John Helmer Fiore impressive conductor born 1960
John Helmer Fiore is the music director of The Norwegian Opera & Ballet (Den Norske Opera & Ballett), the first music director in over a decade of this leading Norwegian arts institution. Having started his tenure in 2009, he is the artistic chief of the company’s musical forces: its orchestra, chorus and ensemble of singers; and conducts on average over 30 performances per season of opera, ballet, and symphonic concerts, as well as taking part in chamber music performances.
In the 2014-15 season, John Helmer Fiore makes his debut at the Opéra National de Bordeaux conducting Bellini’s Norma in a production by Christopher Alden. He returns to the Czech National Theater to lead a new Jirí Herman production of the opera rarity Pád Arkuna (The Fall of Arkun), the final stage work of Czech composer Zdenek Fibich.
With Den Norske Opera, he conducts the world premiere of Jüri Reinvere’s Peer Gynt based on Ibsen’s play of the same name, a double-bill of Hindemith’s Sancta Susanna and Zemlinsky’s A Forentine Tragedy, staged for the first time in Norway, along with revival productions of Wagner’s Lohengrin and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. In addition, Mr. Fiore will participate on the jury of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition.
Recent highlights include debuts at the Teatro San Carlo (Rusalka), Deutsche Oper Berlin (Turandot), Grand Théâtre de Genève (Andrea Chénier and Nabucco), and with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande conducting a special New Year’s Concert featuring tenor Joseph Calleja.
Deutsche Oper-am -Rhein
John Helmer Fiore is the former 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, Czech languages.
His final season included new productions of Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten, Dvorak’s Rusalka, and Janacek’s From the House of the Dead,and a season-long “parade” of the many memorable productions he had premiered during the preceding decade. It included revivals of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, Verdi’s Don Carlos, a complete Wagner Ring cycle, and culminated in a week-long Janacek cycle of five different operas, all conducted by Mr. Fiore within the same week.
Coinciding with his appointment at the Deutsche Oper-am-Rhein, John Helmer Fiore was also the Generalmusikdirektor of the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker, the orchestra which plays for the Deutsche Oper-am-Rhein in the Düsseldorf house, and led full seasons of concert symphonic repertoire. Together, he and the orchestra toured in Asia twice (China and Japan) and almost each year performed in guest engagements throughout Europe at festivals and capital city concert halls.
Particularly well known among the international opera houses, John Helmer Fiore was a frequent guest of the Metropolitan Opera for more than a decade, 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.
In Germany, John Helmer Fiore appears often at Munich’s Bavarian State Opera (Un ballo in maschera, Aida, Nabucco, Der Fliegende Holländer, Tosca, Carmen) and the Dresden Semperoper (Die Walküre, Arabella, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Nabucco, Aida, La Traviata, La Cenerentola).
Prior to his Deutsche Oper-am-Rhein appointment, 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 also conducted the city’s historic and renowned Gürzenich Orchester in many symphonic programs.
In Italy and USA
In Italy, John Helmer Fiore has appeared at leading opera houses (La Bohème and La Gioconda at Genoa; La Traviata in Rome), and in the United States, has long enjoyed relationships with both the Chicago Lyric and San Francisco Operas, and also has been to the Houston Grand Opera to lead Tannhäuser.
In recent seasons John Helmer Fiore has also been exploring seminal twentieth century works – he has conducted a complete cycle of the major Janacek operas, as well as Berg’s Lulu, Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, and Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre.
Santa Fe Opera
In summer 2003 he led the world premiere of Bright Sheng’s Madame Mao (Santa Fe Opera, another company with which he has had a long history), and in January 2005 conducted the highly successful world premiere of Christian Jost’s Vipern for the DOR.
Born in New York City into a musical family, John Helmer 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. John Helmer 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.
Eastman School of Music in Rochester
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. Also in 1986, he was ready to begin his own conducting career, making his debut at the San Francisco Opera conducting Gounod’s Faust.
In 1990 John Helmer Fiore embarked on an international symphonic career, making debuts on three continents. Since then Mr. Fiore has continued to build his repertoire and orchestral relationships each season. 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, John Helmer Fiore has since conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, New York Chamber Symphony, Seattle Symphony, and Toronto Symphony, to name but a few.
In Europe, orchestral engagements have included the Dresden Staatskapelle, orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Bamberger Sinfoniker, Munich Radio Orchestra, Gürzenich Orchester, Orchester Rheinland-Pfalz, Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Firenze, Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Slovenian Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Lyon and Orchestre Philharmonique de Montpellier, Basel Radio Symphony Orchestra and Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana, among others.
John Helmer Fiore er musikksjef i Den Norske Opera & Ballett. New-yorkeren regnes for å vaere en av Europas ledende opera-dirigenter og har Wagner som spesialitet. Han har vaert sjefdirigent ved en av Tysklands viktigste musikkinstitutioner, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, og fram til sommeren 08 var han også sjef for Düsseldorfer Symphoniker. I tillegg gjester han jevnlig anerkjente scener som Bayerische Staatsoper, Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, San Francisco Opera og Semperoper i Dresden.
Den Norske Opera
1 2008 dirigerte han for förste gang Operaorkestret i en konsert med Wagners Götterdämmerung. Debuten i Oslo ga mersmak,og nå leder han orkestret mot nye höyder og har ansvaret for den musikalske utviklingen i Operaen. De siste åren er han også jevnlig tolket og blitt kjent for sitt arbeid med den tsjekkiske komponisten Leos Janåcek. Han er også en dyktig pianist og spiller jevnlig konserter og resitaler.Ariadne auf Naxos er hans debut som operadirigent for Den Norske Opera & Ballett.