Stuart Stratford read music at Trinity College, University of Cambridge, studying conducting with David Parry. He also spent three years studying with the legendary conducting teacher, Ilya Aleksandrovich Musin, at the Saint Petersburg State Conservatoire, Symphonic and Operatic Conducting Faculty. He was the Junior Fellow in Conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, in 1999 and 2000. He was appointed Music Director of Scottish Opera in 2015.
In the UK Stratford has conducted for English National Opera, Opera North, Welsh National Opera, Birmingham Opera Company and Buxton Festival, as well as Scottish Opera, with repertoire including Giovanna d’Arco, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Khovanshchina, Orfeo ed Euridice, Don Giovanni, Satyagraha, Pagliacci, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Faust, The Turn of the Screw, Falstaff, La bohème, Candide, Jonathan Dove’s Swanhunter, L’altra Euridice and Tobias and the Angel. He gave the world staged premiere of Sibelius’ The Maiden in the Tower and the UK staged premiere of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Kashchei the Immortal.
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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