Alan Gilbert, Cosi fan tutte, Julliard School, New York Philharmonic
Alan Gilbert, whose tenure as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic has just been extended through the 2016-17 season, heads across Lincoln Center Plaza this month to lead three fully-staged performances of Mozart's Così fan tutte at the Juilliard School (Nov 14, 17, & 19), where he serves as Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies.
Directed by Stephen Wadsworth, whose Metropolitan Opera successes include Boris Godunov and Iphigénie en Tauride, this new production is a co-presentation by the conservatory and the opera company. The Juilliard Orchestra supports a cast drawn from the Met's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and Juilliard's Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts, with set design by Charlie Corcoran, lighting by David Lander, and costumes by Camille Assaf.
Gilbert, who became Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies at Juilliard in September 2011, and who also holds the school's William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies, explains:
"I have found working with the incredibly dedicated instrumental students at Juilliard to be enormously inspiring, and I am very gratified now to be sharing my passion for opera not only with them but also with Juilliard vocal students and Lindemann Young Artists. This is precisely the sort of project for which the collaboration between the Metropolitan Opera and the Juilliard School decided to join forces, and it reflects the chemistry that the founders of Lincoln Center envisioned when they brought all these cultural institutions together."
Gilbert's most recent opera performances were in Stockholm where, last season, he conducted Wagner's Lohengrin in his debut with the Royal Swedish Opera. Over the past few seasons he has scored notable operatic triumphs in New York. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in November 2008, leading John Adams's Doctor Atomic in the first New York staging of the opera, and the Met's first production of an Adams opera; a DVD of that production, conducted by Gilbert, won a 2012 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording. With the New York Philharmonic, he led performances of operas by Ligeti and Janácek that were enthusiastically praised. The production of Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre was described as an "instant milestone" by the New York Times and an "improbable sensation" by the New Yorker. Writing about the production of Janácek's The Cunning Little Vixen that followed a season later, veteran critic Peter G. Davis noted for Musical America: "Clearly Gilbert not only loves Janácek, but also understands his music, its tricky ebb and flow, structural originality, unusual textural blends and, above all, its deep humanity. 'The operatic event of the season,' someone mumbled on the way out after the first performance on Wednesday. He might well be right."