Opera Settecento sources unjustly neglected ‘opera seria’ scores from the 18th century, which were originally heard in London, Rome, Dresden, Venice and Naples but which have rarely been performed, if at all, for over 250 years.
Opera Settecento was founded in 2014 with harpsichordist Thomas Foster, a pupil of Trevor Pinnock, as its Musical Director. Tom has since vacated this position and our new Musical Director is oboist Leo Duarte, whom Tom recommended for the role.
Using forgotten scores, Duarte draws on his knowledge of 18th-century performance practice and recreates performance materials. With the assistance of Artistic Director Miranda Jackson, he books young singers eager to train in this forgotten art, and presents performances using an orchestra of authentic period instruments.
Always eager to challenge the status quo in search of new and overlooked aspects of performance practice, Leo is dedicated to research, particularly into primary musical sources. He has made editions of numerous 17th- and 18th-century works but is most passionate about giving these old works renewed spirit.
Since graduating from the Historical Performance Department of the Royal Academy of Music in 2011, Leo has established a reputation as a ‘fantastically accomplished communicator who generates more personality than you tend to find in this […] repertoire’ (Telegraph Media Group website). He spends most of his time playing in historically-informed ensembles and has appeared as principal-oboist with such orchestras as the English Baroque Soloists, the Academy of Ancient Music, The Sixteen, Dunedin Consort, La Nuova Musica, and the English Concert. He is also a keen chamber musician and concerto soloist, having performed at the Wigmore Hall and live on BBC Radio 3.
As a conductor, Leo has performed symphonies by Beethoven and Dvořák, as well as being in demand from concerto soloists who appreciate his ability to follow a soloist sensitively, while bringing the orchestra to life with vivid colours and gestures. In the world of early opera, he has worked with some of the most inspirational and influential musicians. These include Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Laurence Cummings, and Sir Charles Mackerras. Leo made his operatic conducting debut with Opera Settecento’s concert performance of Pergolesi’s Adriano in Siria at Cadogan Hall in September 2015.