Following the abrupt departure of Joseph Colaneri late last year (shockshock! after barely a year in the role!!) WA Opera has named its new Artistic Director as Brad Cohen. As an Australian conductor with significant international experience, and an interest in performing and commissioning new music, Cohen sounds like an ideal choice – all that remains to be seen is if he will deliver on the innovation that Colaneri lacked.
Cohen last worked with WA Opera in last year’s production of The Magic Flute (and it played so sweetly!!), and will be conducting Faust later this year. WA Opera administration have also been keen to establish that Cohen will be IN RESIDENCE for all of the other 2015 WA Opera productions – a welcome change from the practice of Colaneri who made quite a few of the company’s singers quite disgruntled with his absent ways, giving him a reputation of being out of touch with the local musical scene, and which wasn’t aided by his traditional (read:lazy) productions and programming.
All in all this promises good things.
Here is the official statement from WA Opera
WEST AUSTRALIAN OPERA APPOINTS
brad cohen, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
The Board today announced the appointment of Brad Cohen as Artistic Director. Chairman Terry Bowen said Mr Cohen would bring extensive local and international experience to the role, a strong involvement in the commissioning and performance of new music, and direct experience of contemporary opera presentation platforms including television. An Australian conductor based in the United Kingdom, Mr Cohen has an international career and works extensively in Australia and Europe conducting for opera houses, festivals and on the concert platform. A graduate of St John’s College, Oxford, in addition to his conducting career he has worked frequently in TV, notably as a mentor on the BBC series Maestro!, and is active as an editor and publisher of operatic editions. He is published by Edition Peters. His involvement in the performance and commissioning of new music, both on the operatic stage and for television, includes Powder her Face (world premiere), Flight(Australian premiere), Tobias and the Angel, L’augellino Belverde, Man on the Moon andWhen She Died. He has toured the chamber works of Frank Zappa and commissioned music for the opening of the Millennium Dome. He conducted the WAO led coproduction of Otello in its premiere season in Cape Town in 2013 and for the State Opera of South Australia in 2014. This year Mr Cohen will conduct WAO’s Faust and he will be in residence during Madama Butterfly, The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro.