George Petrou was born in Greece. He studied piano at the Athens Conservatoire, at the Royal College and at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He enjoyed a successful career as a concert pianist but gradually turned to conducting. He quickly gained attention and established a flourishing international career. He has particular interest in music of the early 18 c. but is equally at home in the classical and the romantic repertoire.
George Petrou is the artistic director of the renowned Athens based Armonia Atenea orchestra, with which he tours and records extensively, performing both on period or modern instruments.
Aside from conducting a wide range of symphonic music he has made a name for himself as an operatic conductor, with emphasis on the historically informed practices, not only in baroque music but also in later repertoire.
Future engagements for 2014-15 include Handel’s Serse at the Royal Swedish Opera, Rossini’s Semiramide in Nice, Monteverdi’s Ritorno d’ Ulisse coupled with Nono’s Non hai camin, hai che caminar at the Staatstheater Darmstadt, Hasse’s Siroe at the Opera Royale de Versailles, Purcell’s Arthur in Amsterdam, Brugge, Antwerp, Breda, Handel’s Alessandro in International Handel Festspiel in Halle, Philip Glass’ Penal Colony at the Onassis Cultural Center in Athens.
Concert engagements include Bremen, Bratislava, Trodheim and extensive touring with Armonia Atenea in venues such as Tchaikowski hall (Moscow), Theatre Champs Elyssee (Paris), Palais de Bozar (Brussels), Theater an der Wien (Vienna), Oper Karlsruhe, CRR (Istanbul).
Recent engagement include new productions of Purcell’s King Arthur at Opéra la Monnaie Brussels, Hasse’s Siroe at the Athens Festival, Mozart’s Mitridate at Nationaltheater Mannheim, Handel’s Semele at Opera de Nice, Rossini’s Cenerentola at the Greek National Opera, Handel’s Alessandro at Opéra Royal de Versailles, Megaron of Athens, Staatstheater Wiesbaden, Opéra Vichy, Theater an der Wien, Salle Pleyel Paris and Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Mayr’s Ginevra Di Scozia at Teatro Donizetti in Bergamo and Ingolstadt with the Muenchner Rundfunkorchester, Vivaldi’s Il Farnace at Opéra National du Rhin, Strasbourg and at Opéra Royal de Versailles, Handel’s Semele at Stadttheater Bern, Rossini’s Il Barbiere Di Siviglia, Verdi’s Nabucco, Haydn’s L’Isola Disabitata and Theophrastos Sakellaridis’ operettas Pik Nik, Halima and The Godson in Athens.
Several of George Petrou’s biggest successes have been in operas by Gluck. He has conducted Alceste (at the Megaron of Athens with Anna Caterina Antonacci in the title role and at Oper Leipzig in a new production by P. Konwitzny), Orphee at the Greek National Opera, Iphigénie en Aulide at the newly built Onassis Cultural center and the 1st modern revival of Il trionfo di Clelia at the Megaron, to great acclaim.
Earlier assignments include Donizetti’s Anna Bolena and Emilia di Liverpool as well as Handel’s Theodora in Athens, Lully’s Phaeton and A. Scarlatti’s Il Tigrane at the Saarländisches Staatstheater Saarbrücken, Handel’s Oreste, Arianna in Creta, Tamerlano, Giulio Cesare, Aci Galatea e Polifemo, Vivaldi’s Giustino and Juditha Triumphans, Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea and Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, and Paisiello’s L’Olimpiade (in his own critical edition).
George Petrou has a very busy recording schedule. Future releases include Hasse’s Siroe for DECCA, a Countertenor Gala and a collection of baroque arias called Baroque Divas for SONY CLASSICAL all with Armonia Atenea. His recent multiple prizewinning DECCA releases include Beethoven’s Creatures of Prometheus, Gluck’s tenor arias with Daniel Behle, Hasse’s Rokoko (a collection of arias and concertos with M. E. Cencic) and Handel’s Alessandro. Additionaly, Mayr’s operas Ginevra and Lodoiska for OEHMS Classics (with the Muenchner Runfunkorchester).
He has also recorded Handel’s Oreste, Arianna in Creta, Alessandro Severo, Tamerlano and Giulio Cesare for MDG.
All of them have received with the highest critical acclaim from the international press (Choc-Monde de la Musique, Gramophone-Editor’s Choice, Diapason d’Or, BBC Mag/Recording of the Month, CD of the week-Sunday Times, Recording of the month in Musicweb, Crescendo Bestenliste Platz 1, etc.). Tamerlano received the prestigious ECHO KLASSIC 2008, and Alessandro the Recording of the Year at the International Opera Awards, and the was voted by the veiwers of Mezzo as opera of the Year 2013 recieving more than 250,000 votes.
1_13: La sorte mia tiranna
3_17: Di Tuo Amor, Mio Cor è Indegno
4: Se povero il ruscello
Gluck Opera Arias
05: Siam navi all onde
1_05: Fra le stragi e fra le morti
The 5 Countertenors
Johann Adolf Hasse
Gluck Opera Arias
Christoph Willibald Gluck