“Incredible cuts to culture in England”

Recently extended as music director at the Opéra de Rouen Normandie, Ben Glassberg He found an ideal place in this city to satisfy his Francophilia and his native England: “It is a Norman orchestra. There is something between France and Great Britain: warmth in the voice that is truly French, but also business spirit, efficiency, attention to rhythm that is very English.“Since 2020, he has been spending three months a year in Rwanda, thereby deepening his work in an orchestra accustomed to classical repertoire:”It is an orchestra with only forty permanent members, accustomed to playing a lot of classical music, especially Mozart.

Ben Gassberg logically chose a Mozart opera for his first recording with an orchestra. But it is far from forever Don Giovanni Where The Marriage of Figarothe conductor preferred a less famous opera: Mercy of Titus. “For me, this is a masterpiece. It is one of my favorite operas, ahead of The Magic Flute. Dramatically, it is very complex, which is perhaps why it is underplayed. But musically, it’s incredibly deep, with beautiful melodies. This opera has it all, it disappoints me that it is not performed more often.” This work thus led to a new production at the Opéra de Rouen – Normandie and a

box set was published by Alpha Classics last November 11th.

Various directories

Far from comforting himself in the usual repertoire of the Norman orchestra, Ben Glassberg wants to bring variety to his works: “Like all music directors, I want to work on as diverse a repertoire as possible. In the coming years, I will approach the French repertoire, which we have not learned much. We will also discuss this Wagner story called “Bayreuth-sur-Seine”: many Wagner operas had their French premiere in Rwanda!

In this dynamic of expanding the repertoire, the conductor brings a part of his culture to the Opera of Rouen – the Opera Normandie. A Midsummer Night’s Dream In Robert Carsen’s mythic production, Britten: “This staging gives the piece a timeless dimension. There really is magic and poetry there, and that is what is universal.“However, the musical interest is not left out either, the interpretation is so precise in the writing that it becomes almost natural: “Britten makes my job a little easier! He interprets the text in such detail that it is enough to follow the account. Rhythmically for singers, it is very clear in all articulations.“Despite this transparency in the notes, the essence of the music lies in the subtext:”The most English thing about Britten is that he hides his emotions. Beautiful French music speaks to the heart, full of emotions. With Britten, it’s more under the surface. But at the same time, the text directs the music, there is clarity between the two.“Performances will be held

Rouen Opera – Normandy from January 27 to 31.

Sequence of conductors

Recently, more young conductors have been appointed to conduct French orchestras, notably Klaus Mäkela at the Orchester de Paris or Tarmo Peltokoski at the Orchester du Capitole de Toulouse. According to Ben Glassberg, a revival that really serves orchestras: “We bring energy and freshness, not experience. Now things are changing so much, we have to deconstruct the tools of power. The generation starting now may be more open to it.”

The turning point in Ben Glassberg’s career came at the age of 23, in 2017 when he won 55 of all awards.

Besançon International Competition of Young Conductors. I have never seen:It changed everything in an instant. Lucky for me, the jury was on my side during this release. Later, my career rose very fast, I received many invitations.“He conducts prestigious ensembles such as the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra.

But despite the complexity of relations with Great Britain after Brexit, France became its first country of operation: “It’s very difficult for musicians starting out in Britain now. There are incredible cuts in culture in England at the moment. It is unimaginable that English National Opera, the country’s second largest opera organization, will have its subsidies cut 100%. It feels good to be here in France.”

  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream By Benjamin Britten, conducted by him and directed by Robert Carsen, at the Opéra de Rouen – Normandie from 27-31 January

  • Box

    Mozart: Mercy of Titus With Orchester de l’Opéra de Rouen – Normandie, released on November 11, 2022 by Alpha Classics

  • Box

    Britten: The Nut’s Turn With La Monnaie Chamber Orchestra, released on May 20, 2022 by Alpha Classics

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