Conductor makes his London debut as actor and singer

Conductor makes his London debut as actor and singer


norman lebrecht

December 16, 2013

From a Slipped Disc reader:

Sir Mark Elder may have made his debuts as both an actor and singer at the Royal Festival Hall last night. While conducting the belated UK premiere of Offenbach’s operetta Fantasio, Elder played the brief cameo spoken role of Le Tailleur, then sang that of Le Monsieur qui Passe.

The only known precedent, from the same podium a few years ago, was when Jose Cura both sang and conducted an entire concert, thus spending most of it with his back to the orchestra. Sir Mark,  described later by Irish baritone Gavan Ring, who sang the role of Hartmann, as “a Mensch”, spared us that spectacle by momentarily  turning sideways.

mark elder

photo (c) Laurie Lewis/Lebrecht Music&Arts

Sir Mark is music director of the Halle Orchestra in Manchester.


  • william1951 says:

    I’ve never understood why only singers get to make music theater. See:

  • Philip Parr says:

    From memory, Harnoncourt sings on the 1986 recording of Der Schauspieldirektor. There’s always H K Gruber of course – but he’s a special case. Sounds like something Offenbach would have approved of.

  • RobertM says:

    Sir Mark Elder is Artistic Director of Opera Rara as well as the Halle

  • Mark Powell says:

    Sir Mark is also a stellar musician. . . and a VERY good sport.