24 September-22 February 2013

The Royal Opera House is marking the centenary of Georg Solti’s birth on 21 October 2012 with an exhibition commemorating his career with The Royal Opera. The exhibition-which opens on 24 September to coincide with the start of The Royal Opera’s 2012/13 Season is part of [email protected], a series of worldwide events throughout 2012/13 celebrating this great conductor’s centenary.

Solti played a vital role in the development of The Royal Opera during his decade-long tenure as Music Director 1961-71, building up the resident company of British singers and raising music standards to unprecedented heights. For more than thirty years Solti continued a fruitful association with The Royal Opera and in 1992 was created Music Director Laureate on the occasion of his 80th birthday.

The exhibition provides an overview of his work here at the Royal Opera House and includes costumes, designs and photographs. A particular highlight will be material kindly lent by Lady Solti and the Solti Family Archive including early family photographs, Solti’s orchestral scores for Wagner’s Götterdämmerung at the Royal Opera House and a bronze cast of his conducting hand.

A mixture of costumes, photographs, designs and scores illustrate the Ring performances conducted by Solti with The Royal Opera between 1961 and 1970 in Hans Hotter’s production. The exhibition also includes a rare opportunity to see the portrait of Solti painted by Maggi Hambling in 1985, kindly loaned by Lady Solti. Solti’s early life is explored with the help of photographs loaned by Lady Solti and gives an insight into what drove him to become one of the great musicians and conductors of the twentieth century.

The final photograph shows Solti flanked by Bernard Haitink and Ted Downes, at the curtain call of the Farewell Gala on 14 July 1997, which marked the closure of the Royal Opera House for refurbishment. At the gala Solti conducted the last opera extract to be heard at the Royal Opera House before its closure-‘Tutto nel mondo e burla’ from Verdi’s Falstaff. It had been intended that Solti would return to the House to conduct after the re-opening , but sadly he died unexpectedly on 5 September 1997.

A chronology of Georg Solti’s performances at the Royal Opera House is being prepared to coincide with the [email protected] commemorations and will be found on the Royal Opera House Collections website www.rohcollections.org.uk

Guided tours of the exhibition will be offered from November.

Daytime opening 10am-3.30pm on selected days only. Please ring the Box Office on 020 7404 4000 the day before you visit to check that we are open for daytime visitors.

 

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