Houston, we have fired conductor!

Houston, we have fired conductor!


norman lebrecht

December 19, 2014

Local media report the abrupt dismissal of Enrique Carreón-Robledo after three years as music director of Opera in the Heights. Apparently, the board want a change of direction and … shorter operas.

On Tuesday evening, vice-chairman of the OH! board of directors Josh Abrams phoned Carreon-Robledo and told him … he was fired as artistic director. “My tenure with the company from April, 2011, lasted three years, nine months and six days,” he tells us. “During that tenure, I put my very best effort to do the highest quality job that I could possibly do. I invested my heart and soul, all of my abilities to the company and it is devastating to have come to this conclusion.”



  • it'sjtime says:

    This “breaking story” most definitely is the front runner for title of “who the hell cares championship. Could this be the sign of the death of musical journalism? I realize the bar has been set in the primordial sludge during the 20th century…but can’t we get some more sexual harassment stories? or maybe even a story about the one legged North Korean boy with asbergers who just recorded the complete works of Ysaye whilst preparing bulgoki fit for a king.

  • Herrera says:

    “Apparently, the board want … shorter operas.”

    So did, let me remind you, the Met orchestra players during their contract negotiations.

  • V.Lind says:

    Three words that must throw dread into the ears of artists in any medium: “shorter, reimagined version.” Like Classic Comics.

    Is the internet generation completely devoid of an attention span?

    • Theodore McGuiver says:

      Is the internet generation completely devoid of an attention span?


      • Michael Moran says:

        Social media and fiddling with screens have reduced attention spans to absurd levels with with the attendant skating over the surface of profound utterance.

        I am an author and there is a perfectly analagous case in the world of publishing. I am terrified of submitting a work above 90,000 words which also ‘seems a lot’ according to many editors – if they actually look at it at all and not submit it the operatives in the marketing department which is usually the case – another similarity. And as for sentences heavy with true meaning…none of the authors I admired in the past would be published today.

        I am 67 now and the entire aesthetic of my youth has been overturned in my lifetime. Take for example the appalling Don Giovanni directed by Warlikowski I forced myself to watch (well half anyway…) live on Mezzo the other evening.

        Time to head back to the South Pacific islands which I foolishly left at the age of 25 to pursue ‘ a career’ in Europe. Silly boy!

  • Eli Bensky says:

    They want shorter operas: just cut out the last act. They want shorter operas: just schedule Cav and Pag as separate operas on different nights. They want shorter operas: have the whole board jump into the nearest bayou

  • itsjtime says:

    SERIOUSLY????? how many of you “people” pay to hear opera?
    how many of you people stay until the end?
    how many of you people complain about opera but don’t actually go because opera is generally an antiquated relic? Mozart not included:)
    If I want to spend 2-5 hours watching something, I can choose from “House of Cards”, “The Wire”, “Homeland” or countless other examples of RELEVANT ART FORMS IN THE 21st CENTURY!!!!!

    Opera is a spectacle to behold every now and again. Touring companies and short seasons would satisfy the ACTUAL THIRST OF THE PUBLIC!!!! Opera is not represented as a full season affair in America for a reason. How many fingers does it take to count the states that have full time opera companies?…. SO I SAY TO YOU —-who the f*** cares about this elitist relic?
    A more relevant question would be…Have you seen how terrible the Knicks look?
    Is Arod gonna play 3rd base?
    Is melo gonna ever be a winner?

    Entertainment dollars are disposable income for each and every American to spend as they see fit.
    BASEBALL AND BASKETBALL AND FOOTBALL ARE RELEVANT TO THIS TIME PERIOD AND ARE SUPPORTED AS SUCH BY A PUBLIC THAT APPRECIATES THEM. If you want the arts to be relevant then write to your representatives, storm the capital building, stage rallies, hold sit ins and demand the arts to be taught to school children.
    PS..I just moved to Europe 🙂

    • Dave T says:

      Didn’t know the Kniks were looking terrible. And what’s “melo”?
      Clearly, not “more relevant” to me.

