Tuesday, January 15, 2019

But can he conduct?

"Not a dry eye" time. Two French-Canadian guys. One of them, Pierre Tourville, sings a love song to his lover, who just happens to be the conductor of the orchestra at the Met, Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Nézet-Séguin cries not only because of the gesture, but because he knows what it means to Tourville to be joined by his Tourville's hero, Céline Dion.

The story is available in today’s New York Times here if you have a subscription to its digital edition. The song in question, “Quand On N’a Que L’Amour” (“When Love Is All You Have”) is available at the end of the article.

Another glass ceiling is being broken. As the Times article points out, orchestra conducting has been largely the prerogative of straight white males. And how sweet it is. Nézet-Séguin is not the first gay director; he was preceded by Leonard Bernstein and James Levine, both exceptionally gifted musicians who kept their homosexuality a secret. In Bernstein’s case, it was an open secret but he made it clear he was going to play the straight game if that was the only way he'd get the job. Levine followed the pattern of so many Catholic priests whose stunted sexuality twisted them into becoming sexual abusers.

What a joy it is to see an openly gay man publicly acknowledging his lover and sharing his happiness with the world. Tourville is not primarily a singer. His instrument is the viola. Imagine the sounds you hear bouncing off the walls of their house or apartment.

Watch Nézet-Séguin at work (with soprano Diana Damrau) on a new Traviata and you see how much fun he has with his job. Read another article on him here.

And watch his happiness come through too in this interview with Met General Manager Peter Gelb. 

I used to go regularly to the simulcast performances from the Met which plays in local theaters. Somebody needs to explain to me why I drifted away from that habit. If I hadn't I would have seen the Traviata they're talking about.

What a fantastic pick-me-up.

Such a beautiful world, this world of music. So much talent. So much beauty. So much fun.

Here’s Diana Damrau again, this time singing Leonard Bernstein’s Glitter and Be Gay.

OK. I’ll stop here.

Photo credit: Photo above is grabbed from the New York Times article cited, credited to Jeenah Moon.

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