Yves Abel


A frequent guest with the world’s great opera companies, Yves Abel has conducted performances at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; La Scala, Milan; the Metropolitan Opera, New York; Lyric Opera of Chicago; San Francisco Opera; Seattle Opera; Glyndebourne Festival; Bayerische Staatsoper; Opéra National de Paris; Netherlands Opera; Grand Théatre de Génève; Teatro San Carlo, Naples; Teatro Communale Bologna; New National Theatre, Tokyo; Welsh National Opera and Opera North. He has conducted new productions in Munich (I Capuleti e i Montecchi), Geneva (Les Vêpres Siciliennes), Barcelona (Madama Butterfly), Bilbao (Norma), Toulouse (Lalo’s Le Roi d’Ys and Les contes d'Hoffmann), Lisbon (Il turco in Italia), Naples (Gounod’s Faust), Dallas (Ermione), Seattle (Il Trovatore and Heggie’s The End of Affair) and Santa Fe (Così fan tutte), and at the festivals of Monte Carlo, Pesaro, Gstaad and Caramoor.

As Principal Guest Conductor of the Deutsche Oper, Berlin from 2005 to 2011, he conducted new productions of Don Pasquale, Simon Boccanegra, d’Albert’s Tiefland and Carmen, as well as performances of Le nozze di Figaro, La traviata, Dialogues des Carmélites, La bohème and Carmina Burana.

He is a frequent guest at the Vienna Staatsoper where his repertoire includes La fille du Régiment, L’Elisir d’amore, Carmen, Madama Butterfly, Simon Boccanegra, Un ballo in Maschera, and L'italiana in Algeri.

From January 2015 he will be the Chief Conductor Designate of the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie; he is also a regular guest with the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música, and the Haydn Orchestra. He has performed with the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra at the Tivoli Festival, the RTE National Symphony Orchestra, Dublin, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Orchèstre du Capitole de Toulouse, the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, and the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini in Parma. He has also conducted the Netherlands Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Orchèstre National de Lyon, Orchestra of St. Luke's New York, the Royal Liverpool, and the orchestras of Toronto, Montreal, Genoa, Naples, Bolzano, and Palermo.

This season includes a new production of Giovanna d'Arco at Bilbao Opera, La Fille du Régiment at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and in Seattle; a new production of Pagliacci at San Diego Opera. He returns to the Metropolitan Opera, New York; Oviedo Opera, and Opera de Paris. On the concert platform he returns to Bolzano for concerts with the Haydn Orchestra and will give performances with the Bochum Symphoniker, the Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Tivoli Symphony Orchestra with Joseph Calleja and will make his debut with the Seoul Symphony Orchestra.

A Franco-Canadian, he has a particular affinity with the French repertoire and has won significant critical acclaim for his achievements as founder and Music Director of L'Opéra Francais de New York, with whom he has regenerated rare French operas and also performed the world premiere of Dusapin’s To be Sung. Since 1994, the company has performed regularly to capacity audiences at the Lincoln Center. 

His recordings include Thaïs with Renée Fleming and Werther with Andrea Bocelli (Decca), Madama Butterfly with the Philharmonia Orchestra (Chandos), and two discs of French arias, one with Susan Graham and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (Erato) and the other with Patricia Petibon and the Orchestra of the Opera National de Lyon (Decca).  His most recent recording, ‘Romantique’, is a disc of romantic arias with Elīna Garanča on Deutsche Grammophon.

In 2009 he was awarded the title Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government.

For an up-to-date biography, please contact Henry Lindsay

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News & Features


Symphonies and large orchestral pieces, concerti, and choral pieces
Symphony no. 1
Symphony no. 2
Symphony no. 4
Symphony no. 6
Beatrice et Benedict overture
La Mort de Cleopatre
Les Nuits d'ete
Symphonie Fantastique
l'Arlesienne Suites
Symphony in C
Symphony no. 1 
Symphony no.2 
Violin concerto
Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes
Les Illuminations
Poeme de l'Amour et de la Mer
Appalachian Spring
L'enfant Prodigue
Prelude à l'Apres midi d'un Faune
Cello Concerto
Enigma Variations
Sea Pictures
Symphony in D
I Got Rhythm Variations
Cello concerto no.1
Keyboard concerti (various)
Symphonies (various)
Zampa Overture
Faust Symphony
Les Preludes
Rückert Lieder
Symphony no. 2 (Lobgesang) 
Symphony no. 4
Violin concerto
Davide Penitente
Piano concerti (various)
Symphony no. 40
Symphony no. 41 
Overtures (various)
(arr. Ravel) Pictures at an Exhibition
Carmina Burana
Les Biches Suite
Litanies à la vierge noire
Peter and the Wolf
Symphony no. 1
Symphony no. 5
Piano Concerto no. 2
Daphnis and Chloe (both suites)
Piano concerto in G
Piano concerto for the Left Hand
Rhapsodie Espagnole
Tombeau de Couperin
Guillaume Tell
Overtures (various)
Messa di Gloria
Stabat Mater
Introduction and Allegro
Symphony no. 3
Symphony no. 4
Symphony no. 5
Cello Concerto no.1
Symphony no 5
Symphony no. 2
Der Buerger als Edelmann
Don Quixote
Rosenkavalier Suite
Dumbarton Oaks
Firebird Suite
l'Histoire du Soldat
Pulcinella Suite
Piano Concerto no.2
Symphony 5
Violin Concerto
Capriccio Italienne
Cello concerto
Siegfried Idyll
Venusberg (Paris)
Freischütz Overture
Operatic Repertoire

