Glyndebourne name Finn chief for Meistersinger

Glyndebourne name Finn chief for Meistersinger


norman lebrecht

March 23, 2016

The festival has replaced its recuperating music director Robin Ticciati for the season’s big production.

Michael Güttler, 49, principal conductor of Finnish National Opera will all performances of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the 2016 Festival. He starts rehearsal next week.


michael guttler


  • DESR says:

    He may be great… but who?!

  • erich says:

    They should have taken Anthony Negus rather rhan importing someone…

  • DESR says:

    I agree re Negus.

    But if he was too busy at Longborough, preparing Tannhauser, what does this say about Glyndebourne’s pulling power?

    Not a lot!

    • Eddie Mars says:

      Negus was committed to Longborough long before this unexpected situation arose. As a solid and highly-respected professional, Negus won’t just dump Longborough to conduct Meistersinger. That’s not how things are done 🙁

      Here is Michael Güttler in action – very impressive, I would say?!

      • DESR says:

        Sorry: my comment re pulling power was not meant to suggest that if they had any, Negus would have dumped Tannhauser, but that in the absence of Negus, could they not have got a ‘bigger’ name (i.e. with a more established reputation in this repertoire) to take this on?

        There is only one date in the Meistersinger run that Negus could not have done, given the Tannhauser performances, and he prepared the production in 2011… Might have needed the Christie helicopter to get between the two, however, and probably too much even for this heroic Wagnerian!

        Will take a look at the link now…

        • Eddie Mars says:

          I share your enthusiasm for Negus as a conductor – although he is really known only to a few outside Britain. More importantly though, for reasons of internal politics, it was clearly important to Glyndebourne that their own MD should step forward to conduct this important revival – and symbolically illustrate ‘passing the baton’ from Jurowsky to the new MD. Even if Ticciati’s reputation doesn’t lie in the Wagner repertoire at all.

          Personally, it would have made more sense to invite Jurowsky back to conduct it (assuming he’d have wanted to?) – or even to tie him into the revival contractually at the outset – and give Ticciati a new production of something in which he’d shine more brightly?

          We got* to one of the mid-run Meistersingers when it was first out, and it was an excellent show – although the Walther was a casting error. McVicar’s production is not only lively, but actually deals with the ‘nub’ of the piece… Sachs’s final oration about ‘the future of German music’, and the entire nation-building notion which lays beneath the surface. Güttler is an established Wagnerian, and I’m sure he will do a fine job with it.

          * by invitation – couldn’t afford it otherwise, what with the travel costs as well 🙁

          • DESR says:

            I saw it too, in 2011 – and deliberately went to the one show in the run which Negus conducted! How’s that for counter-cultural…

            It was very good indeed, as you say.

            Still doesn’t eclipse ENO’s absolutely spectacular Mastersingers of last year. Best all-round show and performances (of anything) I’ve seen for years and years: ROH, Bayreuth all included.

            And worst of all? Nothing was put in the can to record it for posterity. Another nail in the ENO board and management’s coffin as far as I am concerned.

            Anyway, not a problem Glyndebourne has with its endless cinecasts and DVDs.

            On Guttler: looks promising. Can he get the ebb and flow of the piece as Gardner did so beautifully at the Coli? That is the true test. Act 3 should always feel like an hour, not two.

          • Eddie Mars says:

            Glad you liked the Glyndebourne show :)) I couldn’t get to the ENO Mastersingers, and regretted missing it – one of my favourite directors, and the magnificent Andrew Shore too! I was working elsewhere, always a good reason (!) – and one can’t keep jetting all over Europe just to see operas – especially when the British pound exchange rate is prohibitively high for us distant dwellers.

            Beckmesser would have chalked-up endless flaws with ENO’s management on many issues, I’m sure. However, despite the English-translation policy which I have long endorsed and supported, it’s a fact that it cuts the legs from under any hope of flogging dvds or internet relays of ENO’s non-English work. Just look at the comments under ENO clips on YouTube – “Why in English? Why?”. There’s no easy answer to this, but I fear that ENO will have to bite the bullet on its English-language performance policy in the near future. Opera is an internationally saleable commodity, and shackling its legs by singing in translations is working against the company’s long-term interests. I’m sure Lilian Baylis would not have bolted herself in a corner like this. It also affects casting – fewer and fewer performers want to learn the ENO translation of something, in order to sing there. While getting a last-minute cover performer for something is nigh impossible. [Yes, I was there the night Siegfried Jerusalem sang his role in German…]

          • DESR says:

            I would have thought there would be a market for opera in English, especially Wagner like the Ring and Meistersinger. Great to learn pieces by.

            It’s not the same in another language if you don’t speak it and hear it – even with subtitles.

            That said, I cannot stand Italian opera in English! So I am hardly being consistent.

  • Fliederdialog says:

    Negus is a treasure trove of knowledge and experience concerning Wagner and how to perform his music, and his knowledge of the style is pure gold; he’s just not that natural a conductor. I imagine they had their sights set on someone with a more rounded ability, Tony’s commitments at Longborough notwithstanding. Let’s hope Mo. Güttler has that.

  • Iain Scott says:

    I had rather hoped they would bring in Lothar Koenigs who was wonderful in the WNO production