      Enjoy Europe, where you can attend opera all year ’round.

    • V.Lind says:

      Anyone that thinks that dramatised ravings like those found on “Homeland” are “relevant” is not only moronic but dangerous. The first series contained a semblance of overblown drama with a plot lifted from Alex Berenson, despite an increasingly hysterical performance by Clare Danes, but early in the second and subsequently it devolved into the lunatic politics of Dick Cheney et al, with propaganda trumping dramatic tension at every turn.

      And while sport has great followings, is a legitimate entertainment and has a lot of social context, it is innately “about” one thing only — competition. Its intrinsics — the rules and personalities of each sport — have no “content” in the sense that “relevance” requires. In that sense they have more in common with opera than contemporary, even socio-political, soap operas. The yearning for what sport offers is similar in kind to that fulfilled my opera or any other music. That sport currently outstrips the higher arts in audience draw is symptomatic of a period in which anything at all requiring mental effort (look at declining numbers of doctor, dentists, male undergraduates) or attention is avoided.

    • William Safford says:

      I pay to hear opera.

      I prefer to be paid to perform opera. It’s fun!

  • ArtFan says:

    This matters because Enrique is a fantastic Artistic Director, who was unceremoniously fired 6 days before Christmas for no good reason. We in Houston are predicting it is just a matter of time before Opera in the Heights shuts its doors as a result of this move.

  • Mike says:

    ITSJTIME hits the nail on the head. As a well known newspaper columnist here in the UK (suddenly forgotten his name!) wrote years ago: ‘Opera? I prefer music’. I’ve often suspected that those people who declare that they ‘love the opera’ (i.e. enduring the noise for the opportunity to ‘be seen’) are not the people who enjoy music and maybe the occasional opera that actually offers an intense, psychologically true experience (as opposed to ‘fluff’) ….. So – four hours of Donittsini’s ‘Lucia di Scunthorpe’ or six hours of ‘Happy Valley’; no contest – Sarah Lancashire in ‘HappyValley’ every time, viscerally involving and relevant drama of the highest order!
    Re moving to Europe: as everyone knows, educating our young in the Arts is as much a problem in British schools as it is in the US.

    PS As someone involved in the world of child psychology, may I point out that it is Asperger Syndrome (after Hans Asperger). Sorry to be pedantic.

  • Stefano says:

    Unbeliavable. At last in 2011 a real conductor joins this small mediocre company and in 3 years he is able to put together beautiful shows with great local and national singers and stage directors, wins an award from the press for his achievements, is largely responsible for the unanimous positive and enthusiastic reviews of each show, is a great musician who knows about voices and operas, brings Opera in the Heights to be one of the hot spots of musical life of Houston….. AND HE IS FIRED???!!! SHAME ON THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS!!!!

  • itsjtime says:

    MELO is Carmelo Anthony and he is the overpaid small forward on the NY Knicks. the Knicks are complete crap this season. The only upside to this season is a high lottery pick in the draft and expiring contracts which will make free agent signings possible. The question will be, who wants to play in NY with a seemingly dis functional basketball situation and the pressure of playing in the worlds greatest arena?
    In baseball news, then Yankees have traded a valuably middle infield/utility player for a young hard thrower who will most likely be a backend starter.
    The Padres have bolstered there outfield with offense but are suspect defensively.
    and…the mets still suck.

  • Stephen Glenn says:

    Don’t be naïve. You don’t fire a conductor half-way through the season six days before Christmas because he conducts long operas. He doesn’t write them; the Board sets the agenda. In fact, Enrique’s name isn’t even on the season brochure. You fire a conductor because he’s not good. Doesn’t apply in this case because Enrique has gotten rave reviews on every opera since he’s been here. The other reason you fire the conductor is when you have a dysfunctional and mean-spirited Board. Merry Christmas to you Enrique, your wife, and your one-year old child.