The director of “Tosca” at the Colón, Keri Lynn-Wilson, who did not direct the Russian Anna Netrebko because of the war

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Of Ukrainian origins, which led him to form an orchestra to spread the culture of that country in the aftermath of the Russian invasion, and raised in Winnipeg, the Canadian director Keri Lynn Wilson is the main head of the functions of coarse currently presented by the Teatro Colón.

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One detail does not go unnoticed: Wilson he heads all functions except three, namely those headed by Anna Netrebkothe outstanding Russian soprano.

The fact is directly related to the director’s active stance in favor of Ukraine, and indirectly to the never-relieved tension between Netrebko and the Metropolitan Opera House, headed by Wilson’s husband (Peter Gelb). The Met is one of the institutions where the soprano has reigned and one that has punished her most heavily this year for her alleged adherence to Putin’s government.

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Meanwhile, to Keri-Lynn Wilson, who despite these circumstances is an artist focused on being appreciated for her musical talent beyond any genre or political stance, It’s your turn to find yourself in the middle of that crossfire. Thanks to her cordiality and diplomacy, she accepts an open dialogue without prior censorship, even if she clearly avoids delving into certain non-musical themes.

After the first performance for which she was responsible (the cast led by Netrebko performs under the direction of Michelangelo Mazza), Wilson is more than satisfied with the result: “I had high expectations and I was not disappointed. I felt tremendous enthusiasm during the applause. The orchestra is wonderful and the acoustics too. Sure, the pit is the worst place to perceive those acoustics, but you can feel the warmth of the environment, and it’s a beautiful thing”.

“I love Puccini”

-This is a very classic setting. What do you think of modern productions where the story or characters are altered?

-The staging should enhance the music and tell the story. And there’s only one story; It can be shown from different angles and with different aesthetics. If the stage manager puts too much of his interpretation and the story is distorted, incomprehensible or distant from the wishes of the composer, it is unacceptable.

But if the régisseur follows the wishes of the composer, he can show a new point of view, and this is what keeps the genre alive and makes the repertoire works relevant and interesting for the audience.

-What is your link with Puccini’s music?

-I love Puccini, e coarse It was the second opera I directed. For me Puccini represents the opera composer par excellence. His music breathes life and emotion. I get goosebumps at every performance, and it’s impossible not to feel the emotions that the audience feels. I spent many years working in Torre del Lago, where she lived for many years, I became friends with her niece Simonetta Puccini, and it was wonderful to have been immersed in that culture and her world. Puccini helped me fall in love with opera.

-What do you find most inspiring about conducting opera, and Italian opera in particular?

-I love opera, but as a girl I hated it. I grew up in a very musical family, my sister sang and loved opera, but I couldn’t stand her, I was a snob of the symphonic repertoire and ballet. I loved Bruckner and was very much oriented towards the orchestral repertoire.

Then I went to Juilliard to study the flute, but after four years I felt very limited and lost interest in the instrument. But as I played the flute in the orchestra, read and studied orchestral scores, took conducting lessons, and realized that’s what I wanted to do. I passed the test to study directing at Juilliard, and spent another four years studying and… voila! I never played the flute again.

It wasn’t until I earned my conducting degree and started as associate conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra that I worked one summer for a French opera company in New York. And one day, a businessman, Mario Dradi, the manager of the Three Tenors, was organizing a concert in the Vatican with José Carreras, Daniella Desi and others, and he asked me to conduct.

I accepted, it was a success, and he offered me to direct a Lucia of Lammermoor at the Verona theatre. I had to learn all the bel canto traditions in six months and ended up falling in love with opera. My life took another turn and I started conducting in various theatres, especially Italian opera.

Of prejudices and cancellations

-You stated that you are not interested in seeing your craft from a gender perspective. Despite this, have you ever thought that being a woman was a disadvantage or did you feel discriminated against?

(He snorts) -I don’t think about it because it’s a waste of energy. If they criticize me, I hope it’s for my professional performance, for my qualities as a director and not as a female director. I have had someone from the direction of an orchestra say to me, “Okay, but we already have a female conductor this season.” There are statements that make no sense: women have brains, souls, hearts, hands and physical strength.

-Although it is no longer uncommon for there to be guest conductors in orchestras of the highest level, so far there have been no principal conductors in them. How much do you think is left for that?

-Who knows? Tradition takes time. The Berlin Philharmonic, for example, did not have a single woman in its ranks a few decades ago and is now fully booked, so it will be a crescendo.

-What do you think of the cancellations that have had artists like Plácido Domingo, stronger in the United States than in Europe?

-My opinion is direct: he is a great artist and I respect him as such, but less as a human being.

-We know your differences with Anna Netrebko and the disadvantages regarding your position on the Russian government. But surely they will have crossed paths in the corridors of the Colón. How is your relationship with her?

-We don’t share duties, so I haven’t met her, but if that does happen I’d greet her cordially. Again: it is a matter of humanity. I respect her as an artist.

INFO: Tosca is staged at the Teatro Colón on Saturday 26, Sunday 27, Tuesday 29, Wednesday 30, Thursday 1, Saturday 3, Sunday 4 and Tuesday 6 December.


Source: Clarin

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