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Gustavo Dudamel to be Paris Opera Music Director


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Fascinating that Dudamel considered watching ballet an important aspect of his musical education as a conductor.  Now he'll get to conduct for the great Paris Opera Ballet,  or,  as the article dubs it,  "the in-house dance company".

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2 hours ago, On Pointe said:

Fascinating that Dudamel considered watching ballet an important aspect of his musical education as a conductor.  Now he'll get to conduct for the great Paris Opera Ballet,  or,  as the article dubs it,  "the in-house dance company".

It's an unexpected choice to make for a symphony music and art director - I still don't know why he's doing it - but it does open up a plum position in the U.S. Perhaps for someone like Marin Alsop?

Edited by pherank
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Dudamel has been an opera conductor for quite some time.

What's more interesting is that he came up through La Sistema and is dedicated to the program.  I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him be involved in outreach.

It's hard to fathom that he's only forty.

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55 minutes ago, pherank said:

It's an unexpected choice to make for a symphony music and art director - I still don't know why he's doing it - but it does open up a plum position in the U.S. Perhaps for someone like Marin Alsop?

Not really.  He intends to keep his position in LA.

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6 hours ago, On Pointe said:

Not really.  He intends to keep his position in LA.

I see how the contracts overlap, I just don't see how it's really possible to do all those things at once - effectively. In a shrinking classical music world, is it really the best choice to make?
 

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8 hours ago, Helene said:

Dudamel has been an opera conductor for quite some time.

What's more interesting is that he came up through La Sistema and is dedicated to the program.  I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him be involved in outreach.

It's hard to fathom that he's only forty.

This.

From the L.A. Times:

Quote

Dudamel will remain here at least through the 2025-26 season, Smith emphasized, and the conductor will not change the number of weeks he spends in L.A. Dudamel’s involvement in Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, which is opening a Frank Gehry-designed center in Inglewood this year and contemplating another one in South Gate along the L.A. River, should only increase.

“The appointment,” Smith said, “opens up the possibility for real collaboration with Paris Opera.”

 

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Almost every major symphony conductor is also the conductor of another organization, whether it be an opera house, which often includes ballet in rep, or another orchestra, and they do guest conducting work, sometimes a great deal of it, like Dudamel does.  In the middle tier, they often are involved in one or more organizations, some of them small ones they created themselves or festivals.  For conductors of small orchestras, they have to if they need to earn a living.  It's always a trade-off for all but the "major" organization to decide whether it's worth someone's name, reputation, fundraising appeal, and orchestra development, just for a start, vs. dedicated time, just as when they hire guest conductors.  Whether that's good or bad, it's very common.  

Also, in the European opera houses, and probably big orchestras, there is a layer of management, which, in the case of Paris Opera, is exceedingly strong, as anyone who saw the Millepied doc witnessed, and there's a lot of administration that he wouldn't have to worry about  There are union contracts that strictly limit working conditions and pay, and the role that Dudamel will play is much less about administration than it might be in the US or Canada, all of which is in the hands of the uber-leader, Neef. .  Also, in the major companies, if the lead conductor actually leads six of twenty productions, that is a huge number.  A conductor can do a lot of the rest of the work remotely, learned even before the pandemic and Zoom.

I remember when Salonen said that Gergieve liked to conduct so much, because it was the only time his cell phone wasn't ringing.

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9 hours ago, Helene said:

I remember when Salonen said that Gergieve liked to conduct so much, because it was the only time his cell phone wasn't ringing.

I think that's a common sentiment among conductors. I realize that this "sharing" of talent goes on everywhere, but...

it just strikes me as another one of these "missed opportunities". Why not hire someone in the "middle ranks" of classical music that is promising (and not simply Euro White male)?
I'm sure Neef had great reasons though.  😉

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Relating to my remarks above...

Beginning in September, Marta Gardolińska will become the first female (and first Polish) musical director of the Opéra national de Lorraine in Nancy, one of the five national operas outside of Paris. As it happens, Gardolińska will be working with the LA Philharmonic on a Hollywood Bowl performance this September (Dudamel is a supporter of her work).

Meanwhile, "as Marin Alsop leaves the Baltimore Symphony after 14 years, the field is taking a step backward: 25 major American orchestras, no female music directors."

I think I read somewhere that the number of female directors and conductors remains around 5% in Europe, but I'm searching about for some confirmation of that...

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