Opera Scotland

Maurits Sillem Suggest updates

Born Bern, 26 July 1929.
Died Dorset, 11 June 2002.

Dutch repetiteur and conductor.

Maurits Sillem spent most of his career on the music staff of the major British companies in succession.

His father was a diplomat, and his twice-great-uncle, Jérome Alexander Sillem, one of the founders of the Concertgebouw. He came to Britain early in the war, and won a piano scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music. His subsequent conducting studies were with Eduard van Beinum, Vittorio Gui and George Szell.

Sillem worked with the Carl Rosa company from 1951, and then at Glyndebourne (with Gui), before joining the music staff at Sadler’s Wells. He later spent several years based at Covent Garden, where he was Head of Music Staff until 1975. He conducted the performance of La Bohème in 1963 which marked Pavarotti’s London debut. His repertoire with each of these companies was large and varied, and he also gave a number of performances with the Chelsea Opera Group, including The Flying Dutchman (1958), La forza del destino (1959), and Carmen (1961). Performances given at the Royal Opera House were an eclectic mix, including Der Rosenkavalier, Salome, Wozzeck and Jenůfa. In the 1976 season alone, he added Benvenuto Cellini, Fidelio and Die Frau ohne Schatten, and he later conducted Parsifal, The Rake’s Progress and La Sonnambula.

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