Music Director Emeritus – Vancouver Opera
Jonathan Darlington has held the position of Music Director Emeritus at Vancouver Opera since 2018 after completing a highly successful term of almost 20 years as Music Director. He has led the innovative company in a repertoire ranging from Mozart through Verdi, Puccini and Strauss to Tan Dun and Jake Heggie. Fluent in several languages, he was born and educated in England and now resides in Paris.
Whether on the concert platform or in the opera house, Jonathan Darlington has conducted an impressive list of world-class ensembles. Recent additions include the Vienna Philhamonic at the Staatsoper, the Staatskapelle Dresden at the Semperoper, the Orchestre National de France, the Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Paris Opera Orchestra, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and L’Orchestre de Paris.Read more
Recent highlights included performances at Neue Stimmen, Vancouver Opera (Cavalleria Rusticana), Lake Tahoe Festival, Hamburg Staatsoper (Fledermaus), and Oslo Ballet Opera and Paris Ballet Opera, conducting Brahms and Górecki in a Mats Ek’s tribute. Last year, Jonathan was also named the next Chief Conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra. This position saw Jonathan perform in several concerts at the start of the year, and he will return for the opening of the 2022/23 season, the first of his tenure.
Upcoming projects of the 2022/23 season include appearances at Leipzig Oper (Don Giovanni NP), Hamburg Staatsoper, and the Dresden Semperoper; as well as leading concerts with the Nürnberger Symphoniker, Warsaw Philharmonic, Enescu Philharmonic, Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice, and the Orchestra of the 18th Century appearing at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and in Paris.
Jonathan possesses a vast symphonic and operatic repertoire from the Baroque to the Contemporary and has a reputation for structuring concert programs that take the listener on a fascinating musical journey owing to their strong inner dramaturgical thread.
In his early career, Jonathan worked as Deputy to the Music Director Myung Whun Chung at the Paris Opera from 1991 to 1993 conducting Le Nozze di Figaro, Das Lied von der Erde, Die Zauberflöte. He also led the French experimental opera group ARCAL conducting an incredible set of avantgarde-productions of The Turn of the Screw, L’Ormindo, Orlando, Le Pauvre Matelot, Così fan tutte. He has worked with some of the most prestigious opera houses and orchestras in the world such as the Paris Opera, Orchestre de Paris, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Staatskapelle Dresden, Vienna Philharmonic, Opera Australia, Royal Swedish Opera, English National Opera, Hamburg State Opera, Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin, Frankfurt Opera, Teatro di San Carlo di Napoli, Orchestre National de France, Warsaw Philharmonic, exploring an enormous and broad repertoire.
In 2014, Jonathan made his début at the Vienna State Opera conducting Madama Butterfly and has returned there annually since (Madama Butterfly, Otello, Don Carlos, L’Elisir d’Amore). More recently he has conducted at Vancouver Opera (L’elisir d’amore, Otello, Dead Man Walking, Eugene Onegin, Faust), and regularly appeared at the Dresden Semperoper (Eugene Onegin, Fidelio, Die Zauberflöte, Don Giovanni, Il Barbiere di Siviglia and recently Grand Duchesse Gerolstein by Offenbach), the Swedish Royal Opera (Jenufa, Le Nozze di Figaro and La Bohéme), and Frankfurt Oper (Falstaff, The Makropulos Case, Vanessa).
As Music Director of the Duisburger Philharmoniker from 2002 to 2011 he explored a vast symphonic repertoire which earned him the prestigious “Köhler- Osbar Stiftung” and “Deutsche Musikverleger-Verband” prizes for the quality and creativity of his concert programming. His recordings feature performances of Shostakovich Symphony Nr.15, Mahler Symphonies 5 and 6, Jolivet piano concerto, Strauss Don Quixote, Poulenc Les Animaux Modèles and the ECHO-Klassik Prize awarded-recording of Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Susanna Yoko-Henkel.
After his successful début with the Orchestre de Paris in the 2015-2016 season which was broadcast live on the internet for Mezzo TV, Jonathan was immediately re-engaged. In the summer of 2017, he conducted a 12-city tour of the National Youth Orchestra of Canada, including live streaming from Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. In the summer of 2018 Jonathan conducted them on tour again, including concerts at the Berlin Konzerthaus and Kassel – and UK at the Edinburgh International Festival.
Jonathan is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music and a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.
“The added draw, of course, was the chance to see Europe-based music director emeritus Jonathan Darlington (…) Electric voltage seemed to pass through his baton in the rousing orchestral and choral crescendos of the Easter-hymn “Regina Coeli, laetare”. Later he paused dramatically to bring the strings down to extreme quiet at the beginning of the famous “Intermezzo”, gently building them back up with big round arm movements, his stick stabbing downward to bring in the low brass. The orchestra found all the nuance in the lush score.”
“Back in the day, Darlington consistently got the best out of his casts and musicians, and we have missed his steady professionalism and inspired musicality. Being able to see exactly how Darlington works his magic upfront was the single best part of the enterprise. Palpable audience enthusiasm lets us hope for more Darlington and more opera-in-concert in the VO’s future plans.”
“Darlington conducts both scores with understanding and conviction. He brings lots of energy and a sense of ebb and flow to the second movement of La Mer and there’s admirable vigour to his reading of the third movement.”