Maestro move: Religious Israeli becomes chief conductor in Georgia

December 30, 2017 by norman lebrecht


The much-travelled Daniel Oren, 62, has been named music director at Opera Tbilisi, in the capital of Georgia.

Oren, who often conducts in a Jewish skullcap, will start work next month.

Comments (20)

  1. harold braun says:

    Horrible conducting.

    1. Cubs Fan says:

      I wonder if there wasn’t a video what your perception would have been. Yes, his mannerisms and gestures seem ludicrous and cartoonish, but all that should matter is what are the results. He’s been around long enough and conducted in quite a few prestigious venues – he must have something going for himself.

      1. harold braun says:

        The results you can hear:Coarse,heavy,stylistycally inappropiate Mozart.

        1. Patrick says:

          “stylistically inappropriate”?….says who? Let’s hear your recording.

        2. Alsn says:

          Oh thank you you Harold. One of my favourite operas but didn’t know this version was just so coarse, heavy and stylistic until you brought it to my attention. Must be the weight of the yarmulke that is the cause of his reprehensible performance.

          1. Assaf says:

            Seriously ALSN? The weight of his yarmulke? You could say you don’t like his version or even that you think that he is not a good conductor.(although the people who invited him to conduct at the Met and Bastille would disagree…)
            But saying it’s the weight of his yarmulke is just pure antisemitism not even in disguise.
            Uterly disgusting.

    2. Patrick says:

      “Horrible”? Seriously? This guy’s perfectly good and gets the job done. It is vigorous, committed music making. My guess is you’re not much of a conductor yourself, if one at all. In a world with so much boring performance going on, who has time to criticize this?

      1. harold braun says:

        You don´t seem to know much about Mozart.albeit of the fact that he has no conducting technique at all…i am not really into historically informed performance,but you shouldn´t do it like a poor Bruckner performance…

          1. Alan says:

            I don’t know. This recording with Harding, brisk and very good (loved his “Resurrection” in the 2014 Proms) but is presumably stand-alone, Oren’s is part of the full opera from what I see. Horses for courses in that case as I have never considered Don Giovanni in entirety as dark and nothing other than tragedy.

  2. Edgar says:

    Conducts in a skullcap. I hope he wears other garments as well?

    1. jim says:

      If you watched the video, you’d see he is wearing all standard garments that one normally sees on a conductor.

  3. Daphne Badger says:

    Might this mean he doesn’t have time to inflict his clumsy, musically-sterile conducting on us poor Covent Garden regulars with quite such depressing frequency? One does hope so…

    1. Alan says:

      Or maybe “one” doesn’t but others do. But of course Daphne is a “poor Covent Garden regular” so must “know something” we ordinary mortals don’t.

  4. PETER KRAMER says:

    maybe his yamulka brings him blessings.his numerous recordings esp opera are amazing and have brought him fantastic reviews….he certainly is a doyen amongst conductors and highly respected

  5. Judy Katz says:

    For years Oren, yes in his yarmulka, was the master of the Arena in Verona doing a wonderful job!

    1. Nik says:

      I saw him conduct Aida there in the 90s and he made the most spectacular dog’s dinner of the Act 2 finale. One of the worst cacophonies I’ve ever witnessed in my 30 years of opera going.

  6. Sharon says:

    It is very difficult for observant Jews to be successful in any of the performing arts (except possibly in Israel) because of their inability to work Friday nights, Saturday matinees and many other days as well. Then there are issues of living and working in areas where there is no Jewish community and difficulties involved in finding Kosher food, going to synagogue, Jewish schools for their kids, etc. I’m glad that the state of Georgia, not known as so Jew friendly, is giving this guy a chance

  7. paul hess says:

    I was in the Mozarteum summer academy with the 16-year old or so Oren back around 1971 or 1972, and he was a prodigy, extremely talented. He has had a successful career since then. Often heard him at the opera when I lived in Rome in 1980. Nothing amiss.

  8. simonelvladtepes says:

    Why does he conduct in the ROH sans yarmulke? Dress code?

    This might be difficult to believe, but about 16 – 20 years ago I came across an internet article in Italian where he claimed his parents were one Jewish, the other a Palestinian. I remember thinking this was his equivalent of the Barenboim maneuver to survive as an Israeli artist in Europe, which was extremely difficult back then – it’s only a little better now.

    Someone here once called him a hack. I agree.

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