Opera North is thrilled to welcome Aleksandar Markovic to Leeds this week, as the Company’s new Music Director.
He joins the Company as rehearsals start for the opening production in the 2016/17 season, Strauss's great comic opera, Der Rosenkavalier. Conducted by Aleksandar Markovic with a cast including Ylva Kihlberg as the Marschallin, Helen Sherman as Octavian, Fflur Wyn as Sophie and Henry Waddington as Baron Ochs, David McVicar's sumptuous production opens in Leeds on 17 September, before touring.
The 40-year-old Serbian conductor made a dynamic mainstage debut last year, conducting Janáček’s Jenůfa (2015) in performances praised for their punchy and idiomatically Czech style. In recent seasons he has also led the Orchestra of Opera North in symphonic concert programmes, including works by Wagner and Strauss.
As Der Rosenkavalier rehearsals begin, Aleksandar Markovic comments:
“Der Rosenkavalier is arguably Strauss’s most popular masterpiece. Due to its perfect balance of humour, sweeping romanticism, brilliant scoring, an ingeniously witty text, and moments that are bluntly grotesque contrasted with those of the deepest sincerity, this opera offers such a wide spectrum of expression, seducing the audience with its irresistible charm and sensual appeal.
"Unfolding Rosenkavalier’s magic is a great challenge for everyone involved, but an even greater gratification!”
Aleksandar Markovic also conducts the opening concert in the Orchestra of Opera North's annual symphonic concert season in Kirklees, with a concert of Fantastic Dreams and Visions on 22 September at Huddersfield Town Hall. The programme includes Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, Scriabin's ethereal Nuances, and Rachmaninov's Variations on a theme of Paganini, performed by pianist Pavel Kolesnikov.
Based in Vienna for much of his career to date, Aleksandar Markovic was Music Director and Principal Conductor at the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra from 2009 to 2015. He previously held the post of Chief Conductor at the Tyrolean Opera House in Innsbruck (Tiroler Landestheater) from 2005-08, conducting productions of Salome, The Flying Dutchman, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Le nozze di Figaro, Nabucco and Norma, among many others.
Richard Mantle, General Director, Opera North, comments:
“We are delighted to welcome Aleksandar as our new Music Director this week, as well as taking up the role of Principal Conductor of the Orchestra of Opera North, Yorkshire's Symphony Orchestra.
“Opera North is unique amongst UK companies in that our wonderful orchestra sustains a significant symphonic programme alongside a full opera season. Having already delivered performances of great vivacity and depth of expression, both in the opera house and on the concert platform, Aleksandar brings his flair, energy and musicality to the Company and, as a colleague, he will play a crucial part as Opera North forges into the future.”
Aleksandar Markovic. Credit: Vladimir Miloradovic
Janis Kelly (Marschallin) and Deanne Meek (Octavian) in Opera North's 2002 production of Der Rosenkavalier. Credit: Stephen Vaughan