John Fiore

Conductor

Biography

A seasoned conductor well-known among the international opera houses, John Fiore is praised for his musicality and his skillful expression on the podium. He has led acclaimed performances in a diverse range of symphonic and operatic repertoire with the some of the finest orchestras and opera companies in the world. In the 15/16 season, maestro Fiore conducts a new production of Falstaff at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, Der fliegende Holländer at Semperoper Dresden, La traviata at the Zurich Opera, Turandot at the Norwegian Opera, along with concerts with the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker and with the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hungarian State Opera House.

Mr. Fiore recently completed his appointment as Music Director of the Norwegian Opera & Ballet (2009-2015), where he was the first music director in over a decade of this leading Norwegian arts institution, and conducted on average over thirty performances of opera, ballet, and symphonic concerts per season, including several world premieres. He was formerly Chief Conductor of the Deutsche Oper-am-Rhein (1998-2009), where he kept an intensive and extensive schedule conducting in the company’s two houses in the neighboring Rhineland cities of Düsseldorf and Duisburg. Throughout his decade-long tenure there, he led more than sixty different operas in broad and diverse repertoire covering German, Italian, Russian, French, and Czech languages. Concurrent with his appointment at the Deutsche Oper-am-Rhein, Mr. Fiore was also General Music Director of the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, and led full seasons of symphonic concert repertoire.

Mr. Fiore is a regular guest at the leading opera houses. In Europe, he has appeared at the Bayerische Staatsoper (Un ballo in maschera, Aida, Nabucco, Der Fliegende Holländer, Tosca, Carmen), Semperoper Dresden (Die Walküre, Arabella, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Nabucco, Aida, La traviata, La cenerentola), Deutsche Oper Berlin (Turandot, La forza del destino), Rome Opera (La traviata), Teatro San Carlo (Rusalka), Teatro Carlo Fenice (La bohème, La Gioconda), Zurich Opera (Tristan und Isolde), Grand Théâtre de Genève (Parsifal, Andrea Chénier, Nabucco), Opéra National de Bordeaux (Norma), and the National Theatre in Prague (Parsifal, Eugene Onegin, La bohème), among others. Mr. Fiore also conducted often at the Cologne Opera, the company where he made his German debut in 1990 with Manon Lescaut. He has returned there many times for a diverse repertoire of Strauss, Wagner, Verdi, Puccini and Janácek, and in addition conducted the city’s historic and renowned Gürzenich Orchester in many symphonic programs.

In the United States, he has appeared frequently at the Metropolitan Opera, leading over one hundred performances of nearly a dozen operas, among them the Met's premiere production of Dvorak's Rusalka, (1993, and revival in 1997) as well as Aida, La Traviata, Madama Butterfly, La Bohème, Un ballo in maschera, Carmen, and Tosca. He has long enjoyed relationships with both the Chicago Lyric, San Francisco, and Santa Fe Operas, and also has been to the Houston Grand Opera to conduct Tannhäuser.

In recent seasons Mr. Fiore has been exploring seminal twentieth century works, including a cycle of the major Janácek operas, Berg’s Lulu, Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, and Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre. In the 14/15 season, he led a new Jirí Herman production of the opera rarity Pád Arkuna (The Fall of Arkun), the final stage work of Czech composer Zdenek Fibich, at the National Theatre in Prague. In the same season with the Norwegian Opera, he conducted the world premiere of Jüri Reinvere's Peer Gynt based on Ibsen's play of the same name, as well as a double-bill of Hindemith's Sancta Susanna and Zemlinsky's A Florentine Tragedy, staged for the first time in Norway. In summer 2003 maestro Fiore led the world premiere of Bright Sheng’s Madame Mao at Santa Fe Opera, and in January 2005 he conducted the highly successful world premiere of Christian Jost’s Vipern for the Deutsche Oper-am-Rhein.

Born in New York City to a musical family, Mr. Fiore received his earliest musical training from his father, a pianist and choral director, and his mother, a singer. His family moved to Seattle, where he studied piano, cello and other string instruments. Mr. Fiore began his professional musical activities at age 14 as a pianist and coach for the Seattle Opera's annual production of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, a job which he continued for six summers. He later attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. In 1981, he joined the staff of the Santa Fe Opera, where he developed an affinity for the operas of Richard Strauss.

Within a short period of time, he became a prized assistant in three of North America's most respected companies: the San Francisco, Chicago Lyric and Metropolitan Operas. In the summer of 1986 he went to Europe, assisting Zubin Mehta for Die Meistersinger in Florence, and then to the Bayreuth Festival, where he worked with Daniel Barenboim on Tristan und Isolde, returning the following year for Parsifal and Tristan and again in 1988 for the Harry Kupfer Ring production. During this period he also freelanced as an assistant to the great Leonard Bernstein. John Fiore made his debut at the San Francisco Opera conducting Gounod's Faust in 1986, thus beginning his own conducting career,

In 1990 he embarked on an international symphonic career as well, making debuts on three continents. Since then Mr. Fiore has continued to build his repertoire and orchestral relationships. In the summer of 1996, stepping in for Robert Shaw, Mr. Fiore made a critically acclaimed debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl conducting Verdi’s Requiem. In North America, he has since conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Toronto Symphony, and New York Chamber Symphony, to name but a few. In Europe, guest orchestral engagements have included the Dresden Staatskapelle, orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bamberger Sinfoniker, Munich Radio Orchestra, Gürzenich Orchester, Orchester Rheinland-Pfalz, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice, Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Firenze, Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, Slovenian Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Lyon, Orchestre Philharmonique de Montpellier, and Basel Radio Symphony Orchestra, among others.

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Reviews

Verdi's Requiem with Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, Nidarosdomen, November 2013
"Verdi's Requiem was a large-scale experience, led by a conductor who really lifted this spectacular 'opera' with his dedicated communication [...] Because John Helmer Fiore really deserves acclaim for his interpretation of one of the world's greatest works, Giuseppe Verdi's Requiem. The music director of The Norwegian Opera & Ballet was both high and low with his exuberant and dedicated interpretation, which spilled over to the choir, orchestra and soloists [...] Trondheim Symphony Orchestra also seems to thrive under Fiore's clear leadership. No uncertainty is sensed, and it's lovely to hear how the orchestra and choir merge into one entity [...] it was a wonderful experience to witness the Requiem of 200 years birthday Giuseppe Verdi in Nidaros Cathedral. The choir, orchestra, soloists - and especially the conductor - performed a magnificent work with a sensitivity and musicality which this work so incredibly deserves."

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