ENSEMBLE MATHEUS – English biography
For more than twenty years, the Ensemble Matheus has been one of the most renowned ensembles in the world of classical music, thanks to its bold and accessible artistic approach.
Jean-Christophe Spinosi created the Matheus Quartet in 1991, driven by his desire for innovation and continual research, and it soon evolved into the Ensemble Matheus.
Playing in variable formation from ‘‘chamber ensemble’’ to ‘‘symphonic orchestra’’, the Ensemble Matheus has since its inception endeavoured to combine different music genres. It performs a wide repertoire extending from the Baroque music to contemporary on both modern and traditional instruments.
Its passion and pioneering enthusiasm for original repertoire led it to make a series of recordings devoted to Vivaldi, a composer whose masterpieces were then absent from the discography: it produced several albums and four operas which quickly became legendary, arousing an excited following throughout the world.
Through numerous concerts and recordings, it has developed musical friendships with like-minded well-known artists: among them Cecilia Bartoli, Philippe Jaroussky, Natalie Dessay, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Sandrine Piau, and many others.
From 2007 and for nearly 10 years, the Ensemble Matheus performed every season new opera productions at the Théâtre du Châtelet: La Pietra del Paragone, Véronique, Vespers of the Blessed Virgin, Norma, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Orlando Paladino and Il re pastore.
Other appearances in Paris include productions at the Opéra National de Paris (Alcina) and at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées (Cosi fan tutte and Orlando Furioso), where it was given standing ovations for Die Zauberflöte.
Proud of its Breton origins, the Ensemble Matheus is equally active in its home region of Brittany, particularly in Brest. These strong local roots lead it to many regional tours, performing in Lorient, Vannes, Saint-Brieuc, Morlaix and at the Opéra de Rennes, not forgetting neighbouring towns.
In view of making classical music more accessible to all, the Ensemble Matheus will continue its series of educational programmes devoted to young people. It will also set up for the eighth year running an “Opéra en Région”, a project it initiated and that takes a full opera production on tour throughout Brittany.
The Ensemble Matheus has performed all around the world, including New York (Carnegie Hall), Vienna (Konzerthaus, Theater an der Wien), Zurich (Tonhalle), London (BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, the Barbican, Wigmore Hall), Rome (Accademia Santa Cecilia), Bilbao (Sociedad Filarmónica, Bilbao Opera), Québec (Grand Théâtre), Dortmund (Konzerthaus), Moscow (Tchaikovsky Concert Hall), Barcelona (Gran Teatre del Liceu, Palau de la Musica), Seoul (Lotte Concert Hall)… After their triumph at the Theater an der Wien in Le Comte Ory, the Ensemble Matheus and Cecilia Bartoli continued their close collaboration with two more Rossini operas, Otello at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and La Cenerentola at both Whitsun and Summer Salzburg Festival in 2014.
Its last recording for Deutsche Grammophon was unanimously acclaimed by the press and received the “Choc” distinction from Classica magazine.
2017-2018 season’s highlights include L’Incoronazione di Poppea – celebrating the 450th anniversary of Monteverdi’s birth – on tour in Mexico, Barcelona and Bilbao, a special season at the Château de Versailles implying four performances at the Opéra Royal and the Chapelle Royale, a musical “battle” performed with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra in Russia and in France, a concert performance of Carmen with the forces of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León, Vivaldi’s Gloria and Haendel’s Dixit Dominus in Brittany, Barcelona and Versailles, as well as a Europe tour of the Four Seasons in places like Nantes, Anvers, Las Palmas or Valencia. The greatly expected reunion of Matheus and Cecilia Bartoli is due in 2018, at both Whitsun and Summer Salzburg Festival, with Rossini’s L’Italiana in Algeri. After its success at the Vieilles Charrues festival and its unforgettable Folle Nuit des Matheus in Brest and in parisian venue Olympia, the Ensemble Matheus endeavours more than ever to develop unique musical experiences in order to make music as vivid and universal as possible. As an illustration: the Ensemble’s involvement in the Seine Musicale’s coming season – the brand new venue from Île Seguin, at the South West of Paris.
