Watch out for Barenboim’s new protégé

Watch out for Barenboim’s new protégé


norman lebrecht

October 29, 2018

One of the less celebrated aspects of Daniel Barenboim’s multifarious life is his constant attention to advancing the next generation. No maestro presently on stage has given more disciples a chance to shine.

Yesterday, at Berlin’s Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Barenboim handed over the last performance of the opening run of  an acclaimed Medée to his assistant conductor Victorien Vanoosten.

‘Surprise of the day,’ was Vanoosten’s reaction.

Thirty-four years old, from Amiens in northern France, Vanoosten gave what we hear was a brilliant performance, leading a cast of Sonya Yoncheva, Elsa Dreisig, Charles Castronovo and Marina Prudenskaya.




  • James says:

    Well, yes, but if I’d paid to see Barenboim conduct I’d be pretty ticked off.

    • John Borstlap says:

      In most cases, the musical component of opera performances is to be listened to, not to look at.

      • Bruce says:

        Nevertheless, if he’d paid to see Barenboim… 😛

      • Petros Linardos says:

        Once at the Musikverein I saw the audience and the hall, but listened to an orchestra and piano soloist – my seat had obstructed view of the stage. That was 38 years ago. I remember some good music, but nothing remarkable about the audience. Hall looked the same as always.

      • Thomasina says:

        My grandfather who went to ” Der Rosenkavalier ” with Kleiber (1994 in Tokyo) says he didn’t like this opera so much but he paid to see Kleiber and he had hardly seen the stage. Fortunately he was able to do both – looking Kleiber and listening the music at the same time.

  • Caravaggio says:

    Well, Barenboim’s way with this difficult score went for little. Hopefully something better came of the appointment.

  • Quintus Beckmesser says:

    I admire Barenboim for everything except his conducting.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      What about his piano playing?

    • Ted says:

      I don’t usually like him but he has done one amazing thing: a performance if AIDA at Deutsche Oper Berlin from 1982, with Julia Varady, Stefania Toczyska, Pavarotti, Fischer-Dieskau, andMatti Salminen. It’s really hot, one of the best renditions of AIDA you’re likely to find, not just because of the amazing cast but also because of really crisp, thrilling conducting.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Well, he may not be to your taste (he isn’t particularly to my taste either). But he would not have become director of Chicago, Paris, La Scala and the Berlin Staatskapelle if he was a mediocre conductor.

  • Nathan Redshield says:

    From the movie “Jackie and Me” I learned that Barenboim was a real rodent in his personal life. I did attend his last concert as Director of the Chicago Symphony with Mahler and the Bruckner Ninth in May 2005. Great concert; someone booed (not me) at the end, though.

  • Anon says:

    Wonderful musician – rude as hell to the orchestra. Won’t elaborate….

  • RW2013 says:

    It’s not unusual to give the musical assistant the last performance when it’s up and running (and as a reward for putting up with Frau Breth for so many weeks).
    Some very disgruntled noises in the first balcony when it was announced that DB wasn’t conducting.

  • Rob says:

    No Thanks