5 May 2010

Frédéric Chaslin Named New Chief Conductor of Santa Fe Opera

Santa Fe Opera announced today that French conductor, composer and pianist Frédéric Chaslin has been hired as the company's new chief conductor.

Chaslin, a native of Paris, will assume the post on October 1, 2010 and, under the terms of the agreement, will occupy the position for three years. Chaslin will open Santa Fe Opera's 2011 season with a new production of Gounod's Faust and will lead at least one new production during each of the subsequent years of his term. Last season, Chaslin led performances of La Traviata that featured Natalie Dessay's first interpretations of Violetta Valéryon the opera stage.

"In his debut last season he established a wonderful rapport with his colleagues both on and off the stage, and especially with the Orchestra," Charles MacKay, Santa Fe Opera's general director, said in a release issued today by the company. "As chief conductor, Maestro Chaslin’s primary responsibility will be to maintain and enhance the high artistic standards and quality of the Opera Orchestra.  With his background, he is eminently qualified."

Chaslin's appointment ends a nearly two-year interregnum of musical administrators at the New Mexico company, following the 2008 resignation of chief conductor Edo de Waart, who, in turn, replaced former music director Alan Gilbert. The search for a new chief conductor reportedly included extensive conversations with members of the company's orchestra, artists and leaders in the music field.

"My appointment is the meeting and perfect combination of a place and orchestra, and a team," Chaslin said.  "The orchestra of The Santa Fe Opera has been extremely responsive and I felt a real and rare communication between the players and myself.   I just loved working with the management and all the team of the Opera who collaborate in a very nice and open spirit with the artists.  In addition, I met a very enthusiastic group of patrons with such a diversity of origins, opinions, domains of activity, but all aiming at one goal:  supporting their Opera with a real passion for music.  So, what more could a conductor ask for?"

Chaslin, who received training at the Paris Conservatoire and the Salzburg Mozarteum, has conducted performances in many of the world's major opera houses in addition to having performed as a pianist and composed for film and orchestra. He served as music director of the Rouen Opera, as well as general music director of the Nationaltheater Mannheim, chief conductor of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and a resident conductor at the Vienna Staatsoper. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2002, pacing performances of Il Trovatore and has gone on to conduct performances there of Les Contes d'Hoffmann, I Vespri Siciliani, Il Barbiere di Siviglia and La Bohème. His opera, Wuthering Heights, was recorded with the London Philharmonic, and his book, Music in Every Sense, will be published in English in the fall.

Santa Fe Opera's 2011 season will also feature stagings of Vivaldi's opera Griselda, Gian Carlo Menotti's The Last Savage — which will mark the centennial of the composer's birth — and revivals of the company's productions of La Bohème and Wozzeck. spacer

More information can be found at Santa Fe Opera, Chaslin.com and the OPERA NEWS Archives.

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