Foto: Archive of the Salzburger FestspieleAlthough the USA became his home, Dimitri Mitropoulos is in people’s minds today associated above all with a music-dramatic work that would have been unthinkable without the High Classical culture of Athens, the city of his birth. His success with Elektra by Richard Strauss became a monument to Mitropoulos the opera conductor, but threatens to obscure somewhat his standing in the concert hall – and this despite the fact that it was with the great symphonic ensembles of Europe and America that Dimitri Mitropoulos acquired his worldwide reputation as a preeminent conductor.
Foto: Archive of the Salzburger FestspieleHe confirmed that reputation above all by giving numerous premières of Sergei Prokofiev, Paul Hindemith, Samuel Barber and others. The first performances of Barber’s opera Vanessa, on both sides of the Atlantic, offer a perfect example of Mitropoulos’s exceptional gifts. He conducted these on each continent, both at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and at the Salzburg Festival with the Vienna Philharmonic. He had superb soloists at his disposal, though this was nothing unusual – his Elektra at the next Salzburg Festival, in 1957, can rarely have had a more felicitous cast list. The names of the instrumental soloists with whom Mitropoulos worked in Salzburg are equally illustrious: Robert Casadesus, Zino Francescatti and Glenn Gould. It was during Herbert von KarajanÕs directorship of the Vienna State Opera that Mitropoulos conducted works from the Italian repertoire, wresting them from any sense of routine. It was also during Karajan’s tenure at Salzburg that the number of orchestras performing there was expanded, allowing Mitropoulos to appear with the Concertgebouw Orkest of Amsterdam and the Berlin Philharmonic. His last Salzburg performance was in 1960, with Gustav Mahler’s Symphony of a Thousand. Its final chorus from Goethe’s Faust II, „Everything transient is but a parable“ seems in retrospect more fateful than a matter of mere chance: just a few weeks later, Mitropoulos suffered a fatal heart attack during a rehearsal for another Mahler performance.
Chormusik & Oratorien
Edition zeitgenössisches Lied
Symphonie & Konzert