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23.11.09

Philippe Jordan Gets Started in Paris

Philippe Jordan, conductorThe name of Philippe Jordan, the new music director of the Opéra national de Paris, came up recently at Ionarts. It looks like he opens his tenure on a fairly sure footing with the Parisian press, judging from the positive review of a concert he gave with the company's orchestra on November 14 at the Opéra Bastille. Here are some of the nice things written by Renaud Machart (Le talent sûr de Philippe Jordan, directeur musical de l'Opéra de Paris, November 17) in Le Monde (my translation):

In [Richard Strauss's Eine Alpensinfonie] Philippe Jordan, who was making his first official appearance at the head of the Orchestra of the Opéra national de Paris since becoming its music director, gave evidence of a sense of nuance and showed that he knows how to make the orchestra sound full without giving it too much free rein. One noted, however -- and it is a feeling that one has already felt listening to him in other situations -- a disparity between a very demonstrative conducting style (with gestures like a javelin thrower or tennis player catching the ball "like a spoon") and an expressive reservedness that can leave the listener just at the edge of real emotion. Still, the musical temperament of this young conductor, 35 years old, is well and good and he never leaves one bored. He should produce some beautiful evenings at the Opéra de Paris.
Jordan also programmed György Ligeti's violin concerto, with Isabelle Faust as the soloist. His next major project for the company will be taking the podium for the first half of a Ring Cycle, starting in the first half of 2010, something he spoke about in an interesting interview for La Croix earlier in the week (in part, he said that he chose the Strauss tone poem to reacquaint himself with the large orchestral palette he will need from this group for the Ring operas). After all the American fuss over Gustavo Dudamel, who is not all that much younger than Jordan, it is a relief to see journalists not wetting themselves before the conductor has had some time to produce some performances.

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