Pierre Boulez Withdraws From Performances

Pierre Boulez — composer, conductor, and, years ago, the classical world’s chief railer against melody — is ailing. He just cancelled a residency with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, where he is conductor emeritus. I’ve never cared for his compositions but will always tip my chapeau lovingly in his direction because, on February 24, 1979, Boulez conducted a production in Paris premiering the completed three-act version of Berg’s opera “Lulu.” It was staged by the brilliant Patrice Chereau, who died a few months ago, and starred Teresa Stratas in the title role, giving the most electric performance I have ever seen. You read that right: in my more than fifty years of theatre-going, Stratas is the absolute pinnacle.

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