Just in: French opera house appoints UK conductor

Just in: French opera house appoints UK conductor


norman lebrecht

February 19, 2020

The Rouen Normandy Opera has appointed the young British conductor Ben Glassberg as music director from September.

Ben, 26, is music director of the Glyndebourne touring company.

This could be the Norman Conquest, in reverse.

Here’s the Bayeux Tapestry:

He says: ‘Such a great house, with a really wonderful ethos. Also, a total joy to kick things off with Mozart’s Clemenza and lots of camembert!’


  • FrauGeigerin says:

    26. 26 years. I don’t care how talented he is. Sorry, no. He cannot stand in front of 80 professional musicians, very talented as well, much more experienced than him in music and in life…

    Sorry, but NO. We are putting youthness up in a pedestal and consider it a value on its own. This is crazy.

    I am sure he is talented. I am sure he studied conducting in a good conservatoire. Probably he assisted a couple of famous maestri. Maybe got a prize in a conducting compeition. All is great, but NO, thank you.

    Young conductor: pay your dues in youth and amateur orchestras/Orchesterverein (orchestras where you canot hide behind “passion”, “energy” and all those words those without any idea of playing in orchestras like to use). If you can get an amateur orchestra and make them play a Beethoven symphony, a Brahms Symphony etc. then you are ready to stand in front of a professional orchestra… until then learn to walk before running the marathon, because I am sick of saving the a** of so many young “talented” “upcoming” stars guest conducting in our orchestra.

    • Keith says:

      You’ve obviously heard him at Glyndebourne, or is it just his youth in principal that you object to?

    • Dominic Stafford Uglow says:

      Solti first conducted the Covent Garden orchestra at the age of 27. Just saying…

    • Not Jaded says:

      Lol, the frau is having a breakdown. Well, what if he did do that already? It’s not because all those you saw up to now were terrible that he is. You probably know the story about black elephants….

    • Tim says:

      Actually, YES. He’s good – very exciting, has authority, decency, personality. Why not? If he’s good enough he’s old enough, and he’s more than good enough. So, YES!!!

      • Tim says:

        Wow, so many negative ratings to my comment. I’ve only worked with him but, hey, what do I know!

        It’s a great appointment, and well deserved too.

        Congrats, Ben 🙂

  • Mr. Schwa says:

    Rouen is a very provincial house.
    Worse than many regional companies.

  • BrianB says:

    Why is this really notable? Thomas Beecham was probably the greatest conductor of the French music he interested himself in, of the last century, quite superior to any of his native Francophone rivals.

  • Hmus says:

    Glassberg is already a year older than Bernstein was when he was assistant at the Ny Philharmonic. And Glassberg is starting out with this regional opera company, conducting a work by a 35 year old Mozart. Some perspective would be useful here.