Renowned opera director David Pountney takes up his position as Chief Executive and Artistic Director of Welsh National Opera this month. Following his 1972 production of Janacek’s Katya Kabanova at the Wexford Festival, he went on to run both Scottish Opera and English National Opera and has directed numerous productions throughout Europe, the US and Japan. Since 2003 he has been Intendant of the Bregenz Festival in Austria which last summer saw his staging of Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s little known opera The Passenger: this week he brings the same production to ENO.
David talks to Tom Service about his vision for WNO, the importance of new opera, and how he’s getting on with the Welsh language.
Photo:David Pountney, image courtesy of IMG Artists.
This month sees the start of the new season in concert halls and opera houses around the country, so what lies ahead for classical music in 2011/2012?
Tom is joined in the studio by Elaine Padmore, outgoing Director of Opera at the Royal Opera House, and Richard Morrison of The Times to discuss the challenges facing orchestras, opera houses, and music education. Plus Richard and Elaine give their verdict on what events are not to be missed.
Hans von Bülow
A new biography of 19th century conductor Hans von Bülow draws on rare letters, reviews and memoirs to look at his work as pianist, composer and conductor in the context of his troubled and eventful life. Music history’s first virtuoso orchestral conductor, and student and son-in-law of Franz Liszt, Von Bülow conducted the premieres of both Tristan und Isolde and Die Meistersinger – despite the fact that his wife Cosima was at the time having an affair with Richard Wagner whom she subsequently married. Von Bülow went on to create new standards for orchestral playing with the court orchestra of Meiningen and with the Berlin Philharmonic.
Tom talks to biographer Kenneth Birkin about the conductor’s amazing life story, and Elaine Padmore and Richard Morrison share their thoughts on the book.
Photo: Hans von Bülow picture courtesy of The Bülow Society © Meininger Museen.
One of the most influential exponents of the early-music movement, Christopher Hogwood’s work as a conductor, critic, and musicologist challenged what the world thought it knew about music from Monteverdi to Beethoven. Since founding the Academy of Ancient Music in 1973 Hogwood has worked with several of the world’s great orchestras and opera companies and his vast discography includes a pioneering cycle of the complete Mozart symphonies. His interests also range to the neo-classical music of Martin?, Stravinsky, Britten, Copland, Tippett and Honegger.
Having recently celebrated his 70th birthday Christopher reflects on whether or not the battle for historically informed performance has been won, and assesses where the next horizon of musical radicalism might be.
Photo: Christopher Hogwood © Marco Borggreve