February 20, 2013 Leave a comment
At the end of my review of last year’s production of Albert Herring, I wrote this about James Conlon: ”Long may he reign at Los Angeles Opera.”
It looks like I’ll get my wish — at least for another five years.
The company just announced that Mr. Conlon has extended his contract as LA Opera’s Music Director through the end of the 2017/2018 season (full press release below after the jump). Plácido Domingo, the company’s General Director, says this: “James has had an incredible impact on the artistic quality of LA Opera performances.”
His impact on the quality of LA Opera has been so good that among certain circles, there was speculation (read: fear) that the native New Yorker would get wooed away to take over the mighty Metropolitan Opera after James Levine was forced to give up the bulk of conducting duties there due to health reasons.
Serious hints that Mr. Conlon would stay in Southern California came up during the season opening press conference this past September when he said, “Los Angeles is one of the greatest places to be, to live, and to make music.” Today’s announcement makes it clear that those comments were more than just lip service.
This news undoubtably bodes well for Los Angeles Opera’s future. After suffering through some rather lean years, the company seems to be on the cusp of returning to the level of artistic prominence (some may add “relevance”) that it had during the middle part of the last decade. I can’t imagine that a conductor of Mr. Conlon’s stature would stick around if he didn’t think — nay, know — that things will be better very soon.
There should be much rejoicing in Southern California musical and cultural circles tonight.