The conductor takes the helm of Italian opera | Opera

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A female conductor will take the helm of an Italian opera for the first time in January.

Ukrainian conductor Oksana Lyniv said she was surprised to learn that she was making history after receiving the offer from the opera Teatro Comunale in Bologna. The 43-year-old begins the post of three-year music director on January 22.

“I did not know, when I received the letter from the Teatro Comunale, that I would be the first female conductor of an Italian opera,” she said. “I am very honored and happy to be a part of this historic turning point. “

This is not the first time that Lyniv, who was previously the principal conductor of the Austrian opera in Graz, has innovated. In July, she became the first female conductor to open the Bayreuth Opera Festival in Germany in its 145-year history. She conducted Richard Wagner’s Flying Dutchman in front of a delighted audience which included former German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Born in Brody, western Ukraine, to musician parents, Lyniv conducted her first orchestra at the age of 16 before studying at the Lysenko Music School in Lviv.

She said it was difficult for musicians to get along at the time because the majority of conductors and teachers were men.

“There was no living example of a woman we could learn from or get advice from,” Lyniv added. “But it’s less difficult now – in orchestras today you see a lot more women. Conditions are much better now that society is thinking more about equal rights – so young female conductors should not hold back, they should seize the opportunities and seize the opportunity.

Lyniv said that Italy was “a very important place for the arts and opera” and that “it is important that this change happens now”.

Her first opera production will be Umberto Giordano’s Andrea Chénier and she will also conduct the music of some of her favorite composers, including Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Bruckner, Richard Strauss and Ukrainian composer Boris Lyatoshinsky.

The Teatro Comunale in Bologna opened in 1763 with a performance by Christoph Willibald Gluck Il trionfo di Clelia (The triumph of Cloelia), and then hosted Wagner as well as some of Italy’s greatest composers, including Verdi, Rossini and Bellini.

Lyniv said one of his goals during his tenure would be to get more young people interested in opera.


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