitous, the tension sustained.
Claire Seymour, Opera Today, October 2018
Stuart Stratford conducts with great passion and care, slowly ratcheting up the tension as the evening progresses
Tim Ashley, The Guardian, October 2018
Aleko and Francesca da Rimini
Scottish Opera, May 2018
Stuart Stratford’s belief in these two operatic also-rans, and his ability to enthuse and inspire chorus, orchestra and guest soloists, turned this one-off concert into a thrilling climax to the company’s Russian series. Stratford kept both on a taut rein, never allowing the orchestration to sound blowsy or overwhelm his singers, always letting the musical drama speak for itself.
Andrew Clark, Opera Magazine