15 April 2011 at 5.57pm | Comment on this article
Edward Gardner (English National Opera), Vladimir Jurowski (Glyndebourne) and Antonio Pappano (Royal Opera House) © ROH/2011
What do you get when you put three world-famous conductors in a lift? One asks of another: ‘do you have any tips on Mahler’s Das klagende Lied? ‘It all depends on which choirs you've got,' is the reply. ‘What’s it like to conduct?,’ says the third.
This improbable, but rather wonderful, scenario was played out last night, here in the Opera House, en route to the Linbury Theatre where the English National Opera’s Edward Gardner, Glyndebourne’s Vladimir Jurowski and The Royal Opera House’s Antonio Pappano prepared to discuss the daily life of the modern-day conductor. Veteran broadcaster Sir John Tusa lead the questions as part of an Insight event.
On stage, they stopped just short of discussing the niceties of baton technique, but spoke eloquently of their love of music and drama, the challenges of switching from opera to symphonic music, and, most tenderly of their childhoods. Jurowski recalled hearing the last act of Otello as a teenager, the first opera that made him cry. Gardner remembered his love of Fidelio as a boy. Pappano told of seeing his father perform in I Pagliacci and almost crushing the prop knife he was brandishing on stage, he was astonished and thrilled by the physical intensity of the performance.
All three of these moments lie behind the maestros’ favourite pieces of music. We recorded some off-stage moments in the Green Room for you - where they explained all.
Notes on the video: First clip: Antonio Pappano on I Pagliacci, Second clip: Vladimir Jurowski on Otello, Third clip: Edward Gardner on Fidelio