"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.
Recent and upcoming highlights include Così fan tutte (Scottish Opera at Lammermuir Festival); Falstaff (Scottish Opera and Edinburgh International Festival); the world premiere of Stuart MacRae’s Anthropocene, the European premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves, La bohème, and filmed productions of L’elisir d’amore and Hansel and Gretel (all for Scottish Opera); and Lucia di Lammermoor (English National Opera).
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Così fan tutte
Scottish Opera at Lammermuir Festival, September 2021
The church setting imbues the orchestra and chorus with a natural resonance, but music director Stuart Stratford rarely allows that to dampen the overall Mozartian elan.
Ken Walton, The Scotsman, 10 September 2021 ****
Scottish Opera, July 2021
...conductor Stuart Stratford never allowed the quicksilver energy of the music to falter, with the notoriously tricky fugal finale – the stumbling block of many a performance – a particular triumph.
Rowena Smith, The Guardian ****
...the opera was performed in the company’s workshop car park, with the orchestra beamed from inside and the conductor Stuart Stratford marshalling the singers under a tent via video screens. [...] Stratford’s achievement is remarkable given the score’s intricacy in the Garden scene, where Team Wives and Team Ford squabble in counter-rhythms, while the outsider Fenton spins a golden lyrical thread at the heart of the ensemble.
Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times
The ultimate winner is Verdi’s quicksilver score, more extraordinary for the fact that music director Stuart Stratford’s fully-engaged orchestra plays from an adjacent studio building, broadcast live into the auditorium space.
Ken Walton, The Scotsman *****
Scottish Opera’s orchestra is on splendid form under conductor Stuart Stratford
David Kettle, The Scotsman
Stratford drew a steady, measured performance from his players, with fine solo work and supporting his singers well.
David Smythe, Bachtrack ****
For an outdoor show it was remarkably sophisticated, with exact coordination of the close-knit, cross-rhythm ensembles (bouquets to the conductor Stuart Stratford)…
Andrew Clark, Opera Magazine
Scottish Opera, May 2021
…the music was the real elixir in this performance. Thanks to Stuart Stratford’s sure sense of style, the orchestra’s contribution was first-rate.
Andrew Clark, Opera Magazine
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
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