Lat­vian Ai­nars Ru­bikis takes Berlin’s Komis­che Oper pres­ti­gious con­duct­ing post

The Baltic Times - - CULTURE - Michael Mustillo

The Lat­vian con­duc­tor Ai­nars Ru­bikis’ (39) name may not be as fa­mil­iar to many as two other Lat­vian gi­ants of the world con­duct­ing scene, An­dris Nel­sons, cur­rently the mu­sic di­rec­tor of the Bos­ton Sym­phony Orches­tra and the mu­sic di­rec­tor-des­ig­nate of the Leipzig Ge­wand­haus Orches­tra, and Latvia’s con­duct­ing doyen, the na­tion’s most re­spected prom­i­nent world ac­claimed con­duc­tor, Mariss Jan­sons. How­ever Ru­bikis, a reg­u­lar guest at the Lat­vian Na­tional Opera and Bal­let in his home­town Riga, is busy with his guest world con­duct­ing sched­ule, and is on a path to match­ing both.

Ru­bikis has been ap­pointed to the po­si­tion of Gen­eral­musikdi­rek­tor (Mu­sic Di­rec­tor) of one of Ger­many’s lead­ing opera houses, the Komis­che Oper Berlin start­ing with the 2018/19 sea­son.

Dr. Klaus Led­erer, Berlin Min­is­ter for Cul­ture and Europe and Chair­man of the Foun­da­tion Oper in Berlin, and Bar­rie Kosky, Artis­tic and Gen­eral Di­rec­tor of the Komis­che Oper Berlin, pre­sented the ris­ing Lat­vian world con­duct­ing star at the sign­ing of the con­tract on May 8 in Berlin.

Ru­bikis stated at the cer­e­mony: "Tak­ing on the po­si­tion of Mu­sic Di­rec­tor of the Komis­che Oper Berlin also means to me man­ag­ing the en­tire theatre col­lec­tively, and be­ing held re­spon­si­ble for it, the join­ing to­gether of the soloists, orches­tra musicians, choral singers, stage work­ers, seam­stresses, dec­o­ra­tors, ticket ven­dors, to work to­gether for all those who care about the theatre. It should be a co­op­er­a­tive ef­fort to­wards a com­mon pur­pose – to cre­ate a miracle for ev­ery­one in­clud­ing the au­di­ence. But not only this. The main joy for me is that I will meet a new cre­ative fam­ily, where we will stand and fall to­gether – heal heartaches and cel­e­brate the suc­cesses to­gether. In short, to be to­gether in the joys and sor­rows."

Ru­bikis gained in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion as the win­ner of the Third Gus­tav Mahler Con­duct­ing Com­pe­ti­tion with the Bam­berg Sym­phony in 2010, where the Pres­i­dent of the com­pe­ti­tion jury stated "we have found an ex­cep­tional con­duc­tor," and was a re­cip­i­ent of the Nes­tle/ Salzburg Young Con­duc­tors’ Award in 2011 – two of the most im­por­tant world com­pe­ti­tions for emerg­ing con­duc­tors

Start­ing in au­tumn 2018, Ru­bikis’ con­tract with the Komis­che Oper Berlin will run for three years with an op­tion to ex­tend un­til 2021/22.

Bar­rie Kosky, Artis­tic and Gen­eral Di­rec­tor of the Komis­che Opera Berlin, said: "Ai­nars Ru­bikis is one of the most ex­cit­ing young opera tal­ents in Europe. Ai­nars has em­barked on a very suc­cess­ful opera ca­reer. He con­ducted a marvel­lous One­gin per­for­mance here in the Komis­che Oper Berlin in win­ter last year, as well as a thrilling sym­phony con­cert in Fe­bru­ary. He is a smart, tal­ented theatre man and a team player. I look for­ward to work­ing with Ai­nars in the next years and am de­lighted that he will make his de­but as our new Gen­eral­musikdi­rek­tor with my pro­duc­tion of The Nose in June 2018." The Nose is a co-pro­duc­tion with the Royal Opera House, Covent Gar­den and Opera Aus­tralia and will pre­miere in Berlin on 16 June.

Ru­bikis served as Mu­sic Di­rec­tor and Chief Con­duc­tor of Novosi­birsk State Aca­demic Opera and Bal­let Theatre from 2012 – 2014, and was awarded a pres­ti­gious Golden Mask Award as Best Con­duc­tor for the new pro­duc­tion of Bern­stein’s Mass.

In dis­cus­sion last year with Elis­a­beth Braw at The Baltic Times Gala Din­ner, an event held yearly by The Baltic Times owner Gene Zolotarev to sup­port young Baltic Jour­nal­ists, Braw noted that Lat­vian con­duc­tors and singers are steal­ing the global spot­light, and turn­ing Latvia into a mu­si­cal su­per­power.

Braw’s ar­ti­cle for Ra­dio Free Europe Ra­dio Lib­erty, which noted that Latvia’s mu­si­cal supremacy has been in large part due to a Soviet legacy, quoted Ivars Cinkuss, di­rec­tor of the Ri­gas Tehniskas Univer­si­tates Viru Koris Gaudea­mus choir that "There was only one good thing the Sovi­ets gave Latvia, and it was spe­cial­ist mu­sic schools. In a way, our large num­ber of top musicians is a di­rect re­sult of the Soviet sys­tem." Un­der Lat­vian law, ev­ery Lat­vian has the right to re­ceive a mu­si­cal ed­u­ca­tion, with the gov­ern­ment sub­si­diz­ing gen­er­ously the na­tion’s chil­dren's mu­si­cal ed­u­ca­tion.

Braw also noted com­ments of one of the world’s lead­ing mu­sic im­pre­sario’s Jasper Par­rott who "at­tributes the suc­cess of Lat­vian musicians not only to their ground­ing in the Soviet train­ing meth­ods, but also to their coun­try's abil­ity to im­prove upon the sys­tem by draw­ing on and adding uniquely Lat­vian cul­tural el­e­ments."

Clearly Latvia’s con­tin­u­ing mu­si­cal pow­er­house elite sta­tus is the di­rect re­sult of the Lat­vian gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment to mu­sic in pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion. Ivars Cinkuss be­lieves that the suc­cess of this com­mit­ment con­tin­ues to be felt.

As for Ai­nars Ru­bikis, his 2016/17 sea­son sees him con­duct­ing around the world, glo­be­trot­ting for de­buts at the Lyric Opera of Chicago (Car­men) and Theater Basel (La Forza Del Destino) and Boris Go­dunov at the Bol­shoi-theatre in Moscow. In sum­mer 2017, he will con­duct a new pro­duc­tion of Der Fliegende Hol­lan­der at the Pas­sion­sthe­ater Ober­am­mer­gau in Ger­many. He makes his de­but with the Welsh Na­tional Opera in au­tumn 2017, with a new pro­duc­tion of Eu­gene One­gin. Other re­cent de­buts in­cluded: Res­i­den­tie Ork­est, New Na­tional Theatre Tokyo, The Gran Teatre del Liceu in Spain (Car­men), Ober­am­mer­gau Fes­ti­val (Nabucco) in Ger­many, Orchestre Phil­har­monique de Stras­bourg, BBC Scot­tish Sym­phony, Royal Liver­pool Phil­har­monic, Hei­del­berg Sym­phony, Orques­tra Gul­benkian, Bournemouth Sym­phony, Toronto Sym­phony, Mel­bourne Sym­phony, Royal North­ern Sin­fo­nia, Luzerner Sin­fonieorch­ester, Orchestre du Pays de la Loire, at the Ed­in­burgh In­ter­na­tional Fes­ti­val with the Bam­berger Sym­phoniker, Hong Kong Phil­har­monic Orches­tra, Brus­sels Phil­har­monic, Es­to­nian Na­tional Sym­phony Orches­tra and Budapest Phil­har­monic Orches­tra, and per­for­mances of Don Gio­vanni at the Lat­vian Na­tional Opera and Bal­let.

Ai­nars Ru­bikis ap­pears at the Lat­vian Na­tional Opera and Bal­let on 9 June, con­duct­ing Tchaikovsky’s Eu­gene One­gin.

Fur­ther pro­duc­tion and ticket in­for­ma­tion can be found on the Lat­vian Na­tional Opera and Bal­let web­site: www.opera.lv

Busy sched­ule for ris­ing Lat­vian con­duct­ing star Ai­nars Ru­bikis lead­ing world’s fore­most or­ches­tras and opera houses.

Ru­bikis aims at a co­op­er­a­tive ef­fort in Berlin to­wards a com­mon pur­pose – to cre­ate a miracle for ev­ery­one in­clud­ing the au­di­ence

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