Conductor’s Covid test wrecks Dallas weekend

Conductor’s Covid test wrecks Dallas weekend


norman lebrecht

January 18, 2021

The Dallas Symphony had to cancel two of three Mozart concerts after guest conductor Nicholas McGegan tested positive for Covid-19.

An additional Voices of Change concert was cancelled because some of the musicians had played with McGegan last Thursday.


  • David J Hyslop says:

    Sad, but a sign of the times.

  • JussiB says:

    McGegan is a good conductor. Get well soon.

    • AlbericM says:

      I saw him during numerous seasons heading the Philharmonia Baroque. He is a delight as conductor. He clearly enjoys his work, conducts with both vigor and subtlety, and is a witty speaker. Any time he turns to the audience to speak before starting a piece, you know you’re going to learn something as well as have a good laugh.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Norman posted a few weeks ago that Fabio Luisi, music director of the Dallas Symphony, had a positive tst and was I THINK in quarantine. Mr Luisi posted yesterday, January 17 about Rattle’s English chorusmaster. His contract in Dallas was exttended, which I hope means he is in good health now and restored to his orchestra, with congratulations ahd hope for good things to come. Best wishes to Mt. McGegan for a happy outcome.

  • Hal Sacks says:

    Was Dallas fielding a Chamber sized orchestra for the Mozart, similar to Philadelphia’s “ Digital Concert Hall” presentations?

  • Doc Martin says:

    I recall McGegan conducting Ariodante at the Gottingen Festival 1995, superb recording on Harmonia mundi.

    Testing “positive” by PCR test does not necessarily mean he is infectious. The PCR detects viral RNA, it cannot distinguish RNA from live virus and RNA fragments from a previous infection from someone who has subsequently recovered from Cov-19. One needs to do a viral culture at the same time as the PCR test. If live virus is found then the positive result means he is infectious and he should self isolate. If no live virus is found, he must have had cov-19 and recovered from it and is no longer infectious and does not need to self isolate. I doubt viral cultures are done unless one asks.

    My antidote against the Covid-19 misery is the aria “Verdi prati” from the opera Alcina by G. F. Handel.

    The libretto was based on a text adapted after Riccardo Broschi’s L’isola di Alcina, after Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando furioso. It was first performed at John Rich’s Covent Garden Theatre, 16 April 1735.

    The cast comprised Anna Maria Strada del Pò as Alcina, Giovanni Carestini as Ruggiero, Maria Caterina Negri as Bradamante, Cecilia Young as Morgana, John Beard as Oronte, William Savage as Oberto and Gustavus Waltz Melisso.

    Carestini was sent a copy of the aria “Verdi prati” so that he could learn it in advance of rehearsals and instantly disliked it. He returned it to Handel claiming that it was “unfit for him to sing”. The enraged Handel rushed to Carestini’s house in his carriage and shouted that he knew best what his star castrato should sing and insisted he would withhold the singer’s fees until Carestini relented. The singer complied and “Verdi prati” was frequently encored during the opera’s performances.

    The complete opera can be heard on the recording with Il Complesso Barocco, with Alan Curtis on the DG Archiv label. The DVD of the opera, by Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset; dir. Pierre Audi (Brussels, 2015) is on the Alpha label.

    Maite Beaumont (Ruggiero) sings the aria “Verdi prati”

  • Marg says:

    I wish him a full and speedy recovery.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Good to see the generous and informative post from Doc Martin. Welcome back. Lyric Opera gave Handel’s “Alcina” in Chicago in 1999 with Natalie Dessay, Jennifer Larmore, Renee Fleming, K. Kuhlmann, Rockwell Blake, and the unfortunately-named Robin Blitch Wiper as Onerto. John Nelson conducted. It ran over four hours, so”Verdi prati? was probaably there, although I was hearing “Alcina” for the first time and do ‘t recall it exactly. Dessay’s “Tornami vegheggiari” stopped the show.

    I continue to hope Nlcholas McGegan, Fabio Luisi, and the Dallas musicians are all well.

    • Doc Martin says:

      Thank you, I have been immersed in Johann Sebastian Bach in deepest Thuringia for the past 6 months! My organ stops are free of cov-19!

      • Hayne says:

        You play organ? Awesome! Keeping the slowly dwindling art alive. It’s sad so many people in religion don’t know enough to appreciate it.