A new chapter begins at Opera Vlaanderen with Alejo Pérez
Alejo Pérez is the sort of conductor one can encounter everywhere – everywhere in the world, everywhere in music. He conducts in Antwerp, Salzburg, Tokyo and Luxembourg, in Madrid, Rome, Lyon and Buenos Aires. And the works in his repertoire differ from one another as widely as these cities do. His interpretations range from Mozart, Cherubini and Stravinsky to Gounod, Massenet, Bartók and Schoenberg. Operas, symphonic repertoire, chamber-music works – he can turn his hand to anything. It may seem driven and hectic when a conductor spends perhaps just 10 per cent of his working time and life in the place where he says he feels at home – in the Teatro Colón – but as Pérez stresses in an interview with the theatre magazine Deutsche Bühne, this “constant variety” is something he likes “very, very much”.
As of the coming season, however, there will be another place in the life of this 45-year-old conductor that he will not just visit occasionally but be able to leave a lasting musical mark on: Opera Vlaanderen in Antwerp and Ghent, where he will in future conduct at least two operas and three symphonic programmes in every season as music director.
Pérez says he immediately felt “a great affinity” with the ensemble, the Symfonisch Orkest Opera Ballett Vlaanderen, when he conducted it at the opera house for the first time, “and that is something you should not underestimate: the chemistry has to be right and you have to be on the same wavelength; that is essential for any artistic project.” The projects he will be undertaking in his first season are diverse and include two real heavyweights: Giuseppe Verdi’s “Don Carlo” in the five-act version, directed by Johan Simons (premiere on 19 September 2019) and Franz Schreker’s “grand magical opera” from 1932 with the title “Der Schmied von Gent”/“The Smith of Ghent” (premiere on 2 February 2020). Pérez has already conducted “Don Carlos” at the Teatro Argentino de La Plata, the South American premiere of this work in the original French version. Pérez is also familiar with Schreker’s musical idiom, having among other things interpreted the opera “Die Gezeichneten”/”The Stigmatised” at its French premiere in March 2015.
In the current season he will also be conducting a new production of Puccini’s “Turandot” at the opera in Rome under the direction of Ai Weiwei.