Béatrice et Bénédict
Le Docteur Miracle
La Jolie Fille de Perth
Les Deux Journées
Don Pasquale   
L'elisir d'amore
La Favorite
La fille du Régiment
Lucia di Lammermoor
Roberto Deveraux
To Be Sung
Iphigénie en Aulide
Orphée et Eurydice
La Colombe
Roméo et Juliette
Les Deux Avares
Les Aventures du Roi Pausole
Le Roi d’Ys
Amahl and the Night Visitors
Esther de Carpentras
Le Pauvre Matelot
Così fan tutte
Die Zauberflöte
Le nozze di Figaro
La Belle Hélène
Les contes d’Hoffmann
La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein
Orphée aux enfers
La Périchole
La Dame de Monte-Carlo
Dialogues des Carmélites
Les Mamelles de Tirésias
La Voix humaine
Madama Butterfly
La bohème
Il barbiere di Siviglia
La cambiale di matrimonio
La cenerentola
Le Comte Ory
L’italiana in Algeri
Matilde di Shabran
Il turco in Italia 
La Princesse jaune
Samson et Dalila
Die Fledermaus
Un ballo in maschera
Don Carlos
Louisa Miller
Simon Boccanegra
La traviata
Das Liebesverbot

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Media Player


    Italian Soprano Arias



Hansel und Gretel

Opera de Paris

Yves Abel est attentif à ce que la pâte orchestrale soit aussi riche et liée que celle du gâteau, sans excès de sucre. Guillaume Saintagne, Forum Opera.com, 24th November 2014
Dans la fosse, sous la baguette d’Yves Abel, l’orchestre de l’Opéra de Paris restitue parfaitement cette richesse de couleurs, de textures, de saveurs. Oui, je parle de saveurs, car nous sommes bien ici dans le domaine de la gourmandise, musicale et théâtrale ! Jean-Marc Piriou, Bach Track, 22nd November 2014
D’abord parce que musicalement, orchestralement, l’œuvre de Humperdinck est somptueuse et qu’avec le formidable Orchestre de l’Opéra Yves Abel en tire des féeries, des cauchemars, et des tableaux vivants. Qobuz, 21st November 2014



Opera de Oviedo

Yves Abel brings a modern approach to Verdi’s “Otello” from the first orchestral chord; he produces a stormy, shocking atmosphere. Alberto Piquero, El Comercio, 10th September 2014
And the master Yves Abel with the Oviedo Filamonia offers Verdi deep with Wagnerian features Alfonso Suarez, La Nueva Espana, 12th September 2014
I must say very clearly, we are now used to the regular presence of Yves Abel and it is a true luxury. I think significantly so considering his next opera commitments after Oviedo; he goes onto the Opera de Paris and the Metropolitan Opera, New York. The work done in each new endeavour is intensely lyrical and the results are impeccable from start to finish. Cosme Marina, La Nueva Espana, 13th September 2014
Yves Abel, head of the Oviedo Filarmonia, performs work of a goldsmith. The orchestra is playing at its highest level, with a wonderful sound and greatly lyrical interpretations throughout the instrumental passages, such as the cello solos, varied in terms of dynamic and colour Ramón Avello, El Comercio, 12th September 2014
Rather than whipping up a frenzy, Yves Abel let the score take its course, leaving room for plenty of instrumental detail from the Orquesta Ovieda Filarmonia. The Willow Song and Ave Maria flowed naturally - the pathos wasn't milked - and, in the elegant Campoamor's dry acoustic, the jagged sonorities of the Credo bordered on the expressionistic.  Yehuda Shaprio, Opera Magazine, December 2014

Italian Soprano Arias

Maria Luigia Borsi, London Symphony Orchestra, Yves Abel

It is luxury casting to have the LSO crisply conducted by Yves Abel. Edward Greenfield, Gramophone Magazine

Tivoli Festival Gala Concert, August 2014

Tivoli Concert Hall

The orchestra under Yves Abel just played better and better. The French-Canadian combined the Tivoli Symphony orchestra with southern sounds (in south Europe).
Pieces like the overture to Sicilian Vespers or the emotional intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana sounded warm and beautiful in his hands. So let's please hang on to him. 

