Norman Lebrecht on shifting sound worlds
More fool them then! We had to kick him out for incompetency!
You could argue that it was very foolish of WNO appointing someone who wasn’t even 25 to such a major post in the first place. If you hear him now, working with either the Philharmonia in London (and he has a date with the LSO in April 2015) or with Deutsches-Symphonieorchester in Berlin, you would realise that he has come a long way since those early opera days. Unlike so many other young maestros who throw themselves around on the podium, creating so much hot air and not much else besides, Sokhiev is unfailingly musical and achieves his goals with a minimum of gestures.
If he had to put up with the crass, incompetent productions that are being churned out by WNO now then he would not be happy & presumed to be – not up to WNO’s standard.
He obviously got out/left – take your pick before it got any worse.
That’s why I’ve stopped supporting the WNO – the CRAP productions
When you say ‘crass and incompetent productions’ that the WNO are turning out, did you mean the Meistersinger we did recently, or Lohengrin, or Lulu? All excellent new productions. Or maybe you meant the revival of David Pountney’s Cunning Little Vixen? Or do you mean the brilliant new production of La Boheme? Or have you jumped on the Tudor bandwagon? I’m in the orchestra at WNO and so am at the sharp end of the company. Surely every company has productions that don’t appeal to everyone. We suffer financially and sometimes critically for not being in London. The Arts Councils are constantly looking for companies like WNO to push boundaries and do new things. Then they take some more money away. Sometimes,a company like WNO just has to survive and so if the productions aren’t up to it in your opinion, don’t not support us (because we need your support), come and listen to the orchestra and chorus instead. Just close your eyes! Oh and as for Mr Sohkiev, I was here when he was MD and it was a gamble by the management that didn’t pay off. It’s always the workers who bear the brunt. See you this season maybe.
Let me be more specific. To be fair to you, I have never had a problem with the WNO Orchestra or Chorus. It is the productions that are the problem. Some of the produsors appear to have no idea what the opera is about! There is no point financially, as a pensioner, paying a lot of money, to go to a live opera & closing your eyes & just listening. I can sit at home doing that!
Good point Tim. Send David Pountney a letter, as I’m sure he’d rather hear it first hand, rather than on a forum. I’m personally glad you don’t have a problem with the band and the chorus, but unfortunately we’re inextricably linked with the production. As far as it goes, as a musician (this is MY opinion, NOT WNO’s) Tugan was not the right person to head up an opera company at that time. As far as I know, he hadn’t conducted much opera when he was given our job. I’m sure he is much better these days!
Tugan’s going to be wearing a lot of hats, soon…It’ll be interesting to see how he divides his time between Toulouse, Berlin and Moscow.
Tugan’s a great orchestra conductor, but didn’t go so well at WNO did it? Has he done any opera since then?
This unhealthy habit of our times, that a few maestri bundle several chief positions in their pockets has to come to an end.
It’s detrimental to a healthy diverse musical life, it is suffocating and it is diminishing quality standards, since these jet set maestri can’t do their jobs properly, at least the part of the job that is not visible to the public.
I would suggest that countries with high public subsidies like all the Central European ones do make it illegal for public funded orchestras and opera houses by the threat of pulling the public subsidies, to assign chief positions to conductors that hold chief positions elsewhere at the same time.
The celebrity factor business has to stop, give us more music business.
Author, novelist, broadcaster, cultural commentator.
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