The man who conducted Domingo’s debut has died

The golden years for Berislav Klobucar, who has died in Vienna aged 89, were the brimful sixties.

One year he conducted Placido Domingo’s triumphant Vienna debut. The next he stepped on for Herbert von Karajan in Walküre at the Met. A Croat from Zagreb, Klobucar studied with Lovro von Matacic and Clemens Krauss.

He was an ever-reliable pit master who, away from Vienna where he conducted 1,133 performances between 1953 and 1993, he was also chief conductor in Graz and Stockholm.

He has earned his rest.



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  • A great man and a wonderful conductor. I met him at the Matacic comptition in Zagreb back in ’07 and he offer many kind words of encouragement. A true musician’s musician. Rest in peace, maestro.

  • Sad year for Croatian music began on Jan 1 with the news that maestro Milan Horvat died in Innsbruck. Now Klobučar is gone.
    The last time I’ve met him, and maybe his last public appearance was on 1 July 2013. Although already in wheelchair he came on that day to the Rathaus in Vienna to attend the concert of Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra celebrating Croatia joining the EU. Here is the link to my obituary with the last photo of maestro taken there on that day. (By the way, it’s Karajan on the photo above, while Klobučar, sitting behind him, is cut out of the frame.)

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