The Postponed Musical Feast of a Woman Maestro in Paris
Part One of a digital conversation with Keri-Lynn Wilson presented by The American Friends of the Paris Opera and Ballet
Access to the full video of the webinar at the bottom of the post.
A French version was published via Le Petit Journal
Only a handful of women conducted at the Paris Opera, and none of them ever took her baton to present Carmen, possibly one of the greatest operas of all time. The Canadian-born Keri-Lynn Wilson was supposed to do just that—and to also make her debut in Paris last December.
With the threat of Covid19 everywhere, and the measures local and national governments have taken to contain the pandemic, Wilson’s calendar has been reduced to just a few performances. A digital tour of her website (here) lists the many changes: A Concert with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, the Grand Opera Gala at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Carmen at the Bastille Opera, Rigoletto with the Bayerische Staatsoper, all canceled… With the exception of the opening streamed-concert of Mozart’s Week last January 21st, Wilson actually has not conducted for a live audience since March 2020.
Yet, had the French Government not decided to shut down all theaters in France a few days before the Christmas holidays, she would have led an exceptional performance, in times of Covid19 and in a major European city. A musical feast.
The Art of the Virus with Olivia Tournay Flatto
A moving body, notes in harmony, an emotion, a knowledge, a narrow door toward a new idea, an engine inherent to life, to the mere concept of human beings’ survival, science and art maintain an intimate relationship, two mirrors reflecting each other and focusing on the hope of creation.
A professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) actually just metamorphosed Covid19 into a musical existence, similar to the work of a composer, an exceptional melody that could help science to better understand the mechanics and weaknesses of this devastating virus.
Art in the service of science, science in the service of art. Olivia Tournay Flatto is no stranger to the crossover between these two fields.
A scientist herself and President of the Pershing Square Foundation, she has developed a fund to support young researchers with bold and new ideas in the fight against cancer. Passionate about ballet, she is a member of the Board of the Friends of the Paris Opera and President in New York of the American Friends of the Paris Opera & Ballet (AFPOB), created 35 years ago in response to Rudolf Nureyev’s request to support a tour in the United States of the ballet company, which he directed.
The halls of the Palais Garnier and the Opéra Bastille are now closed until further notice; laboratories are mostly concentrating their research on a Covid19 vaccine. Yet science and art—brain and heart—remain more than ever the essence of our lives.