Kazushi Ono returns to La Monnaie / De Munt on 10 September to conduct the season-opening world premiere of Cassandra, with music by Bernard Foccroulle and libretto by Matthew Jocelyn, which runs until 23 September.
In a new interview for Maestro Arts he said: ‘I get excited by the many dimensions of opera: singers, orchestra, set design, costumes, chorus, backstage. When everyone is concentrating a hundred per cent I enjoy sending the results to the audience. When that happens I feel nothing! That’s because during the preparations and rehearsals I’m at the centre of activities and say so many things, but during the performance I don’t speak at all. My movements are minimal and concentrated so that the orchestral players listen to each other. An orchestra pit is very wide and not as big as a concert stage so the players have to be very sensitive. As a conductor you can’t make big movements.
‘This is one of the miracle achievements of a conductor – creating absolute concentration. In a bigger concert hall the players can see me (even if they don’t want to!): they can see my face to make eye contact, but in an orchestra pit it’s so dark that not everyone can see my eyes. I also have another dimension to control, on stage. A pit orchestra should be like a soft cloud for the singers, supporting their sound and sending it up to the upper circle of the audience.’
Photo of Kazushi Ono conducting Brussels Philharmonic: Wouter Van Vaerenbergh