August 3, 2018
James Conlon Launches New Website, Conducts in Santa Barbara, Returns to Ravinia, and More!

Conductor James Conlon’s web site——has a new look. Check in regularly for the latest announcements, schedule updates, and press highlights.

The Marriage of Figaro at the Music Academy of the West, August 3 and 5

In advance of his debut at the Music Academy of the West, where he conducts Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro on August 3 (tonight) and 5, James Conlon sat down with the Santa Barbara media to discuss the upcoming performances.

Santa Barbara Independent:

“Widely regarded as a conductor of singular authority when it comes to Mozart’s operas, Conlon, along with the specific choice of The Marriage of Figaro, comes to the Music Academy at the specific request of the current vocal fellows. In other words, for these brilliant young singers, the combination of Conlon and Mozart is a wish granted and a dream come true. When it comes to his personal feelings for this music, Conlon said, “Let me put it this way: I don’t think I could live without it.”” To read more, click here.

Santa Barbara Seasons:

“In Conlon’s eyes, the best performances are the ones where the composer and the composition sit directly in the limelight. “The first thing is to take my ego out of it,” says Conlon. “I believe when you open yourself up to that music, it will reverberate intellectually, emotionally, and then that’s the degree you can also give it back to a public. That’s why I speak of it as a vessel because the first thing to do is to get yourself out of the way of the music because music speaks for itself.”” To read more,click here.

James Conlon Returns to Ravinia, August 9 and 11

Next week at the Ravinia Festival—the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra—former Music Director James Conlon conducts two performances, featuring works by composers from Mozart to Stravinsky. Kyle MacMillan has the story for CSO Sounds & Stories:

“Though James Conlon marked the finale of his 10-year tenure as music director of the Ravinia Festival with a triumphant concert featuring the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Aug. 15, 2015, it was hardly the end of his association with the CSO or the summer series. Last year, on four days notice, he stepped in for an ailing Christopher Eschenbach, leading two performances with the CSO, including a gala concert with violinist Itzhak Perlman. This summer, he returns for two scheduled appearances: anAug. 9 concert with pianist Garrick Ohlsson and a line-up of operatic excerpts Aug. 11with soprano Nadine Sierra and tenor Matthew Polenzani.”

For the full feature, which includes an interview with Mr. Conlon, click here.

A Season of Verdi – from LA to Torino to Madrid to Vienna

Mr. Conlon focuses on the music of Verdi throughout his 2018-19 season, conducting more than 35 performances of seven works in the span of twelve months, including his 500th performance of the great Italian composer’s music. This season’s focus on Verdi began in June 2018 when Mr. Conlon conducted Falstaff at the Wiener Staatsoper. The critical acclaim for these performances included the following:

“Taut with a clear baton technique and a voice-friendly balance, [James Conlon] led the opera in such a way that not only the choir and experienced soloists felt supported, but also the numerous singers making their role debuts. The latter gave, for the most part, well founded hope for continued development as it did for the performance in the pit.”  

Die Presse

“At the podium of the orchestra James Conlon’s conducting is attentive and circumspect: the music’s vast mood swings succeeded well.” 

Wiener Zeitung

Mr. Conlon returns to the Wiener Staatsoper for another run of Falstaff in January 2019, followed by Macbeth in May 2019.

At LA Opera as Music Director, Mr. Conlon opens and closes the company’s mainstage season with Don Carlo (September / October 2018) and La traviata (June 2019). Both operas were conducted by him during his inaugural year with LA Opera, and La traviata was the first opera that he conducted as Music Director. (In between the Verdi operas, he conducts Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel and the company premiere of Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito, in a new production by Thaddeus Strassberger.)

Additionally, Mr. Conlon conducts the Teatro Real (Madrid) premiere of Verdi’s Giovanna d’Arco in concert with Plácido Domingo (July 2019) and in his third year as Principal Conductor of the RAI National Symphony Orchestra, leads performances of the Messa da Requiem (October 25, 26).

Recent Critical Acclaim (2018)

Los Angeles Philharmonic — Muhly, Mussorgsky, and Ravel
“Conlon brought an appropriate dramatic approach to Muhly [world premiere Organ Concerto] and to Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” (using Ravel’s orchestration with some added new touches by the conductor, himself). … he began the program with an incisive performance of Ravel’s orchestration of his piano piece, “Le Tombeau de Couperin.””

 Los Angeles Times

LA Opera — Bernstein’s Candide
“Musically this was a glorious evening. Under James Conlon’s dynamically sprung conducting, the company sang with vigor, commitment and startling beauty.”

Opera News

Cincinnati Symphony — Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 (“Titan”)
“Conlon’s masterful reading of Mahler’s First Symphony on Saturday was just the antidote for a cold, snowy weekend … Conlon, who led without a score, displayed a view that was gentle and tranquil, with every detail … vividly brought to the fore.”

Janelle’s Notes, WGUC Classical Radio

RAI National Symphony Orchestra — Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman
“James Conlon never lost sight of the big picture. … his central aim was clearly musical and dramatic unity … Conlon has let us inside the work, as they say, and has shown us its essence.”

La Stampa [translated from Italian]

Opera di Roma — Britten’s Billy Budd
Billy Budd had never been performed in Rome before. This first staging, at the Teatro dell’Opera, directed by Deborah Warner and conducted by James Conlon … was sold out for all six performances and was received with great enthusiasm by an enthralled audience. … Conlon’s conducting showed the orchestra on top form, maintaining an atmosphere of constant tension.”

Opera (UK)

“…a first-class performance, creating a sound world full of dark contrast … It was a detailed performance that captured the subtleties of the score, yet never lost sight of the work’s overall structure. Moreover, Conlon never let the dramatic tension sag, wonderfully capturing just the right tempi and dynamic shadings.”


Orchestre de Paris — Zemlinsky’s Lyric Symphony
“The conducting of James Conlon … demonstrate his affinity for this music, both from the podium and in his heart … this was a Lyric Symphony of both richness and clarity.” 

 ResMusica [translated from French]

# # #

Press contact:
Shuman Associates | (212) 315-1300


Photo credits (top to bottom):
#1: Dan Steinberg / LA Opera
#2: Samantha Lee (used in Santa Barbara Seasons piece)
#4: Lawrence K. Ho / LA Opera
#5: RAI National Symphony Orchestra (via Facebook)

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