Young UK conductor ‘is like Carlos Kleiber’

Young UK conductor ‘is like Carlos Kleiber’


norman lebrecht

October 05, 2020

Vienna’s Der Standard, which used to be a serious newspaper, has gone wild with hyperbole this weekend over the young British conductor Alexander Soddy who, according to its critic, set new standards in Salome at the Vienna State Opera.

‘Soddy’s conducting was an event that has not been experienced in this house for decades,’ the review gushed.

Read here.

Soddy shares a manager with Kirill Petrenko.


  • Anon says:

    He’s 37

    • Bruce says:

      That’s pretty young for a conductor (despite the repeated hyping of 20-something-year-old prodigies, real and imagined)

  • IC225 says:

    Perhaps he was indeed like Kleiber in that performance. We’d need to hear it to judge.

  • I was there. With all due respect to Mr. Soddy, it was not a good performance. Without having any orchestral rehearsals, I can understand why everything was so loud and why there were many coordination problems.

    It appears that Michael Lewin, the agent, not only owns Mr. Roščić (Lewin conductores conduct about 80% of all evenings at the Staatsoper), but also the Austrian press and its critics.

    • Curious says:

      Who can tell me a little more about Lewin? He appears to be a major player pulling strings behind doors, but all I know about him is he is overweight and plays on his IPad during his clients rehearsals.

      • Nyx says:

        He was for a long time a journalist in Vienna. He then ghosted Barenboim’s autobiography and, hey presto, all the necessary doors opened. He is a singularly unpleasant person, but ruthlessly effective, and very well versed in the Wienerkunstpolitik.

      • Has-been says:

        Michael Lewin is a serious artists manager respected throughout the business with musical knowledge and a good instinct. Were he not, he would not be so successful. Furthermore, he is generous with his time when dealing or talking to young artists and artist’s managers.

    • Julien says:

      I was there also. It was a routine performance with average singers (only Konieczny was really good) and a too loud orchestra. I don’t know anything about Mr Lewin, but the article in Der Standard is utterly ridiculous, base flatery really, and I have a hard time believing that it’s author really wrote what he thought

    • Anthony Sayer says:

      Therein lies the key to this headline.

    • Patricia says:

      Too bad it was “Salome.” A terrible piece and one of one’s worst nightmares of Strauss.

  • Maybe says:

    Why is it that people compare? Each of us is unique; it is just that some are more unique than others 🙂 Is there not the imagination to see Mr Soddy for his own? What if he ‘only’ ‘lives up’ to his own talents and not those of Mr Kleiber? “Comparison is invidious” A pleasant day to you 🙂

  • Gustavo says:

    Would have expected Vienna to say “Sod off!” in the present climate.

    Maybe BRSO should invite him?

  • Petros Linardos says:

    – Did Alexander Soddy have a chance to rehearse Salome with the orchestra?

    – Most reassuring to see they are still performing the wonderful 1972 Barlog/Rose production.

  • FrauGeigerin says:

    I can tell you this: HE IS NOT.
    This is PR at its best.

  • Nik says:

    “used to be a serious newspaper”
    In general it is, but its arts coverage has always been sub-par, particularly when it comes to opera and classical music. I have no idea how Ender and Tosic managed to land these jobs and hang on to them for all these years. Neither of them has ever written anything that suggests even a rudimentary understanding of the art forms they cover.

  • RW2013 says:

    Nice guy, competent conductor – like CK (except AS plays the piano better).

  • Bored Muso says:

    The reviewer is clearly in love with him….
    Friends playing in the band and singing for his Salome, tell a totally different story….

  • yujafan says:

    “never believe your own hype” – the best advice I ever received from a teacher on reading my first professional review

  • Hal Hobbs says:

    Is this blog ever “serious”?

  • Listener says:

    Listened to his Alpine Symphony in Mannheim, which was a TOTAL disaster (musically nearly as terribly boring as Strauss‘ oboe concerto in the first half…). I don‘t know any word, that would describe how little he has in common with Kleiber!

  • Nathaniel Rosen says:

    Just as young violinists have often been characterized as “like Heifetz”, so now we have a conductor who is “like Kleiber”, which only tells us about the depth of Kleiber’s influence. (Carlos, right?)

  • Gaffer says:

    With a surname like that he will go far!

    • Anthony Sayer says:

      ‘…in collaboration with Lewin Artists Management’ is not really a guarantee of objectivity, is it?

  • Novagerio says:

    Der Standard’s critic has never heard Carlos Kleiber conduct Salome, in fact nobody has. And yes, this is hyper-lobbyism in absurdum.

  • no Kleiber (analogy), please says:

    we read a little too often about Kleiberish events these days .. maybe it was a good performance. wasn t this incredibly bad (non-) conductor who ‘won’ the Bamberg competition also compared to Kleiber ? he didn t seem able to give cues, to stay in tempo – he is not even a beginner, rather a dilletant (and the video of his conducting was withdrawn one day after). so better not to compare anyone with Kleiber – especially when he/she is good.

  • Mack the Knife says:

    Actually the orchestra was always too loud with Kleiber. I sat in row 12 for Rosenkavalier and couldn’t hear the singers because he insisted on having the orchestra practically at stage level so everyone could see him.

    • Novagerio says:

      Mack: the orchestral pit in Vienna is at stage level, no matter who conducts. It has nothing to do with Kleiber.

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    The thing about CK is that he is now considered beyond any criticism, thus the ultimate reference for the next rising star of the day.

  • Alexander T says:

    Seeing is believing….