Press & Reviews

‘Ana Maria Martinez’s artful restraint was matched by those around her, including the conductor Karel Mark Chichon, who made his company debut with a performance that kept the drama flowing inexorably forward, cutting the saccharine without stinting on Puccini’s lushness’
Zachary Wolfe, New York Times

‘Mr. Chichon’s debut demonstrated he is a very fine artist, able to coax delicate impressionistic tone color from the massive Met orchestra. Madama Butterfly is one of the world’s most popular operas, but it doesn’t play itself; it takes a perceptive maestro like Mr. Chichon to present this score at its best’
James Jorden, New York Observer

‘Also making a strong debut was conductor Karel Mark Chichon, who will be leading the orchestra throughout the season’
Joe Mcdonald, New York Sports Day

Karel Mark Chichon, in his debut on the Met podium, conducts a robust reading of the score…..he elicits all of the pathos in the music, especially in the Intermezzo between the two scenes of Act 2 and the so-called “Humming Chorus” as Cio-cio-san settles to wait for Pinkerton’s return.
Huffington Post – Wilborn Hampton

Karel Mark Chichon (British despite the name) led the impeccable and virtuosic Met orchestra through a reading of the score which brought out all the passionate lyrical sweep, tension and drama in Puccini’s score.
Seen and Heard International – Jim Pritchard

Karel Mark Chichon conducts an alert and precise performance, dramatic without being soppy,  drawing from the orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera shimmering sonorities.
Forum Opera – Christian Peter

British conductor Karel Mark Chichon made his Met debut in this run of Butterfly….he led a taut and wrenching performance that got everything Puccini needed from the Met’s great orchestra. The Met should definitely bring him back. – Neil Kurtzman

Karel Mark Chichon gives Puccini’s marvelous score both detail and ample room to breathe.

Under the baton of Karel Mark Chichon, Puccini’s music truly invades your soul.
Biz Community, South Africa – Daniel Dercksen

Much better captured the essence of musical theater and Butterfly conductor Karel Mark Chichon, who led the orchestra and choir in a precise characterization of the characters and plot changes with great emotional charge.
Lidovky, Prague – Helena Havlikova

The London conductor Karel Mark Chichon in his debut at the MET succumbs to the  eternally seductive and sentimentality found in the music of Puccini’s most valuable asset, its stage nerve.
Hospodarske Noviny, Jiri Cerny

Chichon maintained an effective representation of theater and drama…..he inadvertently took prominence and therefore was honest and allowed the voices  in the epicenter of  representation to sustain the voltage according to the way an opera should be conducted……. but went out with remarkable skill.
In Fernem Land – Helena Havlikova

Karel Mark Chichon, who was making his debut in these performances, conducted a classical performance of this work. The brief prelude was vibrant and energetic….His reading slowly became more intimate and crystalline, far away from excessive sonorities. Through the orchestral balance being conceived through the warmth of the strings of the orchestra, Chichon was detailed and subtle in the many interventions of the soloists in the orchestra and attentive with the singers…….his performance as a whole was impressive and was rewarded by considerable bravos from the audience. – Pedro J. Lapeña Rey

On this occasion conducted by the British conductor Karel Mark Chichon, who was able to bring out all the talents of the soprano Kristine Opolais in the title role.
Diario de Morelos, Mexico

“Die Spielzeit der Deutschen Radio Philharmonie ist noch nicht zu Ende, doch mit einer überragenden Interpretation von Mahlers Sinfonie Nr. 2 („Auferstehungssinfonie“) krönte Chefdirigent Karel Mark Chichon nun die Saison.”
Saarbruecker Zeitung

“The conductor Antonio Pappano, to whom the disgruntled audience had been eagerly waiting to see, was replaced by Karel Mark Chichon. But their annoyance disappeared instantly at the start of the Overture: there were bold tempo changes, a fine characterization of the pathos in the strings and poignant lines in clarinet and oboe. This man knows what he wants. The Second symphony of Borodin showed that (Chichon) had established an intimate contact with the orchestra in this first encounter.”

