The Flanders Opera Symphony Orchestra was formed in early 1989 after a series of auditions for an international jury. This young and dynamic orchestra is composed of about 80 Belgian and foreign musicians.
The orchestra made its debut in 1989 in a concert featuring the mezzo-soprano Agnes Baltsa conducted by the then musical director, Rudolf Werthen, in the Pacification Hall at Ghent City Hall. Since then the orchestra has played in numerous successful opera productions such as Verdi's Simon Boccanegra, Otello, Un ballo in maschera, Falstaff, Rigoletto, La Forza del Destino, Il Trovatore, Luisa Miller, La Traviata and Giovanna d’Arco; Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin and Pikovaja Dama; Richard Strauss' Elektra, Der Rosenkavalier, Daphne, Arabella and Salome; Puccini's Edgar, La Rondine, Manon Lescaut, Tosca, Turandot, La Bohème, Madama Butterfly, La Fanciulla del West and Il Trittico; Wagner's Parsifal, Der fliegende Holländer, Rienzi, Lohengrin and Tristan und Isolde; Mozart's da Ponte operas, La Clemenza di Tito, Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Idomeneo; Handel's Alcina, Ariodante, Orlando and Rinaldo; Rossini's La Cenerentola and Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Massenet's Cendrillon and Werther, Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann and Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel. The orchestra also performed several 20th-century operas such as Britten's Billy Budd, Sir Michael Tippett's King Priam, Giorgio Battistelli’s Prova d’Orchestra, Hans Werner Henze's Der Prinz von Homburg, and the world creations of a.o. Piet Swerts' Les Liaisons dangereuses, Wim Henderickx’s Achilleus and Giorgio Battistelli’s Richard III. Furthermore they played Alban Berg's Lulu, Janacek's Jenufa, Cunning Little Vixen and Kat’a Kabanova, Maderna’s Venetian Journal/Satyricon and Thomas Adès’ Powder her Face.
From 1993 until spring 1997 Stefan Soltesz was music director. As from the 1997-1998 season Soltesz became the general manager of Aalto Theatre in Essen. Marc Minkowski succeeded him as music director. Under his direction the orchestra gained much acclaim with Cendrillon (Massenet), Oberon (Weber) and Idomeneo (Mozart). The orchestra was conducted later by music director Massimo Zanetti (2000-2002). From 2002 on, its principal guest conductor is Ivan Törzs.
Silvio Varviso has been a permanent guest conductor at the Flanders Opera for several years now. Varviso has been much praised for his original and elegant interpretation of Puccini’s operas, as well as for his captivating performances of Wagner's Parsifal and Tristan und Isolde.
The Flanders Opera Symphony Orchestra also frequently performs under guest conductors such as Thomas Fulton, Gabriel Chmura, Jos van Immerseel, Paul Dombrecht, Elgar Howarth, Imre Palló, Graeme Jenkins, Ingo Metzmacher, Evelino Pidó, Pinchas Steinberg, Bernhard Kontarsky, Lawrence Renes, Roy Goodman, Patrick Davin, Patrick Fournillier, Marc Piollet, Balász Kocscár, Gianandrea Noseda, Francisco de Gálvez and Jean-Claude Casadesus.
Last update on 14 November 2012
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