Anthony Hermus returns to conduct Opera North for Ariadne auf Naxos

Antony Hermus launched his 2022-23 season with his inaugural concert as Chief Conductor Designate of
the Belgian National Orchestra on 9 September 2022 and returns to Opera North as Principal Guest
Conductor for new production of Ariadne auf Naxos (18 February – 24 March 2023)

Conductor’s schedule this season includes world premieres of works by Unsuk Chin with the
Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France (12 February), appearances with the Royal Philharmonic
Orchestra, Danish National and Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León, and North American debut
(Oregon Symphony)

Positive energy, engaging enthusiasm and uplifting optimism are bedrock conditions for Antony Hermus. The
Dutch conductor’s art and craft are shaped by his desire to bring people together, to reveal and reinforce the
common connections that link audiences, performers and all concerned with making and listening to music. His
unifying mission continues throughout the coming year, which sees his debut season as Chief Conductor
Designate of the Belgian National Orchestra, concert performances of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice and a new
staging of Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos with Opera North, world premieres of landmark works by Unsuk
Chin during the latest edition of Radio France’s Présences festival at the Philharmonie de Paris, and a series
of high profile guest conducting engagements in Europe, the UK and the United States.

“I don’t like to be put into a box,” observes Antony Hermus. “I prefer to be considered on my qualities as a
musician and a person rather than on any one single area of repertoire. We need to break open the boxes as
musicians and let people hear music of all kinds. I have so many positive experiences of introducing classical
music to people who discovered a real love for it that they didn’t know they had! I feel it is my place, wherever I
go, to connect people, to bring musicians, audiences, managements, everyone involved front and backstage
together. This is my role in the world!”

Opera North appointed Antony Hermus as its Principal Guest Conductor in 2019 following the tremendous
success of his debut with Tosca, having previously guested in houses such as Stuttgart, Strasbourg and
Gothenburg and his extensive experience as Music Director of two German opera companies. He is set to return
to Opera North to conduct Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice in concert in Huddersfield, Leeds, Nottingham and
Manchester (20 October – 18 November 2022) as part of the company’s Orpheus season. Alice Coote headlines
the cast as Orfeo, with Fflur Wyn taking the role of Euridice and Daisy Brown that of Amor.

Hermus turns to the music of his beloved Richard Strauss for his second Opera North outing of the season. He
will conduct four performances of Ariadne auf Naxos at the Grand Theatre, Leeds, directed by Rodula Gaitanou
and staged in co-production with Gothenburg Opera (18, 21 & 24 February, 1 March 2023) before leading the
show on tour to Manchester, Nottingham and Newcastle (10, 17 & 24 March). The production’s fine cast includes
Hannah Hipp as the composer, Elizabeth Llewellyn as the prima donna and Ariadne, Erin Caves as the tenor
and Bacchus, Daniel Norman as the dancing master, Jennifer France as Zerbinetta, John Savournin as
Truffaldino and the Major-Domo and Daisy Brown as Naiad.

“I was delighted when Opera North asked me to become Principal Guest Conductor,” comments Antony
Hermus. “This means I am able to develop our already strong relationship and conduct at least one opera that
I love each season. Opera North is a very versatile, open-minded organisation. They are truly connected to
society as a warm-hearted opera company. I was blown away by their standard of delivery when we did Tosca
together and am struck by their total dedication. They feel like family to me.” Ariadne auf Naxos, he adds, is the
ideal work to display the company’s all-round excellence. “It’s such a refined and sophisticated work, with an
orchestra of twenty-six players sounding like a hundred. I’m a Strauss addict, so I can’t wait to explore this
amazing music with Opera North and this wonderful cast!”

Following his decision to step down as Dessau Opera’s General Music Director in 2015, after garnering
enormous critical and popular acclaim with the company’s first Ring cycle for half a century (attended by the
International Wagner Congress), Hermus turned his focus on guest conducting work in the Netherlands and
beyond. His schedule in subsequent seasons included engagements with, among other leading orchestras, the
Royal Concertgebouw, Philharmonia and BBC Scottish Symphony.

“When the Belgian National Orchestra asked me to become their Chief Conductor back in Spring 2021, I had
already worked with the orchestra twice before, and I knew it was the ideal orchestra for me,” observes Antony
Hermus. “Its players are quite amazing, they play at a very high level, work hard and really put everything into
their performances. They occupy a unique position in Belgian cultural life, attract star soloists (we open my first
season with Hilary Hahn) and are the house orchestra of the famous Queen Elisabeth Competition. Brussels,
a city I know well, is an exciting place for me.”

In addition to his work in Brussels, Antony Hermus is set to make his debut with the Orchestre Philharmonique
de Radio France on 12 February as part of its Présences festival. The upcoming series, devoted to the music
of Unsuk Chin, includes the first performance of a new version of the South Korean composer’s Le silence des
sirènes, the world premieres of Francesco Filidei’s Cello Concerto and Théo Mérigeau Hoquetus Animalis and
the French premiere of Chin’s Puzzles and Games from Alice in Wonderland.

“I have a close connection to Unsuk,” says Antony Hermus. “We got to know each other when I took over a
programme with the Netherlands National Youth Orchestra, which is another one of my musical passions. Her
Rocaná was on the bill. It’s an incredibly demanding work to play, but the kids just got on with it and Unsuk was
delighted with what they achieved. We’ve worked together often since, at the Helsinki Philharmonic, Swedish
Radio Symphony and elsewhere, and I was very happy to be invited for the Présences festival. She’s one of
the major composers of our time, with a very individual idiom and clear soundworld.”

Other significant debut dates for Antony Hermus this season include concerts in London, Hull and Reading with
the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (3-5 May), a programme of works by Chin, Gershwin and Shostakovich with
the Oregon Symphony (12-15 May), and concerts in Valladolid with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León
(25 & 26 May). Hermus will resume his ongoing Mahler cycle as Principal Guest Conductor of the North
Netherlands Orchestra with a compelling coupling of Brahms’s Gesang des Parzen (“Song of the Fates”) and
Deryck Cooke’s completion of Mahler’s Tenth Symphony (16 & 17 December). He will also perform Mahler as
part of the orchestra’s ‘Symphonic Cinema’ series, to accompany The Echo of Being by Dutch film director
Lucas van Woerkum (20 & 21 April), and conduct the Mahler’s Ninth Symphony with the Residentie Orkest (28
& 29 April).

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