Franz Welser-Möst has withdrawn from conducting the three Da Ponte operas at the 2013 summer festival, blaming insufficient rehearsal time.
Photo (c) Lebrecht Music&Arts
FW-M, who is music director of the Vienna State Opera and regular conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic which will play the Mozart cycle, is not a man to cut corners on grounds of familiarity. He has also complained of too short recovery periods for singers between one opera and the next.
This, however, is not about a scheduling dispute. FW-M has been showing signs of resenting the high-handedness of Salzburg director Alexander Pereira. The two worked together for 15 years as partners at Zurich Opera, with Pereira taking the senior role and sheltering his conductor from the consequences of the press negativity he had faced at the London Philharmonic. He was, to an extent, Franz’s mentor and that relationship could not continue unreformed while the conductor emerged as a power in his own rights. Pereira, it seems, failed to see the signs of dissent.
He was abroad when Franz announced his abrupt withdrawal and has yet to respond. He will have no trouble finding a spare maestro or three for the Mozarts but future relations between Salzburg and Vienna seem set to be turbulent – and others will be sure to stir