‘Trust the players,’ 89-year-old Bernard Haitink told a twenty-something conductor in Lucerne this spring, ‘they have so much more experience than you do.’ Haitink says relatively little during his conducting master classes, but all of it – mostly common sense – has a profound effect upon his acolytes. Whether more of that kind of sound advice could fill a book might seem doubtful. Yet it does, compellingly.
Mark Wigglesworth, during his year and a bit as music director of English National Opera (ENO), showed what a conductor can achieve. The five productions of which he took charge – The Force of Destiny, The Magic Flute, Jenůfa, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and Don Giovanni – represented the highest