'Naganomania' Brings Sellout Crowds and New Listeners to Montreal Symphony

Classic Arts News   'Naganomania' Brings Sellout Crowds and New Listeners to Montreal Symphony
Kent Nagano, music director of the Orchestre symphonique de Montr_al (OSM), has been a smash hit with audiences since beginning his tenure last September, reports the Montreal Gazette.

Every regular subscription concert he conducted this season sold out; "L'effet Nagano" and "Naganomania" are now reportedly established catchphrases in Montreal. OSM ticket sales in general were up 15% over last season, according to the paper.

Concertgoers at last weekend's performances, the final ones of the regular OSM season, were reportedly so excited that they clapped not only between movements, but during the first movement of Mahler's Second Symphony — a good indication that the orchestra had attracted new listeners. Only the local critics gave Nagano a cooler reception.

OSM managing director Madeleine Careau also credited the Nagano effect for healthy audience turnout for guest conductors, according to the Gazette.

Nagano's popularity won't ensure a budget surplus, however: many of his programs, such as the Schoenberg cantata Gurre-Lieder and a complete concert performance of Tristan und Isolde, are expensive to produce. With few exceptions, according to the Gazette, OSM presentations cost more than they earn. (Such is the case, in fact, with most performances by large-scale professional orchestras and opera companies.)

The 55-year-old Nagano began his tenure of the OSM with a sold-out concert on September 6 featuring Charles Ives's The Unanswered Question, Galina Ustvolskaya's Symphony No. 4 ("Prayer") and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

Nagano was named to the OSM's music director post in March of 2004, two years after Charles Dutoit resigned abruptly when musicians accused him of autocratic behavior.

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