By Janelle Gelfand
Enquirer staff writer
James Conlon, Cincinnati May Festival music director for 25 years, has been appointed music director of the Los Angeles Opera.
His three-year contract begins July 1, 2006.
"I am just thrilled," Conlon said Monday by phone from Florence, Italy, where he was conducting Mussorgsky's opera Khovanshchina. "I was not looking for a job and (general director) Placido Domingo called me, and then started a long discussion and negotiation. They have given me everything I've asked for."
Conlon, 54, will keep his May Festival post "absolutely," he said. "As it has always been with all of my contracts, the May Festival is always there and will be there for a long time."
Conlon will join the superstar tenor Domingo and artistic director Edgar Baitzel as the artistic team for what he calls "the fastest-growing opera company in the country."
"I was surprised, really, that they could offer as much as they could in artistic possibilities and a very creative situation," Conlon said.
Domingo cited his 25-year friendship with Conlon as well as two important performances at the Metropolitan Opera where Conlon conducted the tenor, as well as their collaborations at the Paris Opera.
"I have always been struck by his exceptional musical perception and uncanny understanding of voices," Domingo said in a statement in which the appointment was announced.
In July, Conlon concluded his tenure as principal conductor of Paris Opera since 1995, the longest of any conductor there in six decades.
Founded in 1984, Los Angeles Opera performs in the 3,086-seat Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, which the company formerly shared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Its planned expansion of the opera season coincides with the Los Angeles Philharmonic's move to the new Disney Hall, Conlon said.
Conlon adds the opera post to his recent appointment as music director of the Ravinia Festival, summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a position that begins next summer.
Yoga: Five easy poses
Getting started in yoga
Yoga instructor recommends poses
Maestro displays chilling mastery
Young Lefthander longed for home
Photo Gallery: Joe Nuxhall retrospective
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
May Fest's Conlon gets LA Opera
O'Brien to replace Leno ... in 2009
R.E.M. to play the Taft Theatre
'Origins' asks how Earth began
Networks shift lineups for debate
Settlement could bring Beatles' tunes online
Queen Latifah gets jazzy
Spears says she wants a baby
Shelf life: What's happening this week
Dictionary defines British lives
Get to it: A guide to help make your day