Conductor Aprea departs Palm Beach Opera

By Lawrence A. Johnson and David Fleshler

Bruno Aprea

Conductor Bruno Aprea has left Palm Beach Opera.

The Italian maestro, who restored luster, vitality and musical consistency to the West Palm Beach company in the chaotic years following the death of longtime artistic director Anton Guadagno has abruptly left the company he led for the past seven years after rejecting his contract for the upcoming season.

Attempts to reach Aprea Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Aprea’s contract was scheduled to run through 2014. Palm Beach Opera’s general director Daniel Biaggi said that Aprea did not accept the terms of the contract offered to him for the 2012-13 season.

“He in the end elected not to accept the contract,” said Biaggi. Asked if there was a significant decrease in Aprea’s salary or authority, Biaggi first said no, then stated that he didn’t want to discuss the contract particulars.

While artistically, Palm Beach Opera has received largely positive critical notices, the company has been suffering financially in recent seasons. PBO went from four to three productions and last season eliminated its Monday afternoon matinees entirely.

Biaggi said that there were no plans to further cut the company season.

Biaggi did not believe that Aprea’s sudden departure—and the murky circumstances surrounding it—-would lead some to think the company was returning to a period of hectic internal upheaval like that of a decade ago. “I don’t think so. We’ve just completed restructuring and the vision and the rest of the leadership team remain the same.”

Longtime PBO patron and board member Helen K. Persson said she was concerned about the situation and wanted more information about why such an effective conductor was leaving the company.

“I’m worried about the whole situation,” she said. “I think he was a very good conductor. He got so much out of that orchestra.”

Aprea’s first appearance at Palm Beach Opera was in 2003 when he led well-received performances of Lucia di Lammermooor. He became music director at the start of the 2005-2006 season.

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One Response to “Conductor Aprea departs Palm Beach Opera”

  1. Posted Jan 21, 2013 at 12:13 am by Barbara Jackson

    Went to Kravis today to see La Traviata. It is not the same without Bruno Aprea and we are devastated. We opted to have our seats in the first row (DD 103,104,105) so we could be close to Bruno because passion with which he led was half of the beauty of the opera.

    Everything at Kravis today seemed disorganized and out of sync. After many years of being season ticket holders we are considering giving up our tickets. We want Bruno Aprea as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. You will never find anyone of that quality to replace him and will lose your followers because of this very poor decision.

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Wed Sep 26, 2012
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