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Social utopia as a core conducting competency – Schedule and projects of the conductor Titus Engel in 2017/18

Is he a musician or a philosopher? Both! The Swiss-born Titus Engel regularly turns musical works into fascinating scenarios of social discourse and elicits meta-information about the (dys)functioning of social harmony from the notes on the page. Musical utopias as aids to explaining the modern world – on and away from the opera stage, with both tried-amd-tested and brand-new repertoire. In the 2017/18 season, he will now be in musical charge of the new production of Verdi’s “La Traviata” at the Stadttheater in Basel (premiere 21.10.), conduct a staged version of the Mendelssohn oratorio “Elijah” in Potsdam (23.11.) and show himself to be a passionate champion of contemporary music production with four German or world premières in Cologne, Basel and Saarbrücken.

“What interests me is a mixture of extreme challenge and entertainment – revealing the depth of ‘Traviata’ and the entertainment value of Stockhausen.” Titus Engel is always on the lookout for the non-obvious, a sublevel of the work that he wants to uncover and bring aurally home to the listeners in its (social) relevance. This turns every time he conducts into an event that leaves many astounded – for example, last season with Mozart’s “Betulia liberate” in Frankfurt am Main (Deutschlandfunk: “Everything sounds powerful, smooth, gripping; it even swings once, like in a jazz club) or at the world première of Chaya Czernowin’s opera “Infinite Now” in Ghent (Badische Zeitung: “The glissandi in the strings of the Symphony Orchestra of the Flemish Opera pull the rug out from under your feet”). A few days ago, this stage work by the Israeli composer was chosen as the première of 2017 by the specialist magazine “Opernwelt” – and Titus Engel, as the main person responsible for the musical direction, was interviewed comprehensively about it in the special yearbook edition.

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