Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In Memoriam: Vjekoslav Sutej

A few weeks ago, the opera world lost a great conductor. Maestro Vjekoslav Sutej, known by many as Gigi, passed away on December 2, 2009, of complications from leukemia. He was 58.

Sutej was a familiar face at Seattle Opera. He made his company debut leading Cat├ín’s Florencia en el Amazonas in 1998, and conducted several productions thereafter, most recently Tosca in 2008.

General Director Speight Jenkins praised Sutej for his love of the art, his constant willingness to go the extra mile to create an exquisite performance. Jenkins also spoke highly of Sutej’s rapport with the singers and musicians with whom he worked. “I found in Gigi both a great artist and a man totally committed to art at the highest level, yet one who never demanded more from any singer or musician than he or she could give. It was a combination that made him one of the most revered and indeed loved maestri.”


  1. My favorite memory of Maestro Sutej: Seattle Opera was trying out the acoustics of the renovated Mercer Arts Arena, with Maestro Sutej at the podium. At one point he went racing up the aisles, hands clasped, his huge smile beaming like a beacon. Nobody had to guess whether the acoustics (always a gamble) were good; it was enough to be standing within 300 feet of him.