Kazushi Ono with Yoshi Oida (detail) View full image

Lyon: End of an era for Kazushi Ono

'Viva Maestro' celebrates Kazushi Ono's long standing collaboration with Opéra de Lyon. And a beautiful evening it was!

The whole opera team, orchestra, choir and even the 'Maîtrise', gathered around the maestro to pay their respect and to share a moment of communion around music and opera. The programme juggled between all aspects of operatic repertoire, reflecting the broad approach of Kazushi's stage experience: symphonic 'poem' with Die Meistersinger Prelude and Der Rosenkavalier orchestralsuite, completed for good measure with Mozart's first movement from Concertone for 2 violins in C major, played with poise and joy by the orchestra's soloists, M. Gourbeix and M. Olechowski. Opera highlights with Puccini's arias from Manon Lescaut and Tosca were delivered with great intensity and instant drama by soprano Ermonela Jaho. And of course, the choir revealed its full might in The Damnation of Faust's Pandemonium and Apotheosis scenes.

But above all, the incredibly large number of performers on stage, obviously proud and happy to be there, was masterfully controlled by a relaxed and rooted Kazushi, whose great strength at inviting people into his world was once again shown at its best. To crown it all, the cherry on the cake came from Yoshi Oida, stage director and a regular guest of Opéra de Lyon, who, after a quick speech of gratitude and praise, named Kazushi Ono 'Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres' on behalf of the French Ministry of Culture, Françoise Nyssen. He was also given the 'Médaille de la Ville de Lyon' by Georges Képénékian, deputy of Lyon Mayor in charge of cultural life the same night.

As Serge Dorny, Opéra de Lyon's general manager, said towards the end of the evening: "Ceci n'est pas un adieu. Ce n'est qu'un au revoir!"