Who’s this kid conducting at the Met?

Who’s this kid conducting at the Met?


norman lebrecht

May 18, 2023

There were some puzzled looks yesterday when players caught sight of their conductor at the first orchestral rehearsal for Flying Dutchman.

Someone must have skimped on the introductions. He’s Thomas Guggeis, 29, incoming chief at Frankfurt Opera and likely long-term successor to Daniel Barenboim in Berlin.

Photo by Jonathan Tichler / Met Opera


  • A.L. says:

    And a brilliant conducting talent who will be around for long and who will be noticed more and more. Oh, and one who doesn’t require publicity around his favourite nail polish or garish outfits. A fine tuxedo and fine music making are good enough.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      Without nail polish, bleach blonde hair, or a bobblehead likeness, just how serious can this young man be about his career?? This is 2023! He will never attract a younger audience…

    • trumpetherald says:

      I found nothing special as a player under him….He coordinates things,and this is it more or less….You can find people loke him in every opera house in Germany.

      • Andrew C says:

        I believe Lenny Bernstein had several players under him, especially oboists. Only one at a time of course.

  • Paul Barte says:

    “Puzzled looks?” Somehow, I doubt it. Guggeis is already very well known in the operatic world.

  • samach says:

    He’s milking his youthful looks just a bit, no, with the shirt tail out, sleeves unbuttoned, school boy blazer casually draped behind him…

    Met musician overheard: “Look, the Vienna Choir Boys are in town”

    • Nick2 says:

      “ He’s milking his youthful looks just a bit, no?” What a stupid remark about an outstanding young conductor! Herbert von Karajan was near paranoid about how he looked. I doubt if Guggeis pays any attention to his image on the podium.

      • Sisko24 says:

        I recall a story that while Stowkowski was music director at the Philadelphia, he had a spotlight trained to shine on his curly, blonde/white hair. He too traded on his looks. I wonder what Toscanini’s response would’ve been to having his fingernails polished and appearing in a boxing outfit while conducting from the podium? (LOL!)

    • Tiredofitall says:

      If that quote is true, you can only imagine what they say behind Yannick’s back.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:


  • Richard Zencker says:

    Isn’t he the same age as Jimmy Whatshisname when he became Director?

  • Opera lover says:

    Incredible how these get the jobs. Absolutely mediocre conductor who has no control of the pacing and tempo flow of music – especially in Wagner. Why do managers torture musicians and audience members with these immature conductors who can wave their hands but not fly the plane?

    • MAV says:

      Publicity, just publicity… with a pinch of protectionism.
      How many mediocre “talents” made it to the top, how many times here we read the real comments of listeners and see real feedbacks?

    • John Kelly says:

      Karajan could fly a plane. Daniel Harding too apparently………

    • H David says:

      Tell us about your background and expertise that gives credence to you in making such a statement. Are you a conductor or orchestral musician? Have you any knowledge about this young man’s musical training and experiences to date? Have seen or heard any of his past performances?

      • Opera lover says:

        I am an opera professional, and I have attended his performances. 100% accurate opinion, and happy to debate on musical terms. His Ring in Berlin was not at all up to the standard expected, and it’s not just about the inexperience.

        On another subject, opera is a challenging art form for a conductor, and one could also debate how many of those who stand in front of the machinery as conductors can cope with the challenges of tempo, pacing, flow, balancing. There are not many in this world who can master all of these aspects.

    • Stephen Lawrence says:

      I went to Berlin for The Ring recently and did wonder. He clearly knows the score and I thought it would be interesting to come back in 20 years and hear how he’s getting on… Can one expect someone of this age to genuinely pace a 10-act opera? But one has to start somewhere, and one has to decide who gets that privilege.

      • Novagerio says:

        “it would be interesting to come back in 20 years and hear how he’s getting on”
        I agree with you Stephen, that’s why conductors like Karajan started six years in Ulm and another six years in Aachen, before hitting the big metropoles.
        And that was almost 100 years ago (!)

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      If he was ‘a person of colour’, tranny and with at least one major physical impairment he’d go straight to the top!!

      But who are those really handicapped with this kind of identarian paradigm???!!!! Why, talented people. Of course.

      • Emil says:

        Of course, you conveniently elide the fact that he just conducted the Ring in Berlin, is currently at the MET, and has his own major opera house. But sure, do tell us about white men can’t succeed nowadays, and how the only way “straight to the top” is affirmative action.

      • Anti-Biggoted Opera Goer says:

        this comment tells us more about your bigotry than your musical commentary

  • Buck Hill boy says:

    Yes, we were a bit surprised to see what looked like a 16-year-old was conducting. He delivers the goods though.

  • AnnieM says:

    Why are you whiners so anti nail polish?

  • Andrew C says:

    Oh dear, oh dear. Robin Ticciati. Daniel Harding. John Wilson. Klaus Makkela. And now this chap. This is not classical music as we know it. They should all be made to work as repetiteurs in Central European provincial opera houses before being allowed anywhere near a podium. Where is Herbert Blomsted when you need him?

    • Tamino says:

      Where he is? Never in an opera house to start with…

    • Novagerio says:

      Andrew, Blomstedt has self awareness, and is a monument of integrity. He’s stayed away of the opera houses all his life! 😉

    • guglhupf says:

      Thomas Guggeis is the only one you mention who HAS come up through the German opera house system. He’s a serious musician who has done the work.

  • Hans-Dieter Glaubke says:

    Exhaustingly trite responses! Silence is the more prominent portion of honor and respect for oneself.

  • On a tangent says:

    I own Elgar’s copy of the Flying Dutchman!

  • Enquiring Mind says:

    What is the nail polish reference?

  • good says:

    most probably the best conductor of his generation.

  • Rank & File says:

    Literally incredible.
    Puzzled looks? Can they not read a schedule? In any case guest conductors are invariably introduced and greeted by the management and/or concertmaster.

  • Robert Holmén says:


    That’s definitely out of the larval stage. People become doctors and lawyers and CEOs before that. Some will do well at it.

    He’ll get old soon enough.

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  • IP says:

    Fully clothed in conventional apparel, which is the first thing to mention today.