Salzburg can’t replace Mariss Jansons

Salzburg can’t replace Mariss Jansons


norman lebrecht

December 11, 2019

Booking for the 2020 summer festival opens today and they are still listing poor Mariss as conductor for Boris Godunov.

Everyone’s expecting Gergiev to jump in, but maybe he’s not answering his phone.





  • Tamino says:

    Best way to reach him is through his pilot.

  • AB says:

    I strongly hope, that he will not jump in. That they will find not only someone who is able to beat through the piece with a common undetailed “energy wave”, but a refined conductor, attentive to the details and who would have an interesting interpretation idea. I have heard Gergiev so many times in BORIS – always the same generalised aggression/energy under the sauce of “mysterious Russian soul”.

    There are definitely more interesting musical choices, than taking the most booked, the most evident Russian name for it, who will never rehearse, will always be late, but will guarantee for a loud and mediocre musical result.

    • Fan says:

      Go to hell A B. If you don’t like Gergiev, go listen to his early recordings. I dare you to find something better, more detailed, refined, or rehearsed.

      • Tamino says:

        Why are his later recordings not good?

        • Fan says:

          Well, the quality varies for his later recordings, but for the initiated, still some gems out there. We do all agree that he’s not what he used to be anymore, most of the time. But every once in a while, great concerts still happen.

      • Charles says:

        “I dare you to find something better… rehearsed.”

        That made me laugh. A lot.

      • AB says:

        Dear Fan, I may go to hell, for sure. But not because of my opinion about Gergiev. I know his early recordings very well. And 10-15 years ago I have seen several unforgettable performances of him. Since then unfortunately, I have seen plenty underrehearsed shows, shows when he was late, shows where he got lost or was physically present but mentally elsewhere but not with his orchestra and singers. I think, his way of work with over 300 concerts/shows a year may be efficient for his wallet and his theatre, but not a serious artist research, which needs time, contemplation and collective worksite the whole team. He was late for the rehearsals and sometimes missed the stage orchestra rehearsals even in Bayreuth. So I better listen to his early recordings than see him in Salzburg again. At the moment for me he is a guarantee that the show will reveal no artistic discoveries.

        • Nik says:

          His Khovanshchina in Milan last season was routine at best, and properly fell apart a few times. Admittedly it’s a challenging work to conduct with multiple choruses to coordinate, but with iron discipline and plenty of rehearsals it can be wonderful, as I remember it from Abbado. Gergiev did not deliver.

  • Brian says:

    Mahler 2 comes to mind…

    Seriously, though, it’s pretty embarrassing for a festival of this stature, which sells what is bound to be among the most expensive classical-music tickets on the planet, not to have the resources to change “Mariss Jansons” to “N.N.”

    The Mahler Festival in Leipzig has already done this for the concert this late, great musician was due to conduct on 17 May 2021…

  • Rob says:

    Gergiev is a very good conductor and he certainly knows the score and his recording is right up there.

    • Tamino says:

      Of course he is. we are just joking around.
      He is overextended though, and the quality of his work suffers. He does too often not live up to his full potential.
      Which in a way is fraud.

  • Brian says:

    It might be fitting to hire a woman conductor after Jansons’ comments a couple years ago that they weren’t his “cup of tea.”

    Then again, with Salzburg now sponsored by Gazprom, Gergiev would be certainly appropriate.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Really…he was speaking in his fourth language and made a clumsy phrase: he was trying to say that he expected there to be plenty of female conductors in the future but that when he was growing up there were none, so he isn’t really used to seeing them.

    • Nomen Nescio says:

      That`s so hetero-normative white-privileged colonialism of you to require only a female conductor. Social justice warriors needs more, woke up, people. Also, liberals ought not to receive the tainted money of conservatives. And conservatives should stop paying the bills.

  • Nik says:

    “Everyone’s expecting…”
    Do you have an actual source for this? Who is “everyone”?

  • Maestro says:

    Maybe his buddy Vlad Putin already has him booked for those dates.

    • Tamino says:

      I like Putin. He is a sharper knife in the drawer than almost anyone we have in our western „free“ countries. Merkel decent too, but under restraining transatlantic control. The rest, OMG, puppets of plutocratic puppet masters. And a mad barking dog in the White House.
      Don‘t complain about Putin. Look at the disastrous state of our own governments. Good luck Britain tomorrow with your election between Pest and Cholera.

  • Melania says:

    Maybe they can’t replace Maestro Jansons because he is just … irreplaceable!

  • Karl says:

    How about a Mariss Jansons hologram?

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Mariss Jansons died 11 days ago. How reasonable is it to expect Salzburg to secure within such a short time frame a world famous conductor for an operatic production for next summer? Conductors of international stature are booked years in advance. Opera productions are not weekend flings.

  • Greg says:

    If one bothered to visit the Salzburg Festival website, one would see this:

    “The Salzburg Festival mourns the loss of Mariss Jansons. We can only look back with the utmost gratitude to all the stellar moments he gave the Festival over the course of almost thirty years, a truly unheard-of gift.

    Whoever succeeds him as conductor of the opera Boris Godunov will be announced on our website as soon as possible.”

  • Brian says:

    I recall seeing a Tanglewood posting earlier this year, can’t remember whether online or in print, probably sometime in March — listing Previn as conductor at a scheduled summer concert. It was definitely weeks after his death and I remarked, “well, that ought to sell out all right…”

  • Boris says:

    Michail Jurowski is a master and is doing it in Munich in March. Perhaps he would do it…..

  • Gustavo says:

    Alpensinfonie with Mariss still up for sale:

    Vision – Nebel steigen auf…

  • Zarmosas says:

    Why not T Sokhiev great conductor and in love with this score

  • Gustavo says:

    It’s NN now.


    Neeme Nelsons