See my little post on the news from Washington National Opera, published at DCist today:
Philippe Auguin Named New Music Director at Washington National Opera (DCist, October 5):
Washington National Opera has had a rough couple of years: the cancellation of its Ring cycle and shortening of its season because of the recession, a rumored merger with the Kennedy Center and the departure of its general director, Plácido Domingo. Even before that, the company's music director, Heinz Fricke -- who had done so much to improve the quality of the Opera Orchestra and conducted so many of its best performances -- became ill. Maestro Fricke came less and less often to Washington, and some of the company's productions languished musically without his much-needed guidance. As rumored this summer and even earlier, Fricke has become music director emeritus, and the man we suspected to be in line to replace him has been officially appointed as new music director.
That conductor is none other than Philippe Auguin, the French conductor who made an extraordinary debut with the company last year, as the guiding force behind a stunning concert performance of Wagner's Götterdämmerung, the completely unexpected and yet superlative conclusion to WNO's doomed Ring cycle.
Anne Midgette broke the story in this morning's Post: "The musicians appear to be thrilled. 'From the very first downbeat of our first rehearsals with him last year, the orchestra felt an instant connection to Maestro Auguin', said Greg Drone, the principal horn player and chair of the orchestra committee. (The players demonstrated their approval with an unusual ovation from the pit at the end of the evening.)" [Continue reading]