The Ensemble Matheus is subsidised by the Conseil régional de Bretagne, the Conseil départemental du Finistère, the town of Brest, and the Ministère de la culture et de la communication – DRAC de Bretagne. Its performances are kindly supported by its sponsors, BNP Paribas – Banque de Bretagne and Altarea Cogedim. Air France is the official partner of the Ensemble Matheus.
JEAN-CHRISTOPHE SPINOSI – English biography
Jean-Christophe Spinosi has been leading an untypical musical course for more than twenty years now. From the beginning he interprets a very wide repertoire extending from Baroque music to contemporary on both modern and traditional instruments.
In 1991 he created the Ensemble Matheus in Brest, an orchestra which will accompany him throughout the world.
In 2005, his enthusiasm in researching original repertoire led the Ensemble Matheus to make a series of recordings devoted to Vivaldi, a composer whose masterpieces were then absent from the discography: they produced several albums and four operas which quickly became legendary, arousing an excited following throughout the world. Simultaneously, he has continued to interpret the classical and romantic repertoire as well as many surprising and varied pieces from the 20th and 21st centuries.
Different productions have since enabled Jean-Christophe Spinosi to enjoy the privilege of musical friendships with great artists such as Cecilia Bartoli, Marie-Nicole Lemieux and Philippe Jaroussky, with whom he recorded the album Heroes for EMI-Virgin Classics, a disc whose sales achieved triple-gold status.
From 2007 and for nearly 10 years, Jean-Christophe Spinosi conducted every season new opera productions with the Ensemble Matheus at the Théâtre du Châtelet and he still regularly performs at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, the Theater an der Wien or the Wiener Staatsoper.
For several years he has worked with some of the most imaginative stage-directors on the international scene, among them Pierrick Sorin (for Rossini’s La Pietra del Paragone in 2007 and 2014), Oleg Kulik (for Monteverdi’s Vespers for the Blessed Virgin in 2009), or again Claus Guth (for Handel’s Messiah at the Theater an der Wien, 2009), Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser (for Rossini’s Otello at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and Salzburg Festival in 2014).
Jean-Christophe Spinosi has worked regularly with numerous orchestras including the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Orchestre de Paris, the Wiener Staatsoper, the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, the hr-Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt, the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the New Japan Philharmonic, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester from Berlin, the Wiener Symphoniker, the Radio-Symphonieorchester from Vienna, the Orquesta de Castilla y Leon, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, the Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, the Orchestre du Festival de Verbier, the Handel and Haydn Society from Boston, the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra, the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, the Staatsoper Hamburg…
After their triumph at the Theater an der Wien in February 2013 in Le Comte Ory, Jean-Christophe Spinosi and Cecilia Bartoli continued their close collaboration with two more Rossini operas, Otello at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and at the Salzburg Festival and La Cenerentola at the Salzburg Festival. The international press present in Salzburg unanimously praised their musicality and their audacious interpretation of Rossini operas. Jean-Christophe recently had the great pleasure to meet Cecilia Bartoli again in Rossini’s Le Comte Ory at Zurich’s Opernhaus.
His last two recordings for Deutsche Grammophon – Miroirs with the Ensemble Matheus and Lucifer with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo – were both unanimously acclaimed by the press and received the “Choc” distinction from Classica magazine.
Next projects include a reunion with Quebec-based ensemble Les Violons du Roy and contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux, a spectacular Carmen combining the forces of the Ensemble Matheus and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León, Rossini’s La Cenerentola at the Royal Swedish Opera, as well as three consecutive opera series at the Wiener Staatsoper (Carmen, Il Barbiere di Siviglia and La Cenerentola). 2018 also marks his comeback to the Salzburg Festival with Cecilia Bartoli, for L’Italiana in Algeri, before a one-off concert at the Prince’s Palace of Monaco with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo.