‘Where I grew up, classical music was diversity’: an interview with conductor Alpesh Chauhan
Richard Bratby interviews Alpesh Chauhan for The Spectator.
"Birmingham Opera Company is the first British opera company to appoint a BAME music director – but for rising star Chauhan, his heritage is a non-story."
“[Birmingham Opera Company’s]…whole point is to upend traditional assumptions about opera. The big difference in its production last year of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk came from the orchestra. Chauhan drove Shostakovich’s score with a brooding, purposeful intensity that felt as though you’d been caught in a riptide and dragged under…‘At Birmingham Opera Company diversity is the norm. It’s just what Birmingham looks like.’”
“More significant, surely, is the fact that — as one commentator on Lebrecht’s blog put it — Chauhan ‘is just very, very good’. That’s no accident, either: he spent his twenties laying the groundwork of a highly individual symphonic career. He served as assistant conductor at the CBSO, conducted opera in Sardinia and Spain, and has just come to the end of a stint as music director of the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini in Parma; a small but spirited Italian orchestra whose players blossomed audibly when Chauhan offered them a respite from endless Verdi and Rossini.”
“It’s early days yet, but when we talk of a future in which classical music is more responsive to its community, less addicted to short-term sensation — in a word, more meaningful — Chauhan might be among those who can show us the way.”