“The extreme contrasts within the overture were dramatic. What is clear: Chichon is a conductor who does not bore the listeners! The beautiful playing of the orchestra’s dialogue with Kavakos was astonishing…”

“(Chichon’s) talent for musical drama was plain to see in the Verdi Overture; he kept the suspense perfectly…”
“In the Borodin, high romantic drama from fairytale Russia, he kept the lines tight…the slow movement was really allowed to sing yet sizzle.”
(URC ****)

“One of the greatest 20th century composers – Gustav Mahler said, “I mean, write a symphony with all available means of musical expression to build a new world!” His second Symphony is a monumental and programmatic work of the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra Season Opening Concert with Eric Ešenvalds Fanfare Karel Mark Chichon led the orchestra musicians were hand-built in the new world, which thrilled his whole heart to their uniqueness.

As the name of the opus, the concert was opened with a fanfare Eric Ešenvalds new works – very fresh, colorful music, footage of a compact (about six minutes), but pleasantly rounded whole in which The Latvian sound code in the world breath precursory framework, while touching something outside spacetime form, common to all mankind. Ešenvalds music I have always found speaks directly to the listener with its simple beauty, which felt a sincere humility and praise the Most High, no less pathos – easy and light, filling the heart and soul with positive energy throughout. Also fanfare is no exception. Ešenvalds Welcomed Orchestra new season with a score in a short time reveals a wide variety of orchestral colors and options, from a saturated string in unison through a small and playful solo wind instrument to gently lyrical melodic which penetrated up the wonderful percussion score, while easy and attractive with its wild- continuous pulse of the musical fabric reinforcements. Ešenvalds with its characteristic reverence and entering into fanfare had placed a message on the band as a whole, which is formed from the vivid personalities and are masters of their instrument playing. Chichon orchestrated fanfare, creating expressive, yet harmonious paintings with bright accents and feel the nuances.

Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony in turn (this is the second symphony the other name) was a monumental wealth. To conduct Mahler is an experience, a peculiar initiation, approaching musical maturity and self-consciousness. Mahler himself calls for many literal and specific instructions within a wide range of emotions, where weaker nerves may even be harmful. Karel Mark Chichon in the person of emotionality and temperament are intertwined with the passionate nuances of search and rational, but also with the pragmatic power distribution and the energy to bring this magnificent symphony through to its culmination in the finale. It seems every major form Chichon constructs with great care, leads the orchestra musicians carefully luster of his party and then of those clean shiny bricks in the construction of a new version of its composer-generated world. Both strings and wood and brass, and percussion sounded magnificent balanced. Special mood and contrasts gave the so-called offstage brass and percussion ensembles, which the author meticulously called for, travelled very successfully from on stage to back stage. Surprisingly, given that the concert was held without a break, and Mahler’s symphony is about one and half hours long, the time went by almost unnoticed, as did the attention of musical dynamics to relax for a moment, and keeping your eyes open were like keeping your eyes closed in the beautiful interwoven orchestral textures in display. In the third movement the sympathetic lightness and dynamic pace pleasantly reminded the conductor’s exquisite treatment of the waltz / landler, never allowing a three-four measureto become banal. While the vocal side of the second Symphony added beautiful Russian mezzo-soprano Elena Batoukova’s rendition of Mahler’s song of the 4th movement. Her deep maternal warmth and expressivity added colored orchestral performances, bright contrast to the following French horn fanfare, leading into the symphony finale. The other soloist – the American soprano Karen Slack – sparkled with a rounded, clear, but at the same time fill the sound of a voice, a genuine enjoyment of the ears giving final ensemble with Batoukova (it seems, this time very successfully managed to harmonize the singers voice deepening tonal colors) and the Latvian National Opera Chorus, the final culmination of the spoken resurrection of the idea. I found myself at the thought of comparing this performance with the one a few years ago in Riga under Andris Nelsons’ artistic leadership – at that time Nelsons’ interpretation led critics and public to question the conductor emotional resources (on the border of being burnt out) which reached a definitive interpretation of contrasts, but the performance of Karel Mark Chichon, a deep and mature emotion intertwined with strictly rational direction of directing towards to the peak of the work, allows us to see Mahler’s genius in the directly programmatic symphony of construction and does not tire the listener with neverending emotional excess. With Chichon’s interpretation the listener was allowed to breath repeatedly and at the end of the symphony after the magnificent final chords the conductor himself took an extensive pause of more than two minutes of silence to allow Mahler’s world to disappear into the sea of applause.”
Neatkriga Daily Newspaper, Lauma Mellena, 29/10/2010

