Tugan Sokhiev, Music Director of Welsh National Opera, announced his
decision on Wednesday not to conduct further performances of the company’s
new production of La Traviata.
Mr. Sokhiev took up his position as Music Director of WNO in January
2003. His first new production for the Company was in the spring of
this year with Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, the opera with
which he made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera House New York in summer 2003 with the Mariinsky
Theatre (formerly the Kirov Opera). In 2003, he also conducted WNO’s
revivals of Cavalleria rusticana, Pagliacci and
a press announcement dated May 26th, Mr. Sokhiev said: “It goes without
saying that La Traviata is a great masterpiece and I believe
that this outstanding production by Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser
will continue to delight our audiences. However, it is my first Verdi,
and the rehearsal period was significantly disrupted by cast illnesses.
I do not feel, in the circumstances, that I can deliver my musical
vision of the piece. I send the cast, chorus and orchestra my support
and best wishes for the rest of the run.”
Anthony Freud, General Director of WNO, also said: “I fully support Tugan in
his difficult and courageous decision. This repertoire is ideal for him, but
the interruptions to the rehearsal process caused by cast illness have
resulted in a situation with which he feels deeply uncomfortable. It is
typical of his acute self-awareness and clarity of understanding that he has
reached the conclusion which he considers to be in the interests of the
remainder of the performances”.
The remainder of the run will be conducted by Julian Smith, WNO’s
Head of Music, who was scheduled to conduct a number of performances
later in the season. La Traviata will be given in
Southampton (8 & 11 June), Plymouth (15 & 18 June), Birmingham
(22 & 25 June), Bristol (29 June and 2 July), Oxford (6 &
9 July), and Llandudno (13 & 16 July). WNO's Summer Season also
includes Janacek's Katya Kabanova and Bizet's Carmen.
A decision regarding whether Mr. Sokhiev will conduct next year’s
performances of La Traviata will be made in due course. Speaking
personally and not wishing to detract from Julian Smith’s capabilities
in the slightest, as someone who enjoyed this Traviata
and the earlier Onegin
enormously, I sincerely hope that Mr. Sokhiev will be able to return.