Thursday, June 01, 2017

Jiří Bělohlávek

Jiří Bĕlohlávek
Photo: Vaclav Jirasek, courtesy of SF Opera

Czech conductor Jiří Bělohlávek has died at 71, after a long illness of some kind. He was conductor of the Czech Philharmonic and former principal guest conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Locally, he led two very great productions at San Francisco Opera, 2010's Makropulos Case and last year's magnificent Jenufa.

I understand that he had a somewhat stormy relationship with the Czech Phil - there was some coming and going - but I hope I never forget how great that Jenufa; was just the sound of the orchestra was a miracle.


Evan Tucker said...

I saw him do Jenufa in DC nearly ten years ago. I cried.

Lisa Hirsch said...

He was a great conductor. I floated his name for next SFO music director, in fact.

Do you recognize the music playing on his personal web site? I asked on Twitter and I'm shocked that no one has replied yet. Something with piano & orch, very beautiful, probably Slavic but not something I've ever heard before.

Eric Pease said...

Shazam says Martinu Symphony No 1, H.289: I.Moderato. Czech Phil.

Cameron Kelsall said...

I remember a sparsely attended Jenufa at the Met, Valentine's Day 10 years ago. Mattila as Jenufa and Silja as Kostelnicka (and Jay Hunter Morris making a very unscheduled house debut as Steva). Every aspect of the performance glorious, but none more than Belohlavek in the pit. In all the time I've been going to opera, this is still one of the three or four best performances I've ever heard. And I heard him again several times over the years--the performances he led were always incredible, precise yet passionate. But that first night was truly special.