Death of an Austrian maestro, 78

The opera conductor Friedemann Layer died today in Berlin.

He was best known in France, where he was chief conductor of the orchestre national and the opéra of Montpellier for 13 years, 1994-2007.

Having started out as an assistant to Herbert von Karajan, Layer was exceptionally considerate to singers and staff members.




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  • A lovely man to work with and a fine musician. As mentioned above he was most considerate with his singers and everyone working o a production. RIP Friedemann.

  • It was always a pleasure to work with Friedemann Layer. An excellent musician, he thought of himself as “part of the team” and was genuinely always thoughtful and considerate with his singers and collaborators.

  • Some years ago I saw him conduct Rosenkavalier in Toulouse. At one point he seemed to give a confusing cue to the orchestra (I hadn’t noticed). His gesture of apology (to the orch) was eloquent and unmistakable.

  • He was a great conductor. I sang Elektra, Faerberin, Ortrud at the Nationaltheater Mannheim many times, Elektra at the Dresden Semper Oper. He took me to Dresden as, he called me, “his Elektra”. I adored him and cherished our performances together. I will miss him.

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