Director Franz Vote
Franz Vote, Artistic Director
Franz Vote has been called one of the finest conductors of his generation. Named a “singer’s conductor” by reviewers, his rapport with musicians, both on stage and in the orchestra pit, elicits music-making of the highest level. Regarding his premiere of Les contes d’Hoffmann at the Metropolitan Opera, one reviewer noted, “… during the curtain call, a very unusual thing happened. Usually half or more of the musicians have left the orchestra pit by the time the conductor gets to take his curtain call, and he then has to stand there and extend his gratitude to an almost empty pit. Not this time. Last night most, if not all of the musicians stayed in their spots, and what’s more, they stood up and avidly applauded Franz Vote.”
Maestro Vote began his professional career in 1980 as a conductor at The Eastman School of Music and The Aspen Music Festival. In 1982 he was engaged at the Musiktheater im Revier in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, where he conducted Le nozze di Figaro, L’elisir d’amore, Giulio Cesare, Xerxes, and L’Orfeo. His successes there led to productions of Gianni Schicchi and Hans Werner Henze’s Don Chisciotte de la Mancia in Aachen. From there, he went to the Gärtnerplatz Theater in Munich and the Theater des Westens in Berlin. Maestro Vote’s approach to conducting is informed by extensive experience in German opera houses and his 1989 engagement at the Bayreuth Festival as Assistant Conductor to Daniel Barenboim and James Levine.
In 1990 he was invited by James Levine to join the Metropolitan Opera, conducting performances of Elektra, Madama Bufferfly, Un ballo in maschera, La forza del destino, Les contes d’Hoffmann, and the 1996 New Year’s Eve Gala. Placido Domingo invited him to lead Tokyo’s Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra for the Operalia Vocal Competition.
The Los Angeles native has collaborated with many of the world’s most prominent operatic artists, including Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Hildegard Behrens, Stephanie Blythe, Jane Eaglen, Renée Fleming, Galina Gorchakova, Ben Heppner, Jerry Hadley, James King, Susanne Mentzer, Richard Leach, Samuel Ramey, and Deborah Voigt, among many others.
Maestro Vote achieved international prominence and received high acclaim as Music Director of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen at Seattle Opera in 2001 with soprano Jane Eaglen. Called the “musical Wotan of the production…..a real master of Wagnerian style….a conductor who brings out the best in his players,’’ the New York Times noted that his performance was “beautiful, conceptually unified and musically strong…Mr. Vote brought vigor and textural clarity to the score.”
Recent seasons have included Opera Memphis’ Samson et Dalila with Barbara Dever and Otoniel Gonzaga, Aida and Salome for Orlando Opera, plus touring with that company to Toulon, France; Faust at Sarasota Opera, which Opera News called a “Faust, passionately, arrestingly conducted by Franz Vote, who was as interested in theatrical sweep as in nuances of tempo and phrasing.” His recent performances of Lucia di Lammermoor at Opera Naples were called the company’s “best ever…every section was strong, tightly meshed and well-rehearsed. Vote’s direction created a seamless tapestry from [the orchestra] and the singers…”
Franz Vote currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he is Music Director and Conductor of the New Mexico Bach Society and Vice-President of the New Mexico Performing Arts Society. He also guests conducts at various opera houses around the country.