“……An dem großen Erfolg dieses Abends hatte der Dirigent Karel Mark Chichon, einen gebührenden Anteil.
Unter Chichon, der das Lettische Nationale Sinfonieorchester mit Verve zu fein ziselierter Klangarbeit motivierte und die Sängerin sensibel begleitete, verteilte er klug lyrische, dramatische und temperamentvolle Akzente.
Chichon, ein Magier am Pult, leitete das blendend disponierte Orchester mit Sicherheit, Temperament und Geschmack. Ihm und dem Orchester kann man nicht genug danken, dass der Abend mit solcher Virtuosität, musikalischer Intelligenz und Hingabe begleitet wurde. Mit hochgepeitschter Dramatik und viel Temperament servierten sie dieses umfassende Programm.
Wie Chichon die Tempi voneinander absetzte und immer den richtigen Ton traf, ist bewunderungswürdig. Er riss das Orchester ständig mit und erreichte so ein Optimum an Differenziertheit und Klangfülle. Schmissige Tempi und kraftvolle Ausbüche gaben der Musik den richtigen volkstümlich-spanischen Klang. Man spürte die Liebe des Dirigenten für diese Musik. Sein Dirigat war eine einzige gelungene Pirouette, bei der man andauernd Beifall klatschen möchte, ein reines sinnliches Musikvergnügen. Alles war Bewegung, er wurde niemals derb, blieb immer elegant und natürlich. Er gestaltete dieses Konzert mit minimaler, aber überaus präziser Zeichengebung zu einem beglückenden Erlebnis.
Sie erntete heftigen Jubel. Ein hervorragendes Konzert. Wir empfehlen Jedem den Besuch der Habanera Tour.”
ioco Kultur im Netz, 25/09/2010
“… Ganrancas Landsleute vom Lettischen Nationalen Orchester gaben unter der Leitung von Karel Mark Chichon ihr Äußerstes. Er forderte heftige Tempi und großes Klangvolumen. Keine Spur von Tournee-Langeweile. Stehende Ovationen am Schluss”.
Rheinische Post, Norbert Laufer, 25/09/2010)

“…the outstanding musical event of the weekend was Maestro Karel Mark Chichon’s reading of Beethoven’s monumental Seventh Symphony… this youthful conductor of genius… The grandeur of his way with Beethoven was astonishing…….There was nothing external in Chichon’s Beethoven. Everything from piano to forte, to thrilling crescendi came from within… He conducted La Traviata with love and dedicated support for his singers… brought out the full poignance of Verdi’s masterpiece”
New York Times (USA)- John Paul Keeler

“Karel Mark Chichon – conducted without rehearsal, with a firm and confident grip that resulted in complete co-ordination between stage and orchestral pit… Chichon’s approach was to keep things moving throughout the opera but at the same time he managed to create tempi that gave the right atmosphere for each scene and mood….he never allowed the sound to become slim and dry, instead the sound always blossomed creating a wide range of colours. With this fresh, honest and inspiring performance Karel Mark Chichon left no doubt that he knew the music very well. This was Chichon’s own interpretation of the Magic Flute and not a copy of other conductors or recordings.  The Gibraltar Maestro put his own mark on this opera, and this enthralled the sold-out audience.”
Kleine Zeitung (Austria) – Ernst Naredi-Rainer


“The biggest surprise of the evening for me personally was the spirited conducting of Karl Mark Chichon … proved all evening, how wonderfully he responds to singers and choirs. But the RSO Orchestra’s solo numbers were also highlights of the evening … Tchaikovsky’s Russian dance was so skilfully escalated and realised with such absolute orchestral flair that one might forget many famous recordings. Here a truly great talent could be seen at the conductor’s stand!”
Der Neue Merker (Peter Dusek) - 01/2008

Karel Mark Chichon celebrated the classical “hit parade” with taut tempi, took pleasure in the lush bacchanal of sound, the right drive and an effective tonal dramaturgy.
Die Kronenzeitung (Florian Krenstetter)

Precise and refreshingly sympathetic was Karel Mark Chichon at the conductor’s stand.
Österreich (C. Hirschmann)


Chichon gives off elan, animation and sympathy, attaining with Andrea Rainer’s intense flute melody an actual atmosphere of desire, light and fantasy as well as an orchestral sensitivity which he developed even more passionately in the dance of the firebird.
Tiroler Tageszeitung (U. Strohal), 20.01.2008

Chichon heats up tempers with the racy Carmen-Suite: tempo, precision and dedication… first rate entertainment which the guest conductor and the visibly animated orchestra coaxed from the notes with brilliant commitment, resulting in tumultuous applause. Hasta la vista, Maestro Chichon!
Kronenzeitung (Jutta Höpfel), 23.02.2008

“…the undeniable star of the night was conductor Karel Mark Chichon……his performances of Beethoven: “Corolian” Overture and Symphony No 7 were amongst the most inspired I have heard in a long time…..his conducting reminded me of a rare combination of Kleiber, Karajan and Celibidache…”
Il Resto di Carlino (Italy) - Massimo Crispi

“…from the first crescendo of the Prelude to Tristan und Isolde it was clear that Chichon had the full grasp of the architecture of the work, something not usual for a young conductor – this is a work which brings out a good or bad conductor… his interpretation was as honest, clear and brilliant reading as one could hope to hear… Chichon’s performance of “Mathis der Maler” had authority and imagination. This is another work that is not easy to perform but Chichon knew how to lead the listener to the wonders of this creation…”
Ideal (Granada, Spain) - José A. Lacarel

“…Chichon conducted his wonderful London orchestra with élan, authority and great sense of style in Mozart: Symphony No 40… His interpretation of “La Scala di seta” overture was  brilliant!…”
Diaro de Pontevedra (Spain) – Leopoldo Centeno

“….Chichon was vividly communicative with both orchestra and audience – here was a man with great charisma and dynamism without ever becoming a showman…….”
La Voz de Asturias (Spain) – Cristina Rio

“…little by little the orchestra began to “warm up” to the public, thanks to the talent of its conductor, Karel Mark Chichon… he knew very well how to balance the symphonic and folk elements…..a master of orchestral sound and of graduating the orchestra to the greatest theatrical climaxes…”
Ideal (Granada, Spain) - Andres Molinari

“…Chichon’s sublime interpretation of Bach: St John Passion with his London orchestra and chorus proved why he is the principle star of the season of concerts organised by Centro Cultural Caxavigo…”
Faro de Vigo (Spain) – Sandra Penelas

“…Chichon’s performance of St John Passion was simply extraordinary… pure luxury to the ears of the audience…”
La Region (Orense, Spain) – Sara Bordas

“…the young conductor Karel Mark Chichon was again the star of the evening…. conducting the orchestra with grace but authority, from beautiful pianissimi to majestic fortissimi…”
Diaro de Pontevedra (Spain) – Leopoldo Centeno

“…the conductor “set on fire” not only the orchestra but also the audience….I have seen other conductors with great temperament, but Chichon’s energy is not aggressive, the fire is not destructive…..”
Sestdiena (Riga, Latvia) – Inese Lusina

“….Chichon delighted the audience so much that it stood up and shouted for Northern public unlikely loud bravos…. ”
Sestdiena (Riga, Latvia) – Levina Liepina

Deutsche Kritiken

“… Dieser jugendliche Dirigent hat ein Genie … Die Erhabenheit mit der er Beethoven behandelt hat war erstaunlich …  Es gab