San Fran chief makes Vienna Opera debut

San Fran chief makes Vienna Opera debut


norman lebrecht

December 30, 2021

The San Francisco Opera’s music director Eun Sun Kim will conduct the Vienna Opera’s first performance of 2022, a revival of La Bohème on January 6, running for two weeks.

The Australian Nicole Car will make her house role debut as Mimi.




  • Madama Butterflysway says:

    Sounds like it’s gonna blow.

  • John Kelly says:

    A really excellent conductor! I heard/saw her at the Met in Boheme recently (house full for those keeping count) and her conducting was just right – kept everything moving, gave the singers just enough freedom but she was in charge all the time. Orchestra sounded wonderful and I was reminded – dare I say it – of Carlos Kleiber 30 odd years ago in the same opera in the same house…………

    • john Kelly says:

      Wow, 5 thumbs down (so far) – I wonder how many were at one of her performances at the Met…..

      • Bill says:

        Possible that some are outraged that you are comparing someone with CK. I doubt she is the next CK, but if you say the performance reminded you of one with CK, it seems ridiculous to argue that it did not! As she’s now MD of my local opera house, I certainly hope she turns out to be great!

        • john Kelly says:

          I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. You may be right, Kleiber is GOD to many (including myself). Still, I stand by my remarks, especially as I have several recordings of CK doing Boheme……..

      • Michael McGrath says:

        Perhaps consider the negative responses to be due to your attempt to compare this talented ingenue with Carlos Kleiber!! I certainly choked when I read your judgement!

      • Barry Guerrero says:

        So as usual, this means the truth lies somewhere in the middle of these two extreme reactions.

      • Tris says:

        I was there for on 11/17 Boheme in the Met. To be honest, I am not that impressed! The orchestra sounded alright, but was really lack of tension, and the music was just flow mechanically. Ms. Kim might adopt to let the orchestra lead whenever it could. I did not feel that she had a great grasp of the score TBH, and I was especially bothered by lack of passion in Act IV duet which never failed to bring tears to my eyes before, but not that day! It was my fourth or fifth Boheme in the big house, and was my least favorite performance. The singers did not help either, with some local New Yorkers lacking big voice and would not be engaged by other opera houses. Well, except Musetta who was great. The whole thing was a true disappointment, not only the conductor but the whole thing.

    • RW2013 says:

      aka Michael Lewin?

  • Carlito says:

    I invite you to listen to this Anybody with ears will understand that the co-ordination between the pit and the singers is messy and that’s usually a given for an orchestra of the level of the MET. But let’s forget that part – what is so special about what we hear? If that is Carlos Kleiber we should all pack our bags and let this artform die.

    Is nobody is ever going to speak about the man behind it all – Michael Lewin and the fact that 10 years Eun Sun Kim would never have a tenth of the opportunities she has now? Philippe Jordan is the GMD of the Wiener Staatsoper – Lewin represents Jordan and represents Kim… guesses what happened there. The same as there are no guesses why Weigle is represented by Lewin at Frankfurt and so is Guggeis…..the list goes on.

    The real scandal is the way Michael Lewin has been making his business throughout all of this years, especially in Germany and Austria, where he has basically been the Tsar of any opera house or orchestra where his client has been the Chief. The exception is the Berliner Philharmoniker, at least for now.

    Perhaps other readers who are in this business can also tell their stories of what they have witnessed in opera houses when Michael Lewin is in the house. I have seem Levin bring a score to every rehearsal of his clients and basically conduct from his seat at the opera like a young music student whilst his client do their job. But it does not end there – I have seen Lewin time and time again tell his conductors how they should conduct and berate them at every corner, and that includes Jordan, De Billy and many others.

    Now the Wiener Staatsoper has become Lewin’s favourite playground but the real scandal is that nobody seems to want to write about it, including Slipped Disc.

    • MacroV says:

      I don’t know anything about Michael Lewin, but an artist’s manager is in the business of building and sustaining the artist’s career, which involves getting the person work. If he/she happens to know something about how the job is done – thereby making the person even more valuable to the institution – what’s the harm in providing advice?

    • Tris says:

      Too true to ignore. I was surprised to learn the connection!

    • Hermann Lederer says:

      So – and what is your real problem? Seems rather personal to me. Lewin does his job and as I learn from you: there is at least one manager out there who can read a score….

  • john Kelly says:

    Try listening to Kleiber conducting Act 2 of Boheme with the chorus of the Met or La Scala, he is going so fast neither chorus can keep up. Curiously this makes it rather exciting, but co-ordinated it most definitely is not. CK does Act 2 in just over 20 minutes. No wonder Celibidache reportedly asked him why he conducted everything so fast……….