We have received an exclusive insider’s report from the Castleton Festival on Lorin Maazel’s recovery. Maazel has been out of action for several months after an unspecified medical procedure. We’re delighted to hear he’s on the way back.
Maestro Maazel has been overseeing many of the rehearsals and has worked with singers, directors, and the Orchestra. All signs show that he is continually getting stronger and that his health is improving steadily. Although he has not conducted yet, everyone at the Festival, particularly those such as myself who have been performing with him here for years, feel his presence (and often picture him on the podium!); we are also inspired by such gorgeous physical surroundings.
In ‘Madama Butterfly,’ for example, he showed everyone involved exactly how he wished the “Flower Duet” between Cio-Cio San and Suzuki in Act II to be shaped and paced in such a beautiful sensitive manner; we are all the richer for it, as this sort of detail is the kind of thing that makes his Puccini performances so special.
Another memorable session with the Maestro took place a few weeks ago. It was a rehearsal for one of his compositions in which I am performing as soloist, “The Giving Tree,” for narrator, solo ‘cello, and orchestra. In this half-hour rehearsal were Maestro Maazel, his wife Dietlinde Turban-Maazel who is narrating, Kensho Watanabe (the highly gifted young conductor who will lead this in concert), and me. Maestro was barely in need of the score, and illustrated all nuances of this work both verbally and by conducting. He seemed to be having a good time, and we were of course thrilled to have such a detailed personal rehearsal with him.
Naturally things are not the same without him on the podium, and everyone here (and millions around the world) reiterate our support for him and hope he is conducting soon again. In the meantime, in beautiful Rappahannock County, Virginia on Maestro Maazel’s farm, we all will strive to approach the very high quality standards that are a given at any Maazel concert or opera performance.
Principal ‘Cellist; Castleton Festival
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