renée fleming is in da’ house alright, but let’s not forget the oregon symphony is hosting another guest artist this evening. after reading *sebastian lang-lessing’s bio, the beaver was struck by this conductor’s penchant for taking jobs in exotic locales… from berlin to cape town to tasmania to his current gig in the most foreign city of ‘em all: san antonio. (i can’t even imagine what this guy’s accent sounds like!) anywho, a minimum of ten questions were most certainly in order, so without further ado, maestro lang-lessing…
so how the heck were you picked to accompany ms. fleming on tour?
Renée and I have the same manager. We have both worked with him for a long time and trust him in every way. As the tour kicked off with my orchestra in San Antonio, it was very natural to do the whole tour together.
makes sense to me. um, i’ve never heard ms. fleming’s voice live ~ what am i in for tonight?
Divine beauty, silky with rich harmonics… always sitting on an endless continuous breath. This all comes with very profound musicianship and artistic integrity and a fantastic diction, no matter what language she is singing in.
ooh, you’re giving me goosebumps ~ yowza, i can’t wait! so, you became music director of the san antonio symphony a little over a year ago. how is leading an american symphony different from directing a band in other countries?
In Europe and Australia, orchestras and opera companies are mainly government funded. The challenge for a music director in the States is to be the face of fundraising in the community. Though you have a professional team for fundraising, it is really your artistic vision that represents the product.
ha! government-funded orchestras?! oh maestro, that’s a good one! whew… oh man… alright, if you don’t want to give me serious answers, i’m not gonna give you serious questions: if you could invite 3 composers for dinner, who would you choose?
That’s a tough one. I don’t have favorites, as I have a very broad repertoire and the inspiration you get from one composer helps understanding the next one. Without loving Schubert, you don’t understand Mahler… I might have to schedule a few dinners, but the first one could be Beethoven, Wagner, and Schumann. It would be a very intellectually inspiring night.
indeed! um, how many batons do you own?
I have lots of the same maker: Rohema/Seidel. They break, they bend, the cork get’s loose…
oh, the one that’s 400mm long and weighs 12 grams? nice. hey, suppose i have 48 hours in tasmania ~ what should i do?
Climb Mount Wellington and enjoy the view over the bay and the city of Hobart, hike Wine Glass Bay, walk the Friendly Beaches at Freycinet National Park, go to a TSO concert, and have dinner at *Garagistes.
hopefully i get to see at least one devil somewhere along the way. in your opinion maestro, what’s so great about live classical music?
It’s an experience that you share with a lot of people at the same time. This creates a spiritual atmosphere of synergy that you can’t have at home alone with your stereo. The sound in a live performance will never be captured in its full richness by any media. Don’t underestimate the visual aspect of a performance and the energy that hits you like huge waves from stage.
you know what, the visual feature of the experience is hardly ever mentioned ~ bravo! so are you excited by any non-classical music?
Yes, but not at the same level. It touches me differently.
if i could buy you a drink, what would you order?
Champagne… I lived in France for too long. It will always be my favorite drink, but I’m picky…
don’t worry, i’ll get the kind with the bubbles in it. okay, last but not least: what are you expecting from our band?
I’ve heard so many great things about this orchestra and am very excited to conduct them. It’s always important to be very open-minded when you come to an orchestra for the first time… to expect the unexpected in a very good way. Every orchestra brings something new and genuine to the repertoire.
well, the beavs is really looking forward to the unexpected tonight. maestro lang-lessing, thanks so much the brilliant responses! [and the good humor! government-funded orchestras… aah, i’ll be chuckling about that one all day…]