Wolf Trap Opera offers a Terpsichorean, goth take on Glass’s “Fall of the House of Usher”

Those who believe opera should be a feast for the eyes …

Eschenbach at his vivid, captivating best in NSO farewell

This week Christoph Eschenbach concludes his seventh and final season as …

Alice Sara Ott brings singular Tchaikovsky style to NSO

Alice Sara Ott had a dynamic debut with the National Symphony …

König and Gluzman in fine form with Baltimore Symphony’s Parisian program

Christoph König has made a guest appearance with the Baltimore Symphony …

Nearing the finish line, Eschenbach leads NSO in a raucous, uneven Mahler Second

The Christoph Eschenbach era at the National Symphony Orchestra is drawing …


Spivakov, Moscow Virtuosi mark nearly 40 years of a successful partnership

In the late 1970s, the Soviet Union stood at a standstill. …

Top Ten Performances of 2016

1. Washington National Opera: Wagner’s Ring Cycle

Without a doubt, Washington …


Philippe Auguin’s departure a troubling portent for WNO

Thu Jun 22, 2017 at 4:02 pm

Music director Philippe Augin will leave Washington National Opera at the end of the 2017-18 season.

In a late June surprise, Washington National Opera has announced the departure of music director Philippe Auguin. At the end of the 2017-2018 season the highly esteemed French conductor will receive the title of music director emeritus. According to WNO artistic director Francesca Zambello, Auguin is expected to return to conduct some productions in the future. The announcement did not include any information about Auguin’s next position.

By the time he has completed his eighth season next year, Auguin will have conducted seventeen productions at WNO. His work with the WNO Orchestra was often the best part of many of those productions, like the otherwise tepid La Bohème and the kooky Magic Flute, both in 2014, as well as the execrable Così fan tutte in 2012. Guest conductors in the Zambello era, some of whom could be in the running to replace Auguin, have been largely disappointing by comparison, with some exceptions, like Washington Concert Opera’s Antony Walker.

Anyone who was at the concert performance of Götterdämmerung in 2009 will remember how Auguin, replacing ailing music director Heinz Fricke, created a sensation from what could have been a disaster. His conducting of Wagner scores has been one of the delights for Washington opera lovers in the last eight years, including an extraordinary Tristan in 2013, a powerful Flying Dutchman in 2015, and the gorgeous Ring Cycle last year.

When Auguin was paired with an excellent stage director, as in David Alden’s shocking Lucia di Lammermoor in 2011, the results could be outstanding. Auguin’s work in Verdi scores has been equally fine, so it is fitting that his last performances as music director will be in a highly anticipated Don Carlo next March. It is likely, once again, to be a highlight of the season.



June 25

Wolf Trap Opera
Rossini: La Pietra del Paragone
Shea Owens, Anthony …


National Symphony Orchestra hires a new executive director

The National Symphony Orchestra has a new leader.

The Kennedy Center …

Bell takes over Washington Chorus; NSO goes crossover with Ben Folds appointment

Change was already in the air at the National Symphony Orchestra, …