Wagnerian bass-baritone is Latvia’s new boss

Wagnerian bass-baritone is Latvia’s new boss


norman lebrecht

November 05, 2019

The bass-baritone Egils Siliņš has taken over as director of the Latvian National Opera and Ballet from today.

Siliņš, 57, has sung Wagner internationally for 30 years, notably at Amsterdam and Covent Garden. He made his Bayreuth debut in Lohengrin in 2018.

At Riga, where Wagner was once music director, he has a five-year contract.



  • RW2013 says:

    Not exactly the latest news, but I hope he doesn’t only hire his directors simply because they are Latvian – I remember seeing a hideous Rake’s Progress by a local directress.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Egils Silins has done unusual things such as the title role in Anton Rubinstein’s “The Demon” recorded with Fedosoyev and the Vienna Symphony there’s an extraordinary photo of Chaliapin in the part; he recorded an aria from it.

    Hermann Sherchen also once held the post at the Riga opera house.

    • Novagerio says:

      Leo Blech and Clemens Krauss too. Other conductors who worked there (in prussian times) were Bruno Walter, Fritz Busch, Erich Kleiber, Otto Klemperer and Hermann Abendroth. A historic opera house in short.

  • Edgar Self says:

    An extraordinary roster, Novagerio, thanks. With such conductors Riga must have ben a major European opera house. Recent visitors described it as right in the center of the city. But no Russian names among them, all from the German side.

    • P says:

      Russian names don’t exactly belong in Riga…so let the man be!

      • Novagerio says:

        P: Really? 34.0% of the population in Latvia are ethnic russians, and that out of a population of some 1.9m.

        • Saxon Broken says:

          Russian speaking only becomes common in Latvia after WW2. Before then it was Latvian speaking (or related Baltic languages) with a Baltic German speaking elite. Most educated people in Riga would have heard and spoken German regularly before WW2.