London Handel Festival Announces Principal Ensemble in Residence & Artistic Adviser


by Opera Charm Team
May 5, 2024


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The London Handel Festival appoints its first-ever Principal Ensemble in Residence and Artistic Adviser.  

Beginning in 2025, internationally-acclaimed ensemble Arcangelo will take up residence at the London Handel Festival and Jonathan Cohen will join as Artistic Adviser, working alongside Festival Director, Gregory Batsleer. 

As Principal Ensemble in Residence, Arcangelo will be integral to the Festival’s artistic identity, performing a number of concerts throughout each Festival. Their involvement will include a flagship performance of a major work, a chamber recital with prominent international soloists, as well as a commitment to showcasing emerging talents through an annual recital with members of its ‘Arcangelo New Ensemblists’ programme.

Jonathan Cohen, founder and Artistic Director of Arcangelo, will work with Festival Director Gregory Batsleer to further elevate the Festival’s artistic vision and strengthen its position as a leading international centre for the greatest performances of Handel’s music.  

Gregory Batsleer, Festival Director, London Handel Festival, said: 

“This is an exciting time for the London Handel Festival. The 2024 season has been our best yet. I am particularly excited we’re now able to announce this major new collaboration for the Festival.  Working with artists with the reputation of Jonathan and Arcangelo ensures that the London Handel Festival places world-class music-making right at the heart of its programming. I’ve no doubt that together we will continue to enhance the Festival’s reputation as the globally recognised destination for the finest performances of Handel’s music.”  

Jonathan Cohen, Artistic Director, Arcangelo, said: 

 “I am delighted to open this new chapter for Arcangelo at the London Handel Festival, and at the opportunities it brings to champion more of Handel’s endlessly glorious music with great musicians and artists. I am looking forward to working with Greg and the LHF team, and to everything that we can achieve together to carry forward all of Laurence’s superb and dedicated work with the LHO and so many musicians over the years.” 

Following on from the much-acclaimed 2024 Festival, this new artistic collaboration highlights the Festival’s ongoing commitment to promoting unique and world-class performances of Handel’s music from the heart of Handel’s London, and positions the Festival as the premier destination for the finest Handel performances.  These new appointments follow on from Laurence Cummings’ recent departure after a remarkable 25-year tenure as the Festival’s Musical Director. 

Arcangelo’s position as Principal Ensemble in Residence will head a growing international portfolio of guest artists and ensembles performing at the London Handel Festival including the London Handel Orchestra who remain a key part of the Festival. This new artistic initiative aligns with broader Festival developments, including the expansion of its Opera Studio and the recent launch of a year-round Creative Learning programme. 

Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Chair, Arcangelo, said: 

“This is a great moment: Handel’s powerful music is ever more central to our cultural lives, and it is ideal that two organisations with such a commitment to musical excellence are now coming together. Arcangelo looks forward to working with the London Handel Festival as we take Handel’s music to increasingly wide audiences.”  

Richard Hopkin, Chair, London Handel Festival, said: 

“Following on from our much-acclaimed 2024 Festival, this major new collaboration is great news for the Festival and for the music of Handel. Hosting yet more first-class talent at the Festival confirms our growing ambitions and I am looking forward to new and invigorating interpretations of Handel’s works in the coming years.” 

Arcangelo is an award-winning, internationally-acclaimed period performance ensemble led by its founder and artistic director Jonathan Cohen. Its ethos is ruled by a determination to apply the deep listening skills and artistry of chamber music making to every piece in its repertoire. The ensemble’s collective energy and spirit continue to generate a flood of critical awards and five-star reviews, spark audience ovations, and prompt invitations to the foremost international venues and festivals.

Arcangelo was the first named Baroque Ensemble in Residence at Wigmore Hall in London, where it maintains a close ongoing artistic relationship. Its three appearances at the BBC Proms include the Proms premiere of Handel’s ‘Theodora’ and a televised performance of Bach’s ‘St Matthew Passion’. In the past three years, Arcangelo has appeared at Barbican Centre, Santander International Festival, De Singel Antwerp, Liszt Academy Budapest, De Bijloke Ghent, Festival Musika-Musica Bilbao, Zentrum Paul Klee Bern and at leading venues across South America, appearing with soloists including Avi Avital, Iestyn Davies, Barnabas Kelemen, Katharina Konradi, Theotime Langlois de Swarte, and on UK tour with Milos. Arcangelo has previously appeared at Carnegie Hall, Snape Maltings, MA Festival Brugge, Dresden Arts Festival, Tonhalle Zurich, and Philharmonie Koeln.

Arcangelo’s critically-lauded discography now comprises a total of 30 releases, including the first new studio recording by a British ensemble in almost 25 years of Handel’s ‘Theodora’, immediately awarded a Gramophone Editor’s Choice, BBC Radio 3/Record Review Record of the Week, and Limelight Record of the Month. Further highlights include Buxtehude’s Trio Sonatas Op.1 on Alpha, nominated for a 2018 GRAMMY Award; two Gramophone Award-winning albums with Iestyn Davies on Hyperion; a BBC Music Magazine Award-winning survey of cello concerti by C.P.E. Bach with soloist Nicolas Altstaedt; a 2021 studio recording of Handel’s ‘Brockes Passion’ on Alpha, named Album of the Week by BBC Radio 3 and The Sunday Times; and a multiply-nominated concept recording with mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey, ‘Tiranno’, hailed by Gramophone as “a model of what a recital album can be”.

In 2020, Arcangelo launched its New Ensemblists programme to develop the next generation of ensemble musicians specialised in period performance. The scheme provides a two-year programme of bespoke training and opportunities to outstandingly promising young musicians.

