Dudamel gears up for opera job

Dudamel gears up for opera job


norman lebrecht

January 22, 2021

Reports that Gustavo Dudanel is to become music director of the Opéra de Paris are gaining credence.

He has just jumped in to conduct three weeks of Verdi’s Otello in March and April at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu.

It’s where his heart is set.


  • IP says:

    What harm can it done? After all, there is no opera now, and nobody knows about the future.

  • mary says:

    euhhh, Barcelona isn’t Paris

  • John Kelly says:

    Paris is never a bad idea

  • RW2013 says:

    Terrible idea, not an opera person.
    He can earn more money where he is.

    • Christopher Clift says:

      What defines an ‘opera person’ ? No-one can become something without experience. Not even the Giulini’s and von Karajan’s of this world became anything until they had amassed some experience. Give the fellow some slack – I am not an immense fan, and his conducting methods are not always to my taste, but he DID have a lot to do with setting up the Venezuelan orchestra for young people, so he can’t be ALL duff.

      • JussiB says:

        An ‘opera person’ amasses vast experience in his 20’s at an European repertory opera house and works his way up. He’s not some established symphonic conductor who later in life decides he’s an opera wannabee.

        • Christopher Clift says:

          Who decides? Brahms took a long time writing other stuff before he felt ‘ready’ to embark on a symphony

      • Guus Mostart says:

        An opera conductor has to breathe with the singers. Dudamel may have many talents but opera is not one of them. I have seen him conduct opera live.

      • Novagerio says:

        Chris, in the old days you learned the job in the minuscular province, not straight in the Limelight.

        While you are at Karajan: Once he said in a famous interview, that in his earliest years, he had to do Lohengrin with one trumpet and one cello. That taught him to close his outer ear and develope the sound he needed in his head, before hitting the bigger metropoles.
        P.S: His first Baron Ochs in Ulm couldn’t even read music.

        Yup, you started in Ulm (now a major company when compared with 1929!), Mülheim an der Ruhr, Halberstadt, Hof, Coburg, Mönchengladbach, S.Pölten and so on. You built your credentials in sh*tty places like that, and you moved on.
        Now, try that in our current Age of the agency-and-marketing-bullsh*t…

      • Volpe says:

        But he shouldn’t get his “experience” in Paris. If he’s suddenly so interested in opera, there’s plenty of other places where he can learn.

    • EU person says:

      Why do you think he can’t be an opera person?

    • Opera de Paris in the past has hired musical directors who were not completly opera specialists before to come. In the past we have seen that with Barenboim (even if he didn’t stay a long time because of the french politic) and Chung. Dudamel is young like Makela who will manage the Orchestre de Paris. I suposed it was a goal.

    • Martin says:

      At a certain point, more money is less important than happiness. Anyone who is at the music director (or principal player) level certainly has the luxury of pursuing their own muse. He was able to take over one of the best orchestras in the world, and improve its status. He has earned the right to do what he wants.

    • Don Pasquale says:

      I’d ask the singers who an opera person is. technically its someone who can be seen above the pit as well. That helps.

  • James Weiss says:

    One word describes Dudamel: overrated.

  • Eyal Braun says:

    I am not a big Dudamel fan, however , a few years ago I saw him conducting La Boheme in Paris and this was glorious. The greatest thing I heard from him live.

  • TOPO says:

    A good place to learn the repertoire

  • Eveline Horelle Dailey. says:

    I love his spirit.

  • Keith says:

    It will give him valuable experience of a different and demanding medium. I have been very impressed with this young(ish) conductor.

  • Dudamel was given his life by El Sistema, and yet the Americans have instrumentalized him to attack the socialist government in Venezuela which long supported Sistema. Even if the Maduro government is open to criticism, has Dudamel tired of this constructed internal conflict in which he is instrumentalized? Is that why he lives in Spain where he can speak Spanish and which has a socialist government far different than the plutocratic circle of big time LA donors? Is that also why he is looking for work in places like France which also has a socialist government (like all the rest of the EU)? He and everyone else will insist not, of course, all will appear innocent, but truth might be something else.

  • Karin Becker says:

    At the beginning of his career, Barenboim was his mentor. B. was at that time in the musical direction of the Berlin State Opera and the Scala in Milan. Dudamel conducted a Mozart opera in both houses, – in my memory.

  • Lord Frazer Irwin says:

    Has no one seen him with the Youth Orchestra of Venezuela when he was their Conductor. This guy will bring a spark into Paris…

  • Evan Tucker says:

    Give Dudamel a chance. It’s not like orchestral conductors with little opera experience when young never became fine opera conductors later in life. Zubin Mehta, hardly the world’s highest achieving maestro, was sufficiently brilliant in the pit that you wondered whether he was entirely wasting his time on the concert circuit. Haitink, Barenboim, Rattle, Bychkov, have all made some brilliant successes in the pit after they’d long been established in the concert hall, and if anything it only made them better in the concert hall than they previously were.

  • Ed says:

    Covid in Paris has four waves: the first, the second, the third and Dude.