Video: Johannes Debus on Conducting at Canadian Opera Company

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By: Mar. 06, 2024
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Watch as Canadian Opera Company Music Director Johannes Debus explores the nature of conducting, the "breathing animal that an orchestra is," and his role in bringing music to life with the incredible artists of the COC Orchestra.

"Conducting is some sort of alchemy…" he says.

German-born conductor Johannes Debus was appointed Music Director of the COC in 2009, having already established himself in many of the great opera houses and festivals of Europe. Since making his COC debut in 2008, he has captivated Toronto and international critics alike, skillfully leading productions that include Götterdämmerung, Eugene Onegin, Otello, and the COC world premiere of Hadrian in 2018. Throughout the pandemic, his work for digital included the hosting of Solo Spotlights, a video series highlighting musicians of the COC Orchestra, as well as conducting for several of the company’s online presentations, including: In Winter, In Concert with Jane Archibald, and Bluebeard’s Castle. Johannes marks his return to live audience performances with Verdi’s La Traviata in spring 2022.

When he is not conducting at the COC, Mr. Debus is very active with international engagements that include appearances with the BBC Proms, the orchestras of Boston, Baltimore, Cleveland, Aspen, the National Arts Centre, Houston, and Toronto, at the Spoleto, Bregenz and Tanglewood festivals, and at opera companies such as San Francisco, Berlin Staatsoper, Komische Oper Berlin, Opera Frankfurt, and Bayerische Staatsoper, among many others. In 2016, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut conducting Salome, and returned in 2017 to conduct The Tales of Hoffmann.