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The Lyric Stage: May 5 - Conductor Julius Rudel

Julius Rudel led the New York City Opera Company, from 1957 to 1979. By the time he left in 1979, it was one of America's, if not the world’s major opera houses, able to look any of the others in the eye artistically.

The embryonic company first hired him as a coach and rehearsal pianist in 1944 after his graduation from the Mannes School of Music in New York City. While he worked his way up with the company, he conducted in small opera workshops in New York, those wonderful endeavours that perform in high school auditoriums, church basements, any venue that allows a cast of aspiring singers and musicians to get together and actually put on an opera, no matter how scaled down.

He also led traveling musical comedy packages, touring week to week in the summer to various theaters like the Cape Cod Melody Tent, and conducted musical comedy revivals at City Center in New York. And all the while he was paying these dues, he conducted at City Opera, and made an excellent impression. So he was certainly ready when the call came to be the Director of the company to succeed Erich Leinsdorf.

The music he conducts this week includes excerpts from Julius Caesar, Mefistofele and a distant sounding but historically important live 1968 performance by Berverly Sills of the Jewell Song from Faust. Norman Treigle also partners with Sills in Julius Caesar, and with Placido Domingo in Mefistofele.