18 April 2024
Entertainment Music

Los Angeles Opera’s Music Director to Step Down After 20 Years

The yr 2026 will mark James Conlon’s twentieth anniversary as music director of the Los Angeles Opera. That appeared to him like it could be the best time to step down.

“I’ve had 20 years — that’s a very good spherical quantity,” Conlon, 73, mentioned in a phone interview. “I wish to cease after I’m at my full capability and I need to have the ability to go on loving the corporate the way in which I do.”

His remaining season, the 2025-26 season, will coincide with the corporate’s fortieth anniversary, and Conlon mentioned that he “needed to be there to rejoice that with them.”

“It would imply I’ll have been there for half of its historical past,” mentioned Conlon, who has led greater than 460 performances of 68 completely different operas there, greater than another conductor.

Conlon will likely be named the opera’s conductor laureate, which the corporate mentioned can be in recognition “of his distinguished tenure and contribution to Los Angeles Opera and the neighborhood at giant, and in acknowledgment of the mutual intention for Conlon to return to the corporate as a visitor conductor.”

Christopher Koelsch, the opera’s president and chief govt, praised Conlon’s musical management and mentioned that there was “one thing elegant in regards to the timing” of his departure, coinciding because it does with each anniversaries. He added that the transition “presents a possibility for us as a company for a special perspective and generational change.”

It will likely be a transformational second for classical music in Los Angeles: 2026 can be the yr that Gustavo Dudamel will go away the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the New York Philharmonic.

L.A. Opera is already in a second of transition. Plácido Domingo, who was instrumental in its creation, reigned for many years as its main star and served as its basic director, stepped down in 2019 amid allegations of sexual harassment.

As to what the opera will likely be searching for in Conlon’s successor, Koelsch mentioned, “Somebody who has an identical evangelism for the artwork kind and a Twenty first-century perspective on what which means.”

Conlon, who will likely be 76 when he steps down, mentioned he’s not retiring, and that he plans to proceed as a visitor conductor in Los Angeles and elsewhere, dedicate time to private targets (“I nonetheless wish to see the Taj Mahal and I’d prefer to go on safari”) and to proceed to give attention to music training.

“Crucial disaster going through classical music is we’re all preventing for an viewers,” he mentioned, including that he “might be very persuasive in engaging individuals who really feel afraid of classical music to not be inhibited by these huge buildings that seem like fortresses.”

Schooling has been a trademark of Conlon’s tenure. Earlier than performances he talks audiences by means of key moments of every opera, lectures captured on the corporate’s “Behind the Curtain” podcasts and YouTube channel.

Highlights of his tenure in Los Angeles embrace the corporate’s first staging of Wagner’s “Ring” cycle; a “Figaro Trilogy” that featured Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville,” Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” and John Corigliano’s “The Ghosts of Versailles”; Britten 100/LA,” which celebrated the centennial of the composer Benjamin Britten’s delivery; and a efficiency of “The Anonymous Lover,” a not often seen opera by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, a outstanding Black composer in 18th-century France.

Conlon has carried out at many main opera homes world wide, together with the Metropolitan Opera, the Vienna State Opera, the Salzburg Competition, the Teatro alla Scala in Milan and the Paris Opera, the place he was the principal conductor.

He has persistently sought to deliver consideration to composers suppressed by the Third Reich with efforts like “Recovered Voices,” which has introduced uncared for operas to the stage of Los Angeles Opera since 2007.

“When you’re a very good music director, it means you’re actually devoted,” Conlon mentioned. “That has all the time been my objective and objective — to be a very good music director.”