Maestro move: Religious Israeli becomes chief conductor in Georgia

The much-travelled Daniel Oren, 62, has been named music director at Opera Tbilisi, in the capital of Georgia.

Oren, who often conducts in a Jewish skullcap, will start work next month.

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    • I wonder if there wasn’t a video what your perception would have been. Yes, his mannerisms and gestures seem ludicrous and cartoonish, but all that should matter is what are the results. He’s been around long enough and conducted in quite a few prestigious venues – he must have something going for himself.

        • Oh thank you you Harold. One of my favourite operas but didn’t know this version was just so coarse, heavy and stylistic until you brought it to my attention. Must be the weight of the yarmulke that is the cause of his reprehensible performance.

          • Seriously ALSN? The weight of his yarmulke? You could say you don’t like his version or even that you think that he is not a good conductor.(although the people who invited him to conduct at the Met and Bastille would disagree…)
            But saying it’s the weight of his yarmulke is just pure antisemitism not even in disguise.
            Uterly disgusting.

    • “Horrible”? Seriously? This guy’s perfectly good and gets the job done. It is vigorous, committed music making. My guess is you’re not much of a conductor yourself, if one at all. In a world with so much boring performance going on, who has time to criticize this?

      • You don´t seem to know much about Mozart.albeit of the fact that he has no conducting technique at all…i am not really into historically informed performance,but you shouldn´t do it like a poor Bruckner performance…

  • Might this mean he doesn’t have time to inflict his clumsy, musically-sterile conducting on us poor Covent Garden regulars with quite such depressing frequency? One does hope so…

    • Or maybe “one” doesn’t but others do. But of course Daphne is a “poor Covent Garden regular” so must “know something” we ordinary mortals don’t.

  • maybe his yamulka brings him blessings.his numerous recordings esp opera are amazing and have brought him fantastic reviews….he certainly is a doyen amongst conductors and highly respected

    • I saw him conduct Aida there in the 90s and he made the most spectacular dog’s dinner of the Act 2 finale. One of the worst cacophonies I’ve ever witnessed in my 30 years of opera going.

  • It is very difficult for observant Jews to be successful in any of the performing arts (except possibly in Israel) because of their inability to work Friday nights, Saturday matinees and many other days as well. Then there are issues of living and working in areas where there is no Jewish community and difficulties involved in finding Kosher food, going to synagogue, Jewish schools for their kids, etc. I’m glad that the state of Georgia, not known as so Jew friendly, is giving this guy a chance

  • I was in the Mozarteum summer academy with the 16-year old or so Oren back around 1971 or 1972, and he was a prodigy, extremely talented. He has had a successful career since then. Often heard him at the opera when I lived in Rome in 1980. Nothing amiss.

  • Why does he conduct in the ROH sans yarmulke? Dress code?

    This might be difficult to believe, but about 16 – 20 years ago I came across an internet article in Italian where he claimed his parents were one Jewish, the other a Palestinian. I remember thinking this was his equivalent of the Barenboim maneuver to survive as an Israeli artist in Europe, which was extremely difficult back then – it’s only a little better now.

    Someone here once called him a hack. I agree.

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