Jonathan Cohen has forged a remarkable career as a conductor, cellist and keyboardist. Well known for his passion and commitment to chamber music Jonathan is equally at home in such diverse activities as baroque opera and the classical symphonic repertoire. He is the new Artistic Director of the Handel and Haydn Society, in addition to continuing as Artistic Director of Arcangelo, Music Director of Les Violons du Roy and Artistic Director of Tetbury Festival.

Throughout the 23-24 season, Jonathan continues to have a strong presence on both sides of the Atlantic. In Europe he guest conducts Budapest Festival Orchestra, Kammerorchester Basel, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liege and Hessischer Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester. In his first season as their new Artistic Director, Jonathan leads the Handel & Haydn Society in Baroque masterpieces including Handel’s Israel in Egypt and Messiah. He conducts further performances of Messiah with San Francisco Symphony whilst projects with Les Violons du Roy include Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and a US tour with Milos Karadaglic.

 Further information: 

London Handel Festival

Gregory Batsleer, Festival Director: 


Julian Forbes, General Manager:  


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Alice Lechner

Alice Lechner comes from a music-loving family. Her first encounter with the opera universe was at the tender age of six. The grandeur of the stage productions and costumes, the backstage chatter, and last, but definitely not least, the music left her in awe, beginning with Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The overall feeling that opera awakens in anyone who gets a glimpse into this part of artistic eternity, that each and every day passes the test of time, was what drew her to stay and be a part of this world. The Opera House of Brașov became her second home, and the people who worked there were her second family.

Since then, Alice has devoted her spare time to maximising her musical knowledge through instrumental studies, studying both piano and violin for a short time. In the following years, her number one passion stepped out of the limelight and graciously gave way to Law Studies.
Since 2018 she has been studying Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Her passion for opera, even if it is no longer her top professional priority in terms of career, it has most definitely become her priority during her free time. Wanting to experience the best of both worlds and extend her musical horizons, she regularly attends opera performances throughout Romania and abroad.
With OPERA Charm Magazine, Alice aims to nurture her creative side to help it flourish and bloom and to discover, alongside the magazine’s readers, the fascinatingly complex world of opera.

Currently, she is an LL.M. in Business Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Oana Zamfir

Oana Zamfir is a second year MA student at the “George Enescu” National University of Arts, at the Department of Musicology.

She studied violin for 12 years at the “Stefan Luchian” High School of Art in Botosani, later focusing on the theoretical aspects of music. In 2019 she completed her bachelor studies in Musicology as a student of the National Academy of Music “Gheorghe Dima” in Cluj-Napoca. Her research during 2018-2019 brought to the forefront elements of the archaic ritual within works of composers who activated during the communist period, giving her the opportunity to start a research internship at the “Carl von Ossietzky” University in Germany. In this context, she recorded conversations with members of the Sophie Drinker Institute in Bremen, and had access to documents directly from the Myriam Marbé archive.

Since 2019 she has been a teacher of Music Education and Theoretical Music Studies, making full use of interactive methods in the musical training of students and working, at the same time, with the children’s choir founded in the first year of her activity.

Her interests include pursuing a degree in interior design in 2020.

Alexandru Suciu

Alexandru Suciu inherited his passion for art growing up in a family of several generations of musicians. He began his musical studies at the “Augustin Bena” School of Music in Cluj, where he studied piano and guitar. Even though his main study direction was philological, his passion for music prevailed. He began his academical journey at the Faculty of Letters of the “Babeș-Bolyai” University, studying Comparative literature and English. He continued by studying Opera Singing at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy. He also graduated the Musical Education section, followed by Artistic Directing at the Musical Performing Arts department.

His multidisciplinary education opened the doors towards research, which is seen both through his participation in national and international conferences and symposia, such as the Salzburg Easter School PhD-forum, organized by the Salzburg Universität or the Silesian Meeting of Young Scholars, organized by the Institute of English at the University of Silesia, as well as the collaboration with Opera Charm Magazine.

During his student years, he won several prizes, including the Grand Prize at the “Paul Constantinescu” National Musical Interpretation Competition, the Romanian Composers and Musicologists’ Union Prize at the same competition, the First Prize and the Schubert Prize at the “Ada Ulubeanu” Competition.

He further developed his artistic skills by specializing in courses and masterclasses held by personalities such as Vittorio Terranova, Giuseppe Sabbatini, Marian Pop, Ines Salazar, Riccardo Zanellato, Paolo Bosisio, Valentina Farcaș and Manuel Lange in contexts such as the Internationale Sommerakademie für Operngesang Deutschlandsberg, Corso Internazionale di Canto Lirico I.M.C. Licata or the Europäische Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst Montepulciano. Besides his activity on-stage, he currently teaches Opera Singing Didactics, and Pedagogical Practice within the Department for Teacher Education and Training at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy.

Cristina Fieraru

Cristina is a 24 year-old Romanian soprano & a student at the National University of Music Bucharest, where she pursues the MA program in Vocal Performance.

She made her debut in Pamina from “Die Zauberflöte” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at only 19 years old at the Bucharest National Opera House, as a member of the Ludovic Spiess Experimental Opera Studio. Over the years she made her debut in roles such as Contessa d’Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Mimì & Musetta (La Bohème), Alice Ford (Falstaff), Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte) in her university’s opera productions.
Her passion and experience extends in the field of choral music, too.

She has been part of our dream team since the fall of 2021. For a good period of time she took care of OPERA Charm’s social media and took you on the monthly journey through the history of opera through our Legends rubric – and a few times through the Theaters around the World rubric.

Her little soul rubric – from 2021 to present – is definitely the Conductors of the Future, where, every month, she gives you the chance to meet a young star of the world of conducting and, of course, to find out what’s the most charming feature of opera in these artists’ views.


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