Philippe Jordan fond blanc largeur


Philippe Jordan

  • « 90 % de mon travail est fondé sur les rapports humains »


The 42-year-old musical director of the Opéra National de Paris greeted us in his office on the 8th floor of the Bastille Opera House, which he will occupy until 2021. Humble and smiling, he opened up.


"Touring the world and its great opera houses as guest conductor is certainly exciting and enriching, but the alchemy with the musicians does not always kick in. Getting to know an orchestra is a singular and fascinating adventure which grows over time as the relationship is built. A little over a year after I arrived as director of the Opéra de Paris national orchestra [in 2009] there was already mutual trust between us. The conductor leads an 'ensemble', a group of distinct people. In my work the last thing I want to do is restrict the personality of this 'live animal', the orchestra. Rather I play with and shape the material of its particular sound; 90% of my work is based on human relations. As a result, the pleasure of discovery is still intact after seven years – though also because of the variety of repertoires we tackle."


"That's a fascinating, mysterious and ... dangerous word. I prefer to speak of 'realising' a score. 'Interpreting' suggests appropriation and that rather disturbs me. When a conductor stands before an orchestra he has already scrupulously read the score, explored it and built a dramatic work from it. Many notable conductors and soloists have added greatness to a musical work; we have to take inspiration from them, not ignore them. We should listen to recordings of our elders and colleagues. A score, even followed note by note, will always be relative. What did the composer mean when he wrote forte or fortissimo? How many decibels exactly? Other factors are decisive, like the size of the orchestra, the hall, its resonance. And of course cultural heritage: music isn't played the same way in France, Germany and the United States. Interpretation also changes according to period and public taste. In fact, a good musician is a good historian!"


A hybrid art
"This season I'm conducting four operas, three of them new productions, of which one is Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte* featuring, for the first time, dancer and choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker(1). Opera is a hybrid art by definition. The dream of a 'total art', usually associated with Wagner, runs throughout the history of opera. Music, dance, poetry, visual arts, video, film and, now, the new technologies should merge as one spectacle, without betraying the original work. Opera is alive. We have to hybridise disciplines and languages as best we can, otherwise an opera will be a museum exhibit devoid of interest."


Wagner, so very far
"I'm very happy to be conducting Lohengrin at last. It was missing from my Wagnerian trophy list! With this production* I will have conducted all his operas. So many geniuses enrich me but none, I admit, as much as Wagner, whose scores I find more accessible. With Wagner the orchestra is present from start to finish. His music arouses the passions, it is elementary, with a primal energy – but only at first sight, because it goes so very far. The emotional influences the rational and the story is as if magnified by the music."



Du 18 janvier au 18 février 2017
Lohengrin de Richard Wagner (nouvelle production) à l'Opéra Bastille
Mise en scène Claus Guth, avec René Pape, Jonas Kaufmann, Martina Serafin...

14 février 2017
Messe en si mineur de Johann Sebastian Bach à l'Opéra Bastille

Du 26 janvier au 19 février 2017
Cosi fan tutte de Mozart (nouvelle production) au Palais GarnierMise en scène Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Avec Jacquelyn Wagner, Michèle Losier, Frédéric Antoun...

24 mars 2017
Beatrice et Benedict de Berlioz en version concert au Palais Garnier Avec François Lis, Florian Sempey, Stanislas de Barbeyrac, Sabine Devieilhe, Stéphanie d’Oustrac, Laurent Naouri...

Mais aussi
Le coffret DVD du cycle intégral des neuf symphonies de Beethoven par l’Orchestre et les Chœurs de l’Opéra national de Paris, enregistrées durant la saison 14/15.

Inclus le documentaire passionnant "Philippe Jordan, né pour diriger". Disponible notamment sur