“Joana Mallwitz, the first woman invited to conduct an opera at the Salzburg Festival in the event’s 100-year-history, doesn’t want to talk about gender,” writes A.J. Goldmann in Thursday’s (8/13) New York Times. “This summer, the German conductor, who is general music director of the Nuremberg State Theater, is leading performances of ‘Così Fan Tutte’ at a festival that is going ahead, against all odds, amid a global pandemic. Mozart’s 1790 comedy about partner-swapping is one of two operas (along with Richard Strauss’s ‘Elektra’) headlining a modified festival program that has been engineered to conform to strict safety and hygiene restrictions. While there are many prominent female musicians, a woman on the podium is still a comparatively rare sight on both sides of the Atlantic…. Ordinarily, the Salzburg Festival would present ‘Così’ uncut—over three hours of music—and with an intermission. But these days call for unusual measures. Working with the production’s director, Ms. Mallwitz put together a version of the score that clocked just over two hours without intermission. She recalled that the composer frequently made changes to his scores … At the end of the performance, the audience roared its approval.”
Read Jennifer Melick’s article about women conductors in the current issue of Symphony.