Breaking: Daniel Barenboim undergoes eye operation

Breaking: Daniel Barenboim undergoes eye operation


norman lebrecht

February 13, 2019

The conductor has been forced to withdraw from  Jörg Widmann’s opera Babylon in order to submit to surgery on his right eye, which doc tors say cannot be delayed.

Barenboim says he has made the decision with great regret since he feels a close connection to Widmann, conducting one of his works every single year.

He hopes to be well enough to conduct Widmann’s Babylon Suite in subscription concerts on 25 and 26 February. The opera will be taken over at short notice by Christopher Ward, who was involved in the world premiere in Munich.

press statement:

(Berlin, 13.02.19) Daniel Barenboim musste sich kurzfristig einer Operation an seinem rechten Auge unterziehen und wird daher zu seinem großen Bedauern Jörg Widmanns Oper BABYLON nicht dirigieren können. Diese Absage schmerzt Daniel Barenboim ganz besonders, da er sich Jörg Widmann seit vielen Jahren sehr verbunden fühlt, jedes Jahr mindestens eine seiner Kompositionen zur Aufführung bringt und mit der Staatskapelle Berlin alle großen sinfonischen Werke gespielt hat. Er hofft in den Abonnementkonzerten am 25. und 26. Februar Jörg Widmanns »Babylon-Suite« dirigieren zu können. Das Dirigat von BABYLON übernimmt nun kurzfristig Christopher Ward, der bereits in München bei der Uraufführung entscheidend beteiligt war.



  • Viola da Bracchio says:

    Wishing DB a swift recovery. Being incapacitated, even if only briefly and with the best care, is a miserable business.

  • Rosemary Forbes-Butler says:

    In your recent DB thread somebody wrote that there was a bad Elektra perf because he really couldn’t see properly or read the score,

    We wish him well

  • NYMike says:

    Possibly a detached retina…..

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    I hope he will C# after surgery.

  • Zacharias Galaviz Guerra says:

    Wishing the Maestro the best. The world is better with him making music in it.

    • Robert Groen says:

      Exactly right. The man’s a towering musical giant. As for his eye, just looking at a Widmann score may have caused him corneal or retinal problems.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Certain types of score are more harmful to look at than other types. Some musicologists claim that the passage in the woodwinds at nr 11 in Schoenberg’s ‘Vorgefühle’ (1st of the Five Orchestral Pieces), where the parts appear out of sync, are due to an attack of squinting.