Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Luisotti to Leave San Francisco

Nicola Luisotti
copyright Terrence McCarthy/San Francisco Opera
used courtesy of San Francisco Opera

Well, well: here´s a surprise in my mailbox: Music Director Nicola Luisotti will leave San Francisco Opera in two years, at the end of the 2017-18 season. When David Gockley´s retirement was announced, the press conference also announced a two-year extension of Luisotti´s contract, presumably to provide continuity for the incoming General Director, now known to be Matthew Shilvock.

So, one of his first big jobs will be to find a new Music Director for the company.  As Joshua Kosman´s Chron article says, Luisotti was appointed in part to strengthen the company´s commitment to Italian opera. The end result of this is next season, with seven Italian operas out of nine productions. I´d say it´s time to strengthen the company in other areas.  I have not been impressed by Luisotti´s ventures into Mozart, Wagner, or R. Strauss.

I also note, with interest, that as of now Luisotti has no other full-time appointment. I suggest thinking about the possible implications of this. And there´s this in the press release:
I want the Company’s General Director Designate Matthew Shilvock to be able to move freely into the future with his ideas, his artistic interests and to take San Francisco Opera into a new direction.
Best of all, I can now tout my favorite candidate for the Met job for this one: James Conlon, a terrific conductor with broad interests and great skill across an extremely wide repertory.


Henry Holland said...

Will anyone notice besides his real estate broker, accountant and travel agent?

I can't find any info about when Conlon's contract here in Los Angeles ends, he still owes me a Die Tote Stadt due to his Recovered Voices project, hahaha.

John Marcher said...

Although SFO, or any company for that matter, would be lucky to have him, Conlon at the Met makes more sense than anywhere else: I can see Gelb committing to Recovered Voices, but the likelihood of Shilvock doing that seems slim to me based on how risk-averse SFO has become. I know we disagree on this, but I thought Luisotti's Salome was one of the highlights of his tenure, along with Fanciulla. The entire idea of solidifying the company's commitment to Italian opera was absurd from the get-go, since it's always been a staple of the programming, but now its domination of the schedule is what's become absurd.

What I really want to know is now what's going to become of that horrible, tacky mural in the Wilsey Center which features him so prominently? Can it be painted over?

As I mentioned elsewhere, I'd like to see Michael Boder here, or what about Luisi? When does his deal with the Met and DNSO expire?

Alex Ross said...

Conlon in both SF and LA would be terrific, though it would present on an odd appearance — SF I'm sure wouldn't want to be seen as following LA. Alas, it is extraordinarily unlikely that we will see anything like the Recovered Voices project at the Met. The Schreker operas would seem such a natural for the house, but if Levine never took an interest, I doubt anyone will. (I once saw Levine browsing the Schreker operas at the old Lincoln Center Tower Records. I was tempted to shout "Yes, Maestro, Schreker!" at him, but he might have had a heart attack.) Conlon, also alas, seems to lack whatever quotient of "glamour" (aka photogenic young dude) the Met is seeking. YNS seems a sure thing (though I hold out hope for Noseda, a stronger musician).

Lisa Hirsch said...

Henry, Conlon's contract in LA runs, conveniently, through 2017-18. Well, conveniently for SFO, if the company wants him.

JM, Luisi is music director of the Zurich Opera, and I think the Met has pretty much neglected him after he saved their skins by filling in all the time for Levine. I am neutral on him. I thought his Ring conducting was okay, what I heard of it (probably only Siegfried....), but I once turned on the TV to a find a poorly-conducted Aida and was shocked that it was Luisi. A Runnicles-hating friend told me last year that I should seek out Luisi's Troyens, which I have not done. I'd be curious whether anyone else has heard it, and what you thought of it.

The one time I had a ticket to see Luisi live, he cancelled an SFS Verdi Requiem because of Met responsibilities, and we got Conlon, who conducted an incredible performance.

A big sigh over Levine, who did shockingly little in 45 years to change the Met's repertory.

I wonder whether Jurowski would have any interest in Schreker and other composers of that generation, based on his work on Frau in 2013. Or Evan Rogister, if he ever gets to the Met (has he conducted there?). For that matter, why the heck hasn't the Met done King Roger, which Rogister conducted at Sante Fe a few years ago?