James Conlon to pay tribute to Colin Davis in Paris

James Conlon to pay tribute to Colin Davis in Paris
James Conlon backstage at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in 2011. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

James Conlon, the music director of Los Angeles Opera, will pay tribute to the late conductor Colin Davis in a pair of concerts this month at the Festival de Saint-Denis in Paris. Davis had been scheduled to conduct the concerts, but the renowned British maestro died in April at the age of 85.

Conlon is to lead the Orchestre National de France and the Choeurs de Radio France in two performances of Berlioz's "L'Enfance du Christ" on May 29 and 31. Both performances will be streamed live on Arte Live Web, which can be viewed in the U.S. (Arte is a European television channel devoted to the arts.)

Davis was passionate about the music of Berlioz and "L'Enfance du Christ" was a piece that inspired him to take up conducting, according to Radio France. The piece ("The Childhood of Christ") is an oratorio that follows Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus in their flight to Egypt.


The London Symphony Orchestra, where Davis was principal conductor, has posted a video interview in which he talks about the history of and his relationship with the piece.

Conlon recently conducted Rossini's "La Cenerentola" at L.A. Opera. Next month, he will lead a new production of Verdi's "Macbeth" at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the annual festival in Florence, Italy.