First of all, congratulations on your recent appointment as Resident Conductor with SFO. How did you start in this magical world of opera?
Thank you very much for your congratulations. I feel very happy and excited with this new position that opens the chance to work in a wonderful and historic opera house with a great orchestra, chorus and beautiful singers. My relationship with the opera world is very special. As a musician you can approach this magic microcosmos from many different perspectives and I feel very fortunate to have lived different and very enriching positions: flute player in the orchestra, chorus Master, conductor of the offstage music, assisting great Maestros until today as a Conductor.
When did you decide to become a conductor?
It is a passion that I have from a very young age. When I was 15 I began to conduct my friends in a Chamber Ensemble and since then I have not been able to stop.
What was your first experience as a conductor?
As I explained you before, I began with a group of friends in my city in Spain conducting Chamber works basically for winds, from the Eighteenth Century (especially Mozart) and also from the XXth Century.
Can you explain to us what is a Resident Conductor and what is his mission?
My responsibility in the San Francisco Opera is to work on the musical staff in the opera house and very closely with the Music Director Mº Nicola Luisotti and conducting performances during the Season.
I know you’ve already conducted in different opera houses in Europe. Can you tell us about this experience?
That is very rewarding and enriching. I have been fortunate to always find myself at home in each of the theaters and festivals where I’ve conducted. It is very difficult to make a comparison between them and in my opinion that is one of the charms of this job: starting over the project each time. Both from the artistic, interpretative and human point of view, especially the latter, you learn every day. Sharing a project with news singers, directors, different orchestras and chorus is a privilege.
You speak five languages fluently. What do you think is the importance of languages in music?
Beyond the practical use of communicating during the rehearsals, almost irrelevant because the Music is the language that allows us to understand, in the opera world it is truly fundamental to understand a score. First of all because it is a raw material for the composer and also because from the vocal point of view each language implies a particular vocality, a way to create and articulate the sound and it becomes transcendental to obtain the sound. And this results even in the Orchestra!
How do you balance your professional career between symphonic and operatic repertoire?
My desire is to continue reconcile both repertoires. First of all because I love both and also because this combination helps me to mature as a musician by taking elements from one to the other, from the voices to the symphony and vice versa. I like today that both repertoires retro feed themselves.
You unquestionably lead a very intense life. What do you when you have some time off?
Time off is a very difficult concept to practice for me. I love reading, also subjects not directly related to music (essay, theatre, poetry…) but I always find a relationship with her because in my worldview music is always present. As a wish, I would like to enjoy more the cities that I visit for work: live them!