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A blunt accusation and a broadside that can hardly be surpassed in terms of perfidy

"Yes, yes," sings the Marschallin at the end of "Rosenkavalier", briefly, but leaving everything ambivalent in the balance.

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A blunt accusation and a broadside that can hardly be surpassed in terms of perfidy

"Yes, yes," sings the Marschallin at the end of "Rosenkavalier", briefly, but leaving everything ambivalent in the balance. Before that, of course, she realized that "the whole quid pro quo" was "a Viennese masquerade and nothing more".

Philippe Jordan, the music director of the Vienna State Opera, where this delectable piece, set in a fantasy Vienna, is part of the everyday repertoire, often conducted it. Now he himself has become the linchpin of a very Viennese masquerade. And it's not my fault.

When the 47-year-old Swiss moved to Vienna in 2021, well-meaning people asked themselves why he was doing this. People like Herbert von Karajan, Claudio Abbado and most recently Franz Welser-Möst failed in the ejection seat that was offered again and again. Because between the opera director and the overpowering Vienna Philharmonic, who do their bread and butter here as an opera orchestra, you are a hinge, often just a sealing ring and buffer. Until you get crushed.

With Jordan, whom one would have preferred to play in a large orchestra, also so that he could finally relax a bit on the podium, and the Viennese, that didn't work out. Most of his six premieres so far, partly conducted in an empty house for stream and TV because of the pandemic, in the entire range of styles from Mozart to Berg, have not really caught fire. He was always more isolated.

The five-year contract of the skilfully tactical, well-connected director Bogdan Roščić had already been extended to 2030 in June. But nothing was heard from Jordan. Except that the Philharmoniker could do less and less with him. Now, of all places, Jordan has announced in the medium "Kurier", which is loyal to Roščić, that he will not extend his contract, which runs until 2025.

He'd rather conduct concerts, and he's also tired of the increasingly stupid German director's theater. A blunt accusation. He was badly advised by his agent Michael Lewin, who has seven other conducting clients at the State Opera in addition to him.

While the comment columns in the newspapers were overflowing (“someone dares at last!”), Roščić dismissed the broadside that Jordan “would like to extend his contract, but I wasn't able to do that for other reasons”.

So the retiring chief musician was given the buck, and speculation immediately broke out again about the Philharmoniker, who allegedly had demanded Jordan's departure in exchange for Roščić's extension. Which, of course, they immediately denied.

In addition, Roščić had his extended PR arm, the federal theater advertising magazine "Bühne", fired by its editor-in-chief (husband of the state opera marketing manager) with a broadside that could hardly be surpassed in terms of perfidy: "In the world of classical music" he "had transformed himself from conductor to Little conductor demoted.”

Certainly not, because this Viennese masquerade also only follows the modified Georg Kreisler motto "Geh' ma music directors poison in the ditch".

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