Alondra gets postponed by Berlin

Alondra gets postponed by Berlin


norman lebrecht

February 06, 2020

The Mexican conductor Alondra de la Parra had a torrid time at her Berlin debut in Magic Flute at the Staatsoper, so much so that she was replaced for its revival. However, she was promptly asked back to conduct a Tchaikovsky ballet this month.

No more.

The ballet has been kicked down the schedule to October.



  • Fact checker says:

    I think you mean Deutsche Staatsoper. Deutsche Oper is different company.

    • Andreas B. says:

      The two houses in question are called
      1. ‘Staatsoper Unter den Linden’
      2. ‘Deutsche Oper Berlin’

      Therefore, the post is indeed confusing:

      While it is correct that Zauberflöte was at Staatsoper, “asked back to conduct” is still somewhat misleading:
      the ballet production is at a different house with a different orchestra
      (‘Staatskapelle’ vs. ‘Orchester der Deutschen Oper’)

  • Novagerio says:

    A nice way to tell her to stay away from opera and still satisfy her agent…

  • Salome says:

    Not surprising. I couldn’t agree more with the review for her Magic Flute: ” There are a great many conductors out there with both experience and Mozart expertise who could have taken over for the ailing Franz Welser-Möst. De la Parra floundered from the very first chord. She has no ability to bring shape and tension to a phrase, no sense of which tempi might work for the singers, and no idea what to do when things fall apart — which they do, with appalling frequency.”

  • Name says:

    I worked with her last year. Atrocious. She couldn’t handle one of the top three most common violin concertos, tried to bring the orchestra in early on a cadenza, thankfully we knew better and essentially ignored her the whole concert.

  • Bruce says:

    In case she really is as bad as people say: yikes. It is possible to be a bad ballet conductor just like you can be a bad opera conductor.

    We briefly had a assistant conductor who was assigned to conduct The Nutcracker. The orchestra knew (and still knows) that score inside out; we had the same visiting ballet company, with the same soloists, that we had had for several years already. This conductor insisted on varying the tempo at all and any times to “keep pace” with the dancers. Half the orchestra tried to follow her*, and half the orchestra knew what she was doing was wrong and tried to keep the tempo steady. Result: a couple of very sloppy performances, which she blamed us for since we weren’t “following” her. I can’t imagine that the dancers were too happy, either, to have their soundtrack constantly changing speed and falling apart.

    Fortunately, our music director was in town and came to a performance. He had a word with her and things got better after that. She wasn’t with us much longer.

    *(Yes, it was a female conductor. I really wanted her to be good, but she just wasn’t. This was in the late 90s, before hiring women conductors was a cause célèbre. Credit to our music director for giving it a try; credit also for recognizing that it wasn’t working.)

    • V.Lind says:

      I worked very closely with a particular (large and front rank) ballet company for several seasons. This meant attending many rehearsals, including in the theatre with orchestra. The company had its own orchestra and conductor.

      More than once I heard him in discussion with a very experienced, very intelligent, principal dancer and assuring her that HE would follow HER and to do a particular scene just as she wanted. They knew each other very well — perhaps the same offer would not have been forthcoming to a newer dancer — but it was clear that he trusted the ballerina to know what was wanted onstage and to deliver it. And he knew that the musicians were there to serve the ballet, and the living participants on the stage.

      • Bruce says:

        That’s lovely, when it happens. I’ve witnessed many discussions between the conductor and a principal dancer to the effect of “All right, orchestra, the coda will be a little faster tomorrow night and Saturday, when so-and-so dances this role, and be ready to hold right before the final chord, so I can coordinate it with her landing.” This was not that.

  • minacciosa says:

    It is amazing that some conductors continually seem to fall up despite their inability to perform at the requisite level being demonstrated repeatedly. With a large pool of competent talent available, it would seem wise for orchestra managements to change what is clearly a losing game in the selection of newer conductors. They could do better just by perusing Youtube.

  • Herr Doktor says:

    Is it possible that Alondra de la Parra is the conducting version of Florence Foster Jenkins?

    (I don’t know…I’ve never heard her live or in recording….but it sure seems that way based on the comments others are making here.)

  • Ainslie says:

    Being a competent (or even exceptionally talented) symphony conductor does not automatically ensure success as an opera or ballet conductor. The latter two have a skill set that cannot be attained by superior musicianship and/or conducting skills.
    The naive eagerness of symphonic conductors to take on opera and ballet without a serious apprenticeship in either is a splendid example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

  • Pilgrim56 says:

    This post by NL shows once more his superficial knowledge of the world of music.
    And it shows his poor joy of dismissing musicians.

    Poor him.

    Alondra de la Parra just conducted the Orchestra of Komische Oper Berlin on Jan 31st with enormous success.

    Those who try to bully her here: talk to the musicians there, please.

    They, the musicians of KOB, don’t post or comment here, as they are happy with their life and profession. Those who join the unfair and ugly commenting here must be as unhappy as NL.

    I pitty them, all of you, once more.

    • Mike says:

      Alot of musicians who have worked with her have commented. I have worked with her dozens of times so I will therefore comment. She is atrocious.

    • Mike says:

      Oh, and I am very happy with my life both personally and professionally.

    • Name says:

      I couldn’t agree more, I feel pity for those musicians who can’t deal with the success of Alondra de la Parra.

      • Tamino says:

        In my many years of experience, I got the idea, that in average musicians deal very well with the success of fellow musicians. If they are any good, that is…

    • RW2013 says:

      What’s thrown out by the Staatskapelle is lapped up by the KOB…
      Ich lach mich tot!

    • Agile Canary says:

      As you’re here commenting too, presumably you’d include yourself in that unhappy bunch?

      Those with solely professional experience of her know she’s atrocious. Do you really think the musicians of the KOB would speak honestly about her to someone with whom she has a personal connection, Pilgrim56?

      She is all PR, all ego, and an awful conductor. That’s why people comment, nothing else.

  • FrauGeigerin says:

    She is in the top 10% of the most incompetent popular “conductors” out there (and that is saying a lot because the world of conducting is full of incompetents and fakes!). But hey, she meets the requirements of the current fashion: woman and minority (latin american).

    • Tamino says:

      It really shows that agents apparently have too much power in this nepotistic business.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        The power of agents is largely illusionary. The real issue is that once reasonably well known, there are conductors who will help shift tickets to the general public despite the fact the the orchestras don’t rate their competence. The fact that the tickets get sold mean these conductors keep being hired.

  • Damien says:

    Mr. Lebrecht, you again are completely wrong. She did go back to the second run of the Zauberflöte AND she is now rehearsing Swan Lake with the Staatsballet AND she will do the production of Sleeping Beauty in the fall. The only truth here is that you really want to attack her. What does that say about you?

  • Mumrez says:

    Hmmm. There is one thing most of the (relatively unpleasant, to say the least) comments below have in common, which reminds me of a joke starting with: “Well, no, I have not read your book, BUT my opinion is…” So, as to me – I actually did go to the Staatsoper to see the “Zauberflöte” in person, I happen to be a professional musician and I have definitely seen worse things than this… Just really wondering, where so much poison is coming from.

  • Corinna Erlebach says:

    As press officer of Staatsballett Berlin I would like to point out that we are very happy with the work Mrs. De La Parra does for our company. “Sleeping Beauty” had to be postponed to October 2020 for internal reasons that are not in any way related to Mrs. De La Parra. All the more reason for us to be very pleased that she will also be available for these later performance dates. We are also looking forward to her conducting “Swan Lake” for Staatsballett in March this year.