Former Artistic Director of the Buxton Festival‚ a position he held from 2011 to 2018‚ Stephen Barlow’s recent and current projects include La Cenerentola (Staatsoper‚ Stuttgart)‚ Medeé‚ Koanga (Wexford Festival); Les Contes d’Hoffmann (Beijing); The Life and Death of Alexander Litvinenko, Porgy and Bess, La Bohème, Romeo et Juliette, Die Walküre‚ La Fanciulla del West‚ Capriccio‚ Rusalka‚ Tristan und Isolde‚ Pique Dame‚ Dialogues des Carmélites‚ Peter Grimes‚ Falstaff‚ Norma (Grange Park Opera); Macbeth‚ Leonore‚ Lucia di Lammermoor‚ Louise‚ Jacobin‚ La Princesse Jaune‚ La Colombe‚ Intermezzo‚ The Barber of Baghdad (Buxton Festival); Otello (Birmingham Opera Company); The Rape of Lucretia‚ Owen Wingrave (Irish Youth Opera) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Guildhall School of Music).
Stephen was a boy chorister at Canterbury Cathedral‚ and studied at King’s School‚ Canterbury; Trinity College‚ Cambridge (as Organ Scholar) and Guildhall School of Music and Drama‚ under Vilem Tausky. He co-founded and was Music Director of Opera 80‚ and meanwhile was resident conductor at English National Opera‚ also working with Scottish Opera‚ Dublin Grand Opera‚ Opera North and Royal Opera House (Turandot‚ Die Zauberflöte). He was Artistic Director of Opera Northern Ireland from 1996 to 1999. Other UK highlights include The Rake’s Progress (Glyndebourne)‚ The Cunning Little Vixen (ENO)‚ Idomeneo‚ The Barber of Seville‚ Fidelio and Madama Butterfly (Belfast)‚ Albert Herring‚ Falstaff‚ The Marriage of Figaro and Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Garsington)‚ Madam Butterfly (Opera North) and Sweeney Todd with Bryn Terfel (Royal Festival Hall).
Engagements abroad include The Rake’s Progress‚ Madam Butterfly‚ Tosca (Vancouver Opera)‚ Capriccio (San Francisco Opera)‚ Faust‚ Nabucco‚ La Cenerentola‚ Turandot (Florida Grand Opera)‚ Die Zauberflöte‚ Carmen‚ Duke Bluebeard’s Castle‚ Romeo et Juliette (Australia)‚ Madama Butterfly‚ Don Giovanni‚ Il Trovatore (Auckland)‚ Elektra‚ Faust (Seville)‚ The Cunning Little Vixen (Berlin)‚ The Rake’s Progress (Nationale Reisopera)‚ Capriccio‚ I Capuletti e I Montecchi (Sicily)‚ Rigoletto (Tirana) and Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Riga).
In addition to his operatic work‚ he has conducted most of the major UK orchestras‚ and concert appearances have taken him all over the world. In 1997 he was appointed Music Director of the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra. Recordings include Joseph James’ Requiem with Sumi Jo and his own composition Rainbow Bear (with his wife‚ Joanna Lumley‚ as narrator)‚ and has conducted the premières of his opera King in Canterbury Cathedral and his Clarinet Concerto with Emma Johnson and the Ulster Orchestra. As a pianist‚ he has recorded the complete songs of Butterworth‚ Delius and Quilter.