Rated: 6 Hearts
Politiken Today, August 2014
Opera concerts like this are always garnished with a string of overtures as little breaks for the singer. Here they could have played anything, but it was actually a great playing orchestra we witnessed lead my French-Canadian Yves Abel on the podium. A really quivering start of the concert with the overture to Sicilian Vesper and the overture to La Traviata sounded beautifully as a icy layer between the highpoints of the second half of the concert, Ideale and Macbeth.

Rated: 6 Stars
Jyllands-Posten, August 2014

20th March 2014

Bochum Symphony Orchestra

The concert [led by Yves Abel] recieved a rapturous applause from the audience. A rich blend of compositional and interpretive virtuosity. RuhrNachrichten Bochum, 24th March 2014
The grandiose and celebrated evening was conducted by a rousing and passionate Yves Abel...Enchanted audience members commented on what a wonderful the concert had been. Waz Bochum, 22nd March 2014


La Fille du régiment

The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

But what really carries the evening are the singers and the orchestra, galvanised by Yves Abel’s propulsive conducting. Hannah Nepil, The Financial Times, 7th March 2014
Yves Abel’s stylish conducting offers great compensation Warwick Thompson, The Metro, 5th March 2014
Yves Abel conducts an immaculate musical account of what is a thumping good show. George Hall, The Stage, 4th March 2014
Yves Abel injects ample fizz and pop Nick Kimberly, The Standard, 5th March 2014

Concert, May 2013

La Filarmonica

Yves Abel moved the orchestra with admirable control and selected a carefully chosen program. The orchestra responded remarkably and there was a continual sense of space within the music. Gazzetta Di Parma, 4th May 2013

Concert, April 2013

Berlin Opera

Yves Abel creates smooth lines of music, naturally more comic than militant; A resonating “Bravi” after the Zarzuela songs. 

The conductor and musicians maintained contact with the soloists which revealed the subtle rarities of the repertoire. 

Sybill Mahlke, Der Tagesspiegel

Bellini: I Capuleti e i Montecchi

Bavarian State Opera

warf sich Dirigent Yves Abel temperamentvoll ins Geschehen, setzte auf Tempo und liess doch luft fürs zarte miteinander der Stimmen und ihrer konzertierenden Begleiter an Horn und Klarinette Gabriele Luster, Münchner Merkur, 20 February 2013
Yves Abel stand erneut am Pult und bereitete mit dem Staatsorchester seinen Sängern nicht nur ein samtweiches, fein ausziseliertes Bett, sondern behielt auch die Massenszenen sicher im Griff. Klaus Kalchschmid, Sueddeutsche.de, 20 February 2013
Dirigent Yves Abel temperamentvoll ins Geschehen. Er setzt auf tempo und lässt doch Luft fur das zarte Miteinander der Stimmen und ihrer konzertierenden Begleiter an Horn und Klarinette. Gabriele Lucer, TZ, 20 February 2013


La fille du Régiment

San Diego Opera

Conductor Yves Abel was a welcome, musically stylish and enlightened presence in the pit, expertly pacing the production and getting the best out of the San Diego Symphony. James Chute, U-T San Diego, 27 January 2013


L'Elisir d'amore

Wiener Staatsoper

Under the baton of Yves Abel the orchestra had a delicate awareness which supported the soloists greatly. Der Standard, November 2012



Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado

Yves Abel's work in front of the Orquesta Sinfónicadel Principado de Asturias was exceptional. He marked his territory with a strong and resounding prelude. The whole evening was exquisite, highlighting the refined orchestration of Massenet and the superb quality of the music. Abel delivered a strong symphonic discourse, rich in expressive ideas, deep romanticism, orchestral filigree and interesting detail, particularly in the final section where he highlights the darker accents of the score… What a luxury to have maestro Abel to open the season. Cosme Marina, La Nueva España, 13th September 2012
The director Yves Abel, OSPA familiar to audiences of both the subscription concerts and the opera season, offered a very attractive version of the score. It was a memorable account, with a fluidity of tempo very appropriate to Massenet, an exquisite sense of color, and a great structural clarity of motifs and dynamics. Ramón Avello, El Comercio, 12 September 2012
Yves Abel a first class conductor, the audience applauded and calls of ‘Bravo’ were heard throughout the evening. La Nueva España, 12 September 2012


La fille du régiment

Metropolitan Opera

Yves Abel conducted the Met orchestra with buoyant energy that embraced the exquisite vocal pyrotechnics.

Veronika Dobnik, York Daily Record, 12 December 2011

Yves Abel conducted eloquently, guiding the orchestra through the contrasting feminine and regimental sounds with buoyancy and enthusiasm.

Caitlin McKechney, The Classical Review, 13 December 2011

Yves Abel led a shapely and fluent performance

George Loomis, Musical America, 14 December 2011


Les Vespres siciliennes

Grand Théâtre de Genève

le chef Yves Abel mène avec une grande sensibilité

Tribune de Genève, 05 May 2011

En soignant les subtilités et les nuances d'une partition très riche, Yves Abel réussit à rétablir la cohésion d'une oeuvre inégale. Sa direction précise permet à la musique de se déployer magistralement et d'apporter le relief nécessaire aux ensembles qui parsèment l'œuvre.

Sylvain Angonin, Forum Opera, 07 May 2011


La fille du régiment

Royal Opera House

Yves Abel, conducting with silky finesse, restores a sense of French delicacy to Donizetti’s frothy score

Neil Fischer, The Times, 21 April 2012

Yves Abel's idiomatic conducting is lively and assured.

Graham Rogers, The Stage, 20 April 2012

...nimbly conducted by Yves Abel

Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 20 April 2012

The ROH chorus and orchestra, under conductor Yves Abel, entered the spirit of opéra comique with gusto. Donizetti triumphed.

Agnes Kory, Musical Criticism, 22 April 2012

Yves Abel elicited a precise account of the music [and] the tender moments really shone. A merry night at the Opera.

Kevin Rogers, Classicalsource.com, 20 April 2012

Yves Abel ensures that the orchestral fireworks blaze brightly.

David Galloway, Daily Mail, 20 April 2012

Yves Abel’s conducting is full of vim and spirit.

Warwick Thompson, Metro, 24 April 2012

Yves Abel conducts with panache and sensitivity.

Colin Anderson, Time Out, 24 April 2012


I Capuleti e i Montecchi

Bayerische Staatsoper

Conductor Yves Abel led a spirited overture, kept tempos moving throughout and accompanied his youthful ensemble with great sensitivity.

Jeffrey a. Leipsic, Opera News, April 2011


La cenerentola

Rossini Opera Festival

Leading the Bologna orchestra, Yves Able provided the most authoritative conducting thus far on a well-paced performance. If his tempos tested the singers, they were well up to the challenge.

Carlos Maria Solare, Opera, November 2010

Dal podio, Yves Abel dà un contributo decisivo alla brillantezza complessa dello spettacolo con una lettura di notevole profondità e sottigliezza, efficace nella ricerca dei colori (risponde bene l'orchestra del Comunale di Bologna), trascinante nello stacco dei tempi, nervosi ma non precipitosi, raffinata nella sottigliezza di un fraseggio mobile e franto, sempre «pensato». Compagnia di canto quasi del tutto omogenea ad alto livello.

Cesare Galla, Bresciaoggi, 13 August 2010

La direzione tersa e divertita di Yves Abel

Fabio Vittorini, Il Manifesto, 13 August 2010

El canadiense Yves Abel dirigio estupendamente a la orquesta del teatro Comunal de Bolonia...

Juan Angel Del Campo, El Pais, 13 August 2010

L'eccellente direttore canadese Yves Abel

Mario Messinis, Il Gazzettino 15 August 2010

In the pit, the Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna responded to Abel’s gestures with verve and sensitivity.

Leonard Turnevicius, The Hamilton Spectator, 15 August 2010


La traviata

Royal Opera House

"Conducting, Yves Abel gives the score some French polish, ensuring smooth playing and sympathetic rapport with his singers." Neil Fisher, The Times, 13 May 2010
"Yves Abel draws playing of sensitivity and verve from the orchestra."  Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 14 May 2010


La traviata

Metropolitan Opera

Yves Abel showed admirable refinement from the very first bars of the overture

An Unanmplified Voice, 19 April 2010



'French Touch'

Works by Gounod, Messager, Delibes, Massenet and Offenbach
Patrica Petibon & the Orchestre de l'Opera National de Lyon



Works by Berlioz, Donizetti, Gounod, Lalo, Saint-Saëns Tchaikovsky and Vaccai
Elina Garanca, Filarmonica del Teatro Comunale di Bologna
Deutsche Grammophon