Friday 20 October 2017

Conductor Georges Pretre dies in France aged 92

Georges Pretre, who has died aged 92, conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in 2010 (AP)
Georges Pretre, who has died aged 92, conducting the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in 2010 (AP)

Georges Pretre, who conducted renowned symphonies from Vienna to Milan's La Scala and New York's Metropolitan Opera and was instrumental in Maria Callas's opera career, has died at the age of 92.

The Vienna Symphony Orchestra and Vienna's Musikverein concert hall said Pretre died on Wednesday. French media reported that he died in his home in southern France.

He last conducted in October at the Musikverein, where his rendition of Ravel's Bolero earned a standing ovation. The Vienna Symphony posted a video of him blowing kisses to the crowd and smiling broadly.

Pretre was born in France on August 24 1924 and studied at the Paris Conservatory. He was Callas's first conductor at the Paris Opera.

France's culture minister, Audrey Azoulay, praised him as a "remarkable ambassador" appreciated for his "art of letting musicians play".

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