James Conlon Talks Mozart and The Abduction from the Seraglio

A scene from James Robinson’s “Orient Express” production of The Abduction from the Seraglio; Photo: George Hixson / Houston Grand Opera

“Nothing is as ugly as vengeance, whereas the quality of great souls is to be humanely kind and forgive without selfishness.” (Act III, The Abduction from the Seraglio*)

In the final months of his life, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart completed two operas, written simultaneously in 1791: The Magic Flute, a German Singspiel (“singing play”) alternating musical numbers with spoken dialogue; and La Clemenza di Tito (The Clemency of Titus), an Italian opera seria. He might just as well have given his earlier Singspiel, 1782’s The Abduction from Seraglio, a different title: The Clemency of Pasha Selim. After all, the planned abduction fails to materialize. And of the many issues addressed in this work, the rejection of vengeance and the power of forgiveness are at its center, embodied in the person of Pasha Selim.

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James Conlon Renews Contract with LA Opera as Music Director

(Los Angeles) January 13, 2017 — General Director Plácido Domingo announced today that James Conlon has renewed his contract as the company’s Richard Seaver Music Director through the end of the 2020/21 season. Currently celebrating his tenth anniversary with the company, Mr. Conlon has conducted 314 performances to date for LA Opera. When he returns to the podium of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on January 28 to conduct The Abduction from the Seraglio, he will have conducted 50 different operas at LA Opera.

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Corriere della sera- Conlon: my classical music born out of Ellis Island immigrants

This is an English translation. Click here to read the original Italian

Having long been at the Los Angeles Opera, the American conductor will lead the RAI National Symphony Orchestra: Proud of his Italian origin, it was Maria Callas that gave him confidence
by Valerio Cappelli

“I was born and raised in New York in the 50s”—says James Conlon—“from a Catholic family with Irish, German and Italian roots. I was the fourth of five children, from a home with little money. My great-grandfather, Giuseppe di Grazia, was a musician like me and came from Calvello, a small town in Basilicata.”

Having long held a stable assignment with the Los Angeles Opera (where in 2010 he conducted the company’s first complete Wagner Ring Cycle), starting Thursday he will also become principal conductor of the RAI National Symphony Orchestra in Turin, conducting two Fifth Symphonies (Schubert and Mahler), with the concert broadcast live on Rai5.

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Upcoming Performances

LA Opera Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA   January 28, February, 04, February, 08, February, 12, February, 16, February, 19, 2017
Zipper Hall, The Colburn School, Los Angeles, CA   February 03, 2017

Mozart: Serenade No. 10, “Gran Partita”

LA Opera Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA   February 18, 25, March, 02, March, 05, March, 16, March, 19, 2017

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