It has perhaps been the Metropolitan Opera's most imminent concern for its latest season, but it's been announced that the company's iconic and emblematic conductor, James Levine, will step down after this season.
It was reported that Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin was forced to cancel a high-profile engagement with the Berlin Philharmonic for an undisclosed ailment. Now, it's been confirmed that the Philadelphia Orchestra maestro was admitted for epigastric hernia.
A quick word about the just-named, incoming music director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Jaap van Zweden (pronounced “YEP van ZVAY-den”). This is not the time nor the place to debate the relative merits of the chosen candidate, as set against every other conductor in the world, for two reasons. One, because I have a conflict of interest via my own professional work in classical music (which, from time to time, has included working with the good folks at the Phil). But mainly, it's because the candidate has now been chosen. The selection process is over, and it's time to give him a chance. If we want him to do well--and success for Jaap, remember, means a success for the orchestra and more to enjoy for all of us--then we should let him mount his new podium free of any baggage or prejudgments.
Opéra de Montréal gave that city's first staging of 'Elektra' in November--and the first production ever by a resident Montreal company--finessing a presentation both stark and expansive, starring the brilliant American soprano Lise Lindstrom. Filling the titular role, Lindstrom easily carried the weight of Strauss' demanding single-act, 100-minute opera. But the spotlight wasn't hers alone; she shared it with a massive, 25-foot statue of King Agamemnon and the equally enormous vision of the company's artistic director, Michel Beaulac.
If Spain had a father figure of classical music, Rafael Fruhbeck De Burgos was it, though there were periods when he was more popular outside of his native country than in it. Yet his heart remained forever in Spain, and it is in that country that he passed away today, aged 80.
The Philadelphia Orchestra and Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin recently embarked on a tour of Asia, and their May 25 concert in Shanghai will be streamed live to an international audience.
Opening on Thursday and running until February 15, the Metropolitan Opera will be presenting the great Antonin Dvořák's 'Rusalka.' Even better, Renée Fleming will return to one of her signature roles--singing the emblematic "Song to the Moon" aria as only she can.
Not to steal even the smallest beat away from maestro Orozco-Estrada's good news, but inquiring minds do want to know what's up with Jurowski's tenure at the LPO.