Star con­duc­tor fol­lows wife from Met's ill-fated 'Tosca'

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

Star con­duc­tor An­dris Nel­sons on Mon­day fol­lowed his so­prano wife Kris­tine Opo­lais in leav­ing the Metropoli­tan Opera's up­com­ing "Tosca," in the lat­est shakeup for a closely watched pro­duc­tion. The New York opera house said in a state­ment that Nel­sons had "with­drawn" from the new take on the Puc­cini clas­sic that will pre­miere on New Year's Eve, with­out fur­ther ex­pla­na­tion. He will be re­placed by an­other ma­jor con­duc­tor-James Levine, who stepped down last year amid health prob­lems af­ter four decades as the music di­rec­tor of the Metropoli­tan Opera.

Nel­sons, a 38-year-old Lat­vian, is a ris­ing star of clas­si­cal music who was named the music di­rec­tor of the Bos­ton Sym­phony Orches­tra in 2013. He will si­mul­ta­ne­ously take charge of the Leipzig Ge­wand­haus Orches­tra in Ger­many start­ing next sea­son. With Nel­sons al­ready jug­gling a busy sched­ule, spec­u­la­tion had grown that he would leave the pro­duc­tion af­ter his wife pulled out last month from the ti­tle role in "Tosca." Opo­lais has also been a ris­ing name but has re­cently faced mixed re­views, with some crit­ics hear­ing a thin­ning of her voice.

The cou­ple's de­par­ture was only the lat­est blow to the "Tosca" pro­duc­tion. It was set to star Jonas Kauf­mann, one of the most fa­mous stars of opera, but the Ger­man tenor with­drew in March cit­ing a de­sire to spend more time with fam­ily. The lat­est "Tosca"-one of the most pop­u­lar works of opera-is a new ver­sion by Scot­tish di­rec­tor David McVicar. The Met has promised that it will re­store some of the grandeur of the Met's long­time pro­duc­tion de­signed by Ital­ian leg­end Franco Zef­firelli. The Met in 2009 mod­ern­ized "Tosca" with a new pro­duc­tion by Swiss di­rec­tor Luc Bondy, who stripped back the or­nate stag­ing for a bare-bones look. The au­di­ence reaction was hos­tile, with boo­ing on open­ing night. In a twist, Nel­sons had his de­but with the Bos­ton Sym­phony Orches­tra in 2011 when he stepped in for the ill Levine. — AFP

An­dris Nel­sons (right), pic­tured in Au­gust 2015, is the third high-pro­file de­par­ture from the New York Metropoli­tan Opera’s up­com­ing pro­duc­tion of ‘Tosca’. — AFP

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