Zubin at 85

Zubin at 85


norman lebrecht

April 28, 2021

The conductor has a milestone birthday tomorrow.

In his 80s, he has overcome cancer, resigned from his longest-held job and looked to enjoy himself.

He has been with the Berlin Phil this week.

Long may it continue.




  • Concertgebouw79 says:

    Congratulations. He’s for me the unrivaled king of the first of January in Vienna.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Bravo Maestro Mehta!!!! Happy Birthday, and many more of them!!!!!

  • Gustavo says:

    He does the best Mahler 1.

    • Concertgebouw79 says:

      A lot of his works are unfairly underrated. All his Tchaikovsky works are marvelous. I bought last year his Decca box with what he has done at Los Angeles Vienna and in Israel. it’s excellent.

  • Well he’s got some good points………He loves cricket.

    • Concertgebouw79 says:

      True. I watched a documentary about the Munich Opera it was the first thing he read in newspaper the morning.

  • Lothario Hunter says:

    Undeniably, with or without hair chest on display, at 85 Zubin is still the sexiest conductor of all time (tied with Dudamel and Rattle)!!

  • Edgar Self says:

    A secret pleasure, or vice, is Mehta’s CD of Franz von Suppe overtures with the Vienna Philharmonic. What fun! It replaced a dimly recalled Solti LP of them with a London orchestra and extra brass that I think Solti re-made with the VPO.

  • Eusebius says:

    he does the best 3 Tenors. that’s what I always remember him for.

  • Gregory Mowery says:

    Zubin Mehta continues to conduct the world’s best orchestras, despite some of the brickbats that have been hurled at him over the decades. He’s got a flashy conductorial style (hello Leonard Bernstein), which critics love to kick him for. He’s accused of superficialities in the scores he conducts. I still think he’s one of the best opera conductors around. The Sutherland/Pavarotti TURANDOT is the finest on records and not just for the singing. New York critics were out for blood during his stint as music director of the New York Philharmonic, and while some critical remarks were fair, all too often he was beat up and vilified for no other reason other than the New York Times had a moving target. So Happy Birthday, Maestro Mehta. You’ve enriched my record collection and thrilled me with your performances in the concert halls, opera houses and on TV for decades with your fine interpretations, and inspirational leadership. Long may he wave!

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Carlos Kleiber once referred to Mehta as “that thug”. Not one of Kleiber’s better observations!!

    • Greg Bottini says:

      I mostly agree with you, fellow Greg, except for your parenthetical statement comparing ZM to Bernstein.
      ZM’s conducting style is far from Lenny’s. I saw both of them in concert (not simultaneously of course), and I didn’t see much in common between them.
      (When I saw them, ZM conducted the Mozart 38 and the Mahler 5 with the NY Phil; Lenny conducted the Schumann 1 and the Tchaikovsky 4 with the same orchestra.)
      As an opera conductor – YES! That RCA Trovatore with Price, Domingo, and Milnes is absolutely thrilling! The Turandot you mentioned is also top-drawer.
      ZM is also, IMO, the master of the Mahler 2. His Decca recording with the VPO and the superb singing of Ileana Cotrubas and (the sadly late) Christa Ludwig is unsurpassed and unsurpassable.
      So I reiterate: Happy Birthday, Maestro Mehta!!!!

    • Marshall Hollander says:

      I think he could be a little flashy, a little over the top, and was better in works that were less introverted. But still an important and serious conductor.

      I agree that he was an excellent opera conductor, and I always regret that I never had the opportunity to hear him conduct more opera. But I disagree that t his Turandot with Sutherland and Pav is “the finest on records.” It’s “interesting”,and although I haven’t heard it in years, I remember hearing it when it came out and thinking it better than I expected. I do agree that his conducting in an opera like that is as good as anyone else, but in this case it’s not my ideal cast.
      I heard him in a number of operas at the Met, but after ’71 he never conducted there again. I wonder why? It also coincided with the arrival of someone else. I remember in some interview Mehta said something to the effect that Jimmy doesn’t want anyone else around. Another problem with Levine is that he deprived us in the NYC area of hearing many other conductors at the Met. While I’m at it,this myth that the Met orchestra was always junk until Levine arrived and made it into his orchestra is nonsense. If you listen to it, at its best, before the Levine era, there was some wonderful playing

      By the way in the 1966 season Mehta conducted a series of Turandots, many of them with THE dream cast in their primes. There is a broadcast, but I have not heard it in decades.

    • Eusebius says:

      Hmm and I thought the Sutherland/Pavarotti Turandot was a success due to the brilliant Decca engineers (and of course Pavarotti).