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Conversation with Giampaolo Bisanti, the new Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège Music Director

Italian conductor Giampaolo Bisanti rightfully defines himself as a “busy man”. His agenda will get even fuller with his new Music Director position at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège from next season, during which he will participate in two staged opera productions – Bellini’s La Sonnambula and Verdi’s Rare Alzira – and prestigious recitals with Plácido Domingo (accompanied for the occasion by Davinia Rodríguez)...


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Zurich Opera: Matthias Schulz appointed as new director

MATTHIAS SCHULZ APPOINTED AS NEW DIRECTOR SUCCESSOR TO ANDREAS HOMOKI AS OF 2025 HAS BEEN FOUND Matthias Schulz was introduced as new artistic director of the Opernhaus Zürich by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Opernhaus Zürich AG, Markus Notter, at a press conference earlier today. The 44-year-old is to succeed Andreas Homoki, who has been heading the house since 2012 and is stepping down from the post by his choice in 2025. Matthias Schulz, current...


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Interview with Antonio Pappano: “It is very important that the music sounds inevitable”

Who doesn’t know Antonio Pappano, current Music Director of the Royal Opera House in London and Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome? He was performing in July at the Verbier Festival as a conductor in two symphonic concerts with the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, and as a pianist in a music chamber programme along with other stars. He explains how he sees music and conducting, and reveals the decisions that take place behind-the-scenes to build an...


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An interview with James Gaffigan at the Verbier Festival

Already the Chief Conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, James Gaffigan has expanded his Swiss influence by taking on the position of Music Director of the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra, an orchestra of talented musicians aged 15 to 18 years. He is conducting three programmes during the 28th edition of the Festival: an all-Russian concert – Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev – plus a performance with violinist Joshua Bell who will perform Chausson’s...


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Interview with Lotte de Beer, stage director of Aida at the Opéra national de Paris

Lotte de Beer made her highly anticipated Opéra national de Paris debut two weeks ago with an innovative Aida – starring Sondra Radvanovsky, Jonas Kaufmann and Ludovic Tézier – which gathers the ghosts of colonialism. She has encompassed a certain number of opera genres (Falstaff, Puccini’s Il Trittico, Carmen, Rusalka, Mosè in Egitto, Lulu…), has been appointed Director of the Volksoper in Vienna from next September, and will stage Le Nozze di...


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Contemporary opera: A conversation with Vasco Mendonça

Vasco Mendonça is one of the rising stars among contemporary composers. In addition to his studies with Klaas de Vries and George Benjamin, he has participated in the Rolex Mentor and Protegé Arts Initiative along with Kaija Saariaho and represented Portugal at UNESCO’s International Rostrum of Composers. His first piece of musical theatre, Ping, was adapted from a Samuel Beckett monologue and premiered in 2011. The House Taken Over (2013) – based on...


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The Salzburg Festival, one hundred years of artistic ideals

As a result of the health measures in place in Austria to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 Salzburg Festival is being "downsized and redesigned". In 2020, the Festival nevertheless celebrates its centenary with a programme that begins this year and continues next year. Through a series of articles that we are starting today, we look back on the major challenges of the Festival, whether ideological and political, artistic or musical - whether through the great performers...


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Simon Stone, ruthless explorer of works

In a few days, the premiere of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s opera, The Dead City, will play in Munich’s Bavarian State Opera. Jonas Kaufmann will be appearing alongside soprano Marlis Petersen in a production by Simon Stone, created in 2015 at the Theater Basel. Let us take a look back at the career of the thirty-year-old director who has been fought over by musical and dramatic institutions alike for some years now. *** Les Trois Soeurs à l'Odéon, par...


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Thomas Adès, pragmatic contemporary

In the 20th century, there was an opera mystique, the mystique of the impossible and often single work: Schönberg never managed to find a satisfying conclusion to Moses und Aaron, and Messiaen, at age 75 and after eight years of work, delivered an outrageous and fascinating Saint Francis. And then there are others, composers who have long, continuous and productive careers, like Britten or Henze. Thomas Adès, a 45-year-old English composer, is one of the latter. The work...


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Yannick Nézet-Séguin replaces James Levine as the new musical director of the Metropolitan Opera

As we mentioned recently, James Levine has been forced to resign from his post as artistic director of New York’s Metropolitan Opera, which he’d held since 1975, for reasons of health. And so for the first time in forty years, the Metropolitan will welcome a new musical  director, only the third (officially) since the New York institution was established 135 years ago. And after several weeks of rumours, it was announced this afternoon that 41-year-old...


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Kirill Petrenko, or the Nobility of Opera Music

Opera involves a lot of tedium. There are the singers’ moods, the constraints of any major undertaking, often a poor relationship with stage designers, and audiences that forget you as soon as the tenor comes on (see above). Many great conductors, once they have achieved some fame, prefer to devote themselves to the symphonic repertory, coming back to opera for certain prestigious projects as their fancy takes them, and leaving the pit to their less esteemed colleagues. But among...


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Leaders’ vision: New digital platforms for the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra

Just over a year into his new job, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’s managing director, Harald Krumpöck, feels that he could not have chosen a better time to step up from the ranks of the orchestra’s players to take on the post. ‘‘From a cultural perspective, we are living in an incredibly interesting time,’’ Krumpöck says. ‘‘Change is too small a word. It’s a time of upheaval. An extraordinary number of things are...