The conductor of the Ukrainian orchestra, Oksana Lenev, became the first woman in history to conduct an opera in the framework of the prestigious Bayreuth Festival, in a performance held in the presence of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Oksana Lenev (43 years old) inaugurated the festival, founded by German composer Richard Wagner in 1876, with an opera performance of the play “The Phantom Ship” (Ghost Boat) within a new theatrical vision signed by director Dmitry Chernyakov.
Angela Merkel, known for her passion for Wagner’s work, attended the premiere with her husband, Joachim Sauer. For the occasion, she wore an orange jacket and a long black skirt.
Oksana Lenev said in an interview with the Berliner Zeitung newspaper last week that submitting a work to Richard Wagner “represents a great professional challenge for any musician, regardless of gender.”
Lenev also praised the way the concert hall was designed, where the orchestra room was covered with a panel that concealed the players from the audience’s view.
“It will not be important what I wear or how I manage the band, but whether the work is successful or not, the attention will be limited to the vocal aspect,” she told the newspaper. Oksana Lenev was born in Ukraine on January 6, 1978 in a family of musicians, and studied piano, flute, violin and singing.
And she led her first orchestra at the age of sixteen, in the start of a career that led her to the finest theaters. She first worked as an assistant at the Lviv Theater in western Ukraine, and in 2003 became the principal guest of the Lyopolis Chamber Symphony Orchestra.
She trained at the Dresden Academy of Music and the Odessa National Theatre, and founded an orchestra for young musicians in Ukraine. She has also been Kirill Petrenko’s assistant at the Bavarian Opera in Munich since the 2013-2014 season.
After being canceled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bayreuth Festival in southern Germany is being held this year in front of a small audience, with only 911 spectators attending the opening show.
• Angela Merkel attended the premiere with her husband, wearing an orange jacket and a long black skirt.
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