What Yannick says he’ll do next

The Met’s new music director has been speaking to media beyond New York.

Montreal?

He tells Peter Dobrin in Philadelphia: ‘I will keep a minimal presence in Montréal until 2020-21, this is when my actual contract is up with Orchestre Métropolitain.’

Europe?

‘My guest-conducting in Europe will be sensibly reduced. Just select dates in Berlin, Vienna, and Munich, and that’s pretty much it. So I made the choice to be a very much Northeast American.’

Repertoire?

He tells Christophe Huss in Le Devoir that his next three opera at the Met will be Germanic, starting with Flying Dutchman. After that, he wants to do some Britten, with a smaller orchestra, away from the Met stage:  un peu plus de Britten, avec un orchestre un peu plus petit, ailleurs que sur la scène du Met.

Co-productions?

He wants to reduce Gelb’s reliance on European co-pros: C’est une très bonne politique de Peter Gelb de faire des coproductions afin de reprendre les créations qui se font ailleurs et d’en donner une version optimisée au Met, mais ce qui me fascine, c’est d’accompagner le processus de création depuis le début. Il faut que le Metropolitan Opera programme davantage de créations.

Outreach work in Philadelphia?

‘Geographically with New York being so close and the way I rehearse a new production of an opera, and there are five or six weeks of rehearsal, that doesn’t mean I am required every single day. So there are moments when I can commute and have two days to do meaningful things with the community outside the subscription series and come back to Philadelphia to do a pop-up or play-in or work with All-City Orchestra.’

And Montreal, again? Il est trop tôt, je n’ai pas d’idée sur ce qu’il adviendra de ma relation avec l’Orchestre Métropolitain après 2021. Une chose est sûre : j’aurais toujours des liens avec le Métropolitain. La forme est à définir.

 

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  • Sad news for us Europeans. To hear this exceptional artist, one will have to travel to Berlin, Vienna or… Munich? Only if he doesn’t conduct in the Gasteig…

  • Is it so passé now to commit just to one organisation? There seems to be an arms race among the 30-, 40- something set to see who has the most appointments (separated by the greatest distance on the globe).

    Monogamy seems to be the exception now, and only with the older generation: Rattle and Berlin then with London, Chailly and La Scala, FWM and Cleveland…

    (The greatest distance winner must be Jaap van Zweden: between Dallas (soon NY) and Hong Kong)

  • What about Rotterdam? I’ve only seen him once at Edinburgh and hated him as he micro-managed ever player – pointing at them your next, now it’s your turn etc. Maybe he’s a better opera conductor?

  • Yes, what about Rotterdam? Pity he isn’t more loyal to the ensembles who gave him positions when he was a relative unknown.

    • Actually he is.He didn’t give up the Orchestre Metropolitain in Montreal….even making recordings with them for a smaller label…

    • Given that he’s taking the title of Honorary Conductor in Rotterdam, I am sure it is not a far stretch to assume he will remain a regular visitor.

  • And it looks as if his commitment to Metropolitaine will go on, in somewhat altered and of course less frequent ways.

    • He’s been involving more and more young conductors with the OM. For a while, it was “Yannick’s Orchestra”; now, he (and they) clearly want to make it a valuable orchestra of high standard in its own right. Julian Kuerti is Principal Guest Conductor, Cristian Macelaru (his assistant in Philadelphia) has been conducting quite a bit, etc. Chances are he’ll move on to an emeritus status and come back for a prestige concert and a few more, or something like that. The orchestra is now strong enough to thrive without him being the figurehead.

  • How nice for Montreal! Their orchestra’s music director will keep a “minimal” presence in their city until he is no longer contractually obligated to do so! I sure hope they realize how lucky they are.

    • Dude, the Orchestre Métropolitain wasn’t a whole lot more than a semi-pro community orchestra when he took the reins there back in 2000. Now they have respected recordings of Mahler and Bruckner, a level of international recognition, and much better guest conductors than ever before.

      With Yannick’s career going the way it has, he’d have been justified in leaving them ten years ago, but he has remained loyal to them. He’s even known to have passed up at least one engagement with the Berlin Philharmonic in order to do the local holiday concerts he was committed to doing with the Orchestre Métropolitain.

      They know there’s a limit to what they can expect of him there now that he has at the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera, and they’re fine with that. They’re proud of Yannick, and he’s proud of them.

      So save your damn snark for someone who really deserves it – heaven knows there are plenty of those.

    • I would be confident that most of us Montrealers are grateful that Yannick keeps coming back to this city with an orchestra that, frankly, while very good, is an aberration given the level of his other engagements. Whatever you can say about the Métropolitain, it is not the Rotterdam, London, or Berlin Philharmonics, and it is not the Philadelphia. So we are happy to see Nézet-Séguin for his love of the city, of ‘his’ orchestra, and of music. Honestly, we prefer him being a big fish in a big pond to being an oversize fish in a small pond.

      Also, he states clearly that he will keep ties to the OM after 2021, so it’s not a case of just waiting to be rid of contractual obligations. Also, the OM is not full-time, so we can’t really expect him to stay here all year-round, can we?

  • Remains to be seen if he can keep the flame alive for a decade or more with this degree of over commitment, he strikes me as being a Charles Munch type of great intensity perhaps less concerned with precision than a Levine. At least he will be spared constant jet lag. Shame they couldn’t find someone willing o make a comparable commitment as Levine did for decades. Some can triumph like this, others end as Sinopoli did. Time will tell.

    • Well, there are worse ways for a conductor to finish his life than the way Sinopoli did, even though it was way too soon.

  • I don’t think he’ll have much say over co-productions. In the modern world, they are a financial necessity. Just give him a chance. He is very good at Bruckner in the concert hall, so this may give hope he’ll be good at Wagner. Some critics are carping on that conducting Carmen well isn’t good enough. I have heard a lot of so called top conductors screw up Carmen, most notably the current chief conductor of the Berlin Phil… YNS’s Rusalka at ROH was very good and his Don Carlo at the Met was good as well. Keeping the obligations to the same part of the world is sensible. Nelsons on the other hand could struggle.

  • You shouldn’t be too sad as we still have not only the better conductors here in Europe but also the more suitable houses – this monster of a MET is always a nightmare. YNS did a ok job with Otello last year bit nothing compared with Tony Pappano. We have Petrenko in Munich, the best combination existing at the moment. Best Maestro, fabulous orchestra and the right house plus great casts. Currentzis is more here than in the US, fabulous too. And if Thielemann conducts Wagner or Strauss it’s hardly to top either even if he has a Russian Elsa with horrible accents. In the US you have boring Eschenbach, mediocre Welser-Moest and let Nelsons proof if he is so great….alors amici, no complain!

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