Maestro move: Speranza wins her first big job

Maestro move: Speranza wins her first big job


norman lebrecht

April 20, 2017

Speranza Scappucci has been named principal conductor of the Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Liège. She starts later this year, and it’s a real coup for the Belgians.

She’s big in Vienna and Amsterdam.

And she has got nice shoes.


  • AMetFan says:

    Pay attention opera lovers. Speranza is going to be big. She’s got the musical and leadership goods in spades.

  • Don Ciccio says:

    She did a good, not great job in Washington Opera’s La Cenerentola last season. That said, good luck to her. She can only grow.

  • AMetFan says:

    Speranza was nothing short of superb in Vienna this season No qualifications. Perhaps the Viennese audience is less discerning than in DC.

    • Don Ciccio says:

      You are confusing the tastes of the Viennese with yours. It may be a good time to tell why you thought she is “superb […] no qualifications”. Here’s why I thought she was good but not great.

      The positives: the orchestra was a little bit cleaner than usual; not mistake-free, but what can you expect when the music director (Philippe Auguin, much better conductor IMO and definitely with a broader repertoire) only leads one opera a season? There was some lack of coordination between stage and pit but again, much less than usual. This is certainly a pro.

      But what it lacked was sparkle. Yes, the singers were not perhaps the most charismatic lot and this again gave to the impression of a good not great evening. But they were not energized from the podium. For all the qualities, it simply did not catch fire.

  • Fricka1969 says:

    I had the pleasure of hearing and seeing Speranza conduct in vienna ( fantastic Cenerentola and Traviata) and most recently in Liege ( Jerusalem by Verdi) .in all 3 performances she had complete control of the pit, the stage , singers and chorus! Great sense of theater and at the same time amazing control of the orchestra! She is simply fantastic and deserves to be where she is . I also saw a video of her co dicting Symphonic music and she excels there too…

  • Karajon says:

    Maybe opera is good for her. So far I only heard a symphonic concert with her, and that was weak.

  • Iain scott says:

    Scottish Opera booked her for a new production of Don Giovanni. The real problem was her conducting was massively controlling. When she finally let up in the last act it was great. Great personality and good musician-just needs to let the players off the leash.

    • Don Ciccio says:

      Yes. It was precisely this controlling that led to less technical errors than usual in Washington but an ultimately unsatisfying musical experience overall.

    • Bruce says:

      Never seen or heard a performance, but that is a typical trait of young conductors. Hopefully she will learn (as many but not all do) that relaxing the reins and trusting your musicians usually yields better results and leads to a happier working relationship.

  • Arabella says:

    Don Giovanni at Scottish Opera was one of the first things Speranza ever conducted: ever since she has had enormous success in Vienna LA Amsterdam, Torino etc . Did you see her Carmen ouverture for the Opera Ball? Talk about SPARKS ! An artist develops , grows and of course the level of te orchestra can also make a difference . Scottish Opera lately has not exactly been the liveliest and most energetic orchestra around! I don’t think that being “controlling” is necessarily a bad thing ! Nowadays conductors in opera tend to “follow” singers and not lead them ! There has to be a good balance between the two . Maybe in Scotland , being one of her first experiences , she might have been more inflexible , but I saw her Sonnambula in NY . It was magic ! Freedom to the si gets within a great frame of interpretation! Kudos to this young talented musician on the podium

    • Iain Scott says:

      My goodness these conductors ! Who needs an orchestra? They just stand there and magic wonderful or dreadful performances. The truth is most orchestras carry conductors. There are a few wonderful musicians who also happen to be great conductors and when you see and hear them collaborating-yes collaborating- with an orchestra it is a joy.
      A small but important point …can I clarify if you have actually been to Scottish Opera Arabella? Have you heard the orchestra?