20 (PLUS) QUESTIONS WITH: Sir Andrew Davis

Classic Arts Features   20 (PLUS) QUESTIONS WITH: Sir Andrew Davis
Sir Andrew Davis has been music director of the renowned Lyric Opera of Chicago since 2000. Between performances of The Magic Flute, Davis offers the latest installment of “20 (Plus) Questions.”


Along with general director Anthony Freud and Lyric's creative consultant Renée Fleming, he is a major cultural force in the Windy city and around the world.

1. A few works of classical music that you adore:

There are seven of them:
Thomas Tallis: Lamentations of Jeremiah
J.S. Bach: St. Matthew Passion
W. A. Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro
Hector Berlioz: L’enfance du Christ
Edward Elgar: The Dream of Gerontius
Fredrick Delius: Sea Drift
Alban Berg: Lulu

2. Classical music recordings that you treasure:

Leoš Janáček: Glagolitic Mass – Karel Ančerl with The Czech Philharmonic

3. Favorite non-classical musicians and/or recordings:

The Beatles, Oscar Peterson, Ravi Shankar

4. Music that makes you cry – any genre:

The end of Dialogues of the Carmelites by Poulenc
Delius: Brigg Fair
Rap music, for the wrong reasons! ;)

5. Definitely underrated work(s) or composer (s):

Elgar: Falstaff
Debussy: Jeux
Ives: Symphony No. 4

6. Possibly overrated work(s) or composer (s):

Orff: Carmina Burana

7. Live music performance (s) you attended – any genre – that you’ll never forget:

Premiere of a choral piece by my son Edward, written in memory of my father

8. A few relatively recent films you love:

The King’s Speech
War Horse

9. A few films you consider classics:

Oh, Mr. Porter
Kind Hearts and Coronets
On Golden Pond

10. A book (or two) that is important to you (and why):

Hermann Hesse: The Glass Bead Game. I’ve read it four times, and it never ceases to mesmerize me.

11. Thing(s) about yourself that you’re most proud of:

My ability to search out the most economical travel option for any trip

12. Thing(s) about yourself that you’re embarrassed by:

See Number 11

13. Three things you can’t live without:

Music, Books, Travel

14. “When I want to get away from it all I…”

I find a book that I know will be difficult, like Shakespeare’s Sonnets or anything that tries to explain to me what space time is

15. “People are surprised to find out that I…”

was an organist before I took up conducting

16. “My favorite cities are…”

Chicago, Toronto, Venice, Barcelona

17. “I have a secret crush on…”

Meryl Streep

18. “My most obvious guilty pleasure is…”

watching game shows. I love the game show network

19. “I’d really love to have met…”

Alban Berg

20. “I never understood why…”

So many people put apostrophes in the wrong place


21. Question you wish someone would ask you (and the answer to that question):

Q: Maestro, what can I get you to drink?

A: A negroni!

Past installments of 20 (PLUS) QUESTIONS:

Countertenor Iestyn Davies

Opera Legend Marilyn Horne

Tenor Stephen Costello

Pianist Alexandre Tharaud

Tenor Jonas Kaufmann

Soprano Christine Brewer

Soprano Kate Royal

Baritone Paulo Szot

Baritone Nathan Gunn

Bass-Baritone John Relyea

Pianist Yuja Wang

Pianist Kirill Gerstein

Organist Cameron Carpenter

Choreographer Peter Martins

Soprano Diana Damrau

Pianist Simone Dinnerstein

Pianist David Fray

Violinist Sarah Chang

Pianist Ingrid Fliter

Mezzo-Soprano Joyce DiDonato

Pianist Yefim “Fima” Bronfman

Soprano Sandrine Piau

Soprano Natalie Dessay

Harpsichordist and Conductor Christophe Rousset

Guitarist Xuefei Yang

Tenor Giuseppe Filianoti

Soprano Nicole Cabell

Pianist Jonathan Biss

Tenor Ian Bostridge

Soprano Danielle de Niese

New-Music Sextet eighth blackbird

Composer and Violinist Mark O'Connor

Composer Jake Heggie

Composer Ricky Ian Gordon

Pianist David Greilsammer


Albert Imperato, a music promoter who co-founded 21C Media Group in January 2000, writes frequently about the arts for various publications and blogs. 

His new series, 20 (PLUS) QUESTIONS, is his take on (and nod to) Vanity Fair's "Proust Questionnaire." Email him at aimperato@21cmediagroup.com.

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