New York Classical Review
“Johannes Debus made an excellent impression in his company debut, leading a tight, disciplined performance of this difficult score. … when it came to communicating the essential character of the piece, Debus was right on the mark, finding thrilling tension in the lean, hard edges of the score.”
The Toronto Star
“COC music director Johannes Debus keeps his 100-plus orchestra on a tight leash, rarely, as so often occurs with Elektra, allowing their enthusiasm to drown out the singers. And, while Strauss’s score may have come as a shock in 1909, it is a wondrous marvel for today’s ears when so expertly elucidated by Debus.”
The New York Times
“The conducting … was superb …. Johannes Debus, in Hoffmann, kept textures light and agile, but didn’t stint on grandeur.”
San Diego Union-Tribune
“Debus was a … large presence on the podium. His conducting technique was vigorous and broadly physical. He leaned into his cues with big full-armed sweeps, prompting enthusiastic playing from the orchestra…He employed a flexible rubato, lingering on phrase endings, pushing ahead to build momentum. The orchestra responded in kind, persuasive collaborators in his musical vision.”
“Lepage’s fantasy world would never be complete without the marvelous music performed by the COC Orchestra – led by Maestro Johannes Debus. Debus pulled some of the most delicious colours out of the orchestra, creating an other-worldly atmosphere with his intuitive understanding of Stravinsky’s score.”
“Conductor Johannes Debus and the COC orchestra wring lots of emotion from the score, whether it’s in the elegiac arias, exciting ballroom waltzes or those urgent, heart-stopping moments of unbridled passion.”
Johannes Debus has been Music Director of the Canadian Opera Company (COC) since 2009, having been appointed immediately following his debut. Outside of Toronto, Debus conducts regularly at the Metropolitan Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Staatsoper under den Linden Berlin, Oper Frankfurt, and Santa Fe Opera.
Equally at home on the symphonic stage, Debus’s most recent engagements include performances with The Cleveland Orchestra; Houston, Baltimore, Seattle, Oregon, Milwaukee, San Diego, and Kansas City Symphonies; ORF Vienna and Frankfurt Radio Symphonies; Hallé; and the Symphony Orchestras of Bilbao, Spain, and, Perth and Tasmania, Australia.
Debus graduated from the Hamburg Conservatoire before being engaged as répétiteur and, subsequently, Kapellmeister by Oper Frankfurt where he acquired an extensive repertoire from Mozart to Thomas Adès. As an advocate for contemporary music, he has collaborated with internationally-acclaimed ensembles such as Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, and Musikfabrik. He enjoys an ongoing relationship with the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.