Gustavo Dudamel, Superstar Conductor, Will Lead Paris Opera
Neef pointed out that Yannick Nézet-Séguin, 46, music director of the Met since 2018, did not start with an enormous repertoire there either. “The question isn’t about the crowd,” Neef said. “And these things are a bit deceiving: if you look at the list of operas that Gustavo has conducted, then from Mozart to John Adams. He conducts opera as long as he conducts symphonic music. “
When asked which works he was looking forward to the most, Dudamel replied: “Everything.” In Paris this autumn he is to conduct Puccini’s “Turandot” and Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro”. In addition to the mainstream repertoire, he hoped to work with living composers from Europe and North and South America, including Adams, Thomas Adès and Gabriela Ortiz.
He added that he would like to direct the Paris Opera Ballet, the company’s in-house dance company. Dudamel said his mentor, José Antonio Abreu, the founder of El Sistema, often took him to ballet to learn about conducting.
“It was part of my training,” he said. “Also for my way of seeing the music.”
His appointment will include significant travel between Paris and Los Angeles, but his engagement with the Philharmonic is one that Dudamel said he has no intention of limiting. “I will share my time between the two families,” he said. What he will be limiting is guest conducting, a process he started a few years ago to shift his focus to longer-term projects.
“We’ll organize it the way he works in LA,” said Neef. “Long periods that stick together instead of traveling a lot.”
Neef added that Dudamel would provide a charismatic and visible link between the company’s main productions and its educational endeavors. In Los Angeles, Dudamel has contributed to the solid educational offering of the Philharmonic, particularly the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, a program inspired by El Sistema and founded in 2007.