Brit conductor lands German post

A new Generalmusikdirektor has been announced in Wuppertal.

It’s Julia Jones, 54, sometime principal conductor at Basle Opera and Lisbon.

She’s a prophet without honour in her own country, having conducted only once at Covent Garden.



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  • Indeed. And Wuppertal is no mean post. A lot of important things have happened there over the years, and she has some distinguished predecessors, Fritz Lehmann for one.

  • Wuppertal is hardly a front line theater, it’s a very provincial theater in a grimy industrial city. It’s had a series of crises about its every existence. That’s no reflection on Jones, who’s career seems to have stalled afte a very promising beginning.

  • Wuppertal has a superb orchestra these days, by no means provincial, thanks in many ways to its present Japanese MD, who has charisma by the bucketful. The orchestra plays in a superb mock-baroque concert hall (historische Stadthalle) which has superb accoustcs. Many CDs have been made, most recently for a Japanese label;, including a riveting Beethoven 9. The newly rebuilt opera house was opened a few years ago, and there is also a Schauspielhaus, so the local authority is clearly arts-friendly. All good wishes to Ms Jones – she’s not the first British MD though: I believe Howard Griffiths held the post not long ago.

    Has ‘Respect’ ever been to Wuppertal, or attended a concert/opera there. I have, many times – he does the place a gross injustice!!!

  • If you think Wuppertal’s provincial, you know very little about the arts in Germany. And Berthold Schneider is the new Intendant. Exciting times, indeed!

    • I totally agree, Dominic – I see a lot of opera in Germany and it is nearly always of the very highest standard: this last weekend a superbly sing production in English of Owen Wingrave at Osanbruck, Smareglia’s 1897 opera La Falena(romantic, melodious, sensual, erotic) at Braunschweig and Circes Princess and Golden Cockerel at Dussledorf. All superbly staged – with inexpensive seats. I also had the good fortune to hear one of he quartets from the Dusseldof S O play Ginastera, Schumann and Mozart on Sunday morning! None of this was anything like provincial!!! Good luck to Ms Jones!

  • This weird notion that orchestras are competing for the services of conductors and soloists and that the presence of an artist in a country, or with an orchestra, indicates the relative status of one or the other. “Such and such an orchestra has attracted so-and-so…” “Artists like so-and-so are flocking to work in…”. Honestly! It’s a business. If you can pay the fee, and if you book ’em, by and large they will come. Simple as that.

    True enough, there are plenty of valid artistic reasons why some organisations don’t book some artists, with no blame attaching to either party. Not all relationships click, even at a high level. But there are plenty of completely non-artistic reasons why people don’t get booked. Fees. Diary clashes. Travel schedules. One British conductor active on the continent was the subject of “why oh why is this great maestro not revered in philistine little England” newspaper profiles for years, when all the while, and for several years, UK orchestras were repeatedly trying to book him – only to be met with obstruction from agents and a diary that was too full to make anything work. Eventually he did actually work with a few UK orchestras…and that lofty reputation shrank like a punctured balloon.

    None of this is any comment on Ms Jones: I haven’t heard her but wish her all the best.

  • In Britain it’s less that ‘a local is not revered’ but more that women Britiah conductors are given nary a glance….at least Germany has the ovaries to consider folks mostly on talent. (The philharmonic gender bias notwithstanding….that’s the myopic view of the musicians who vote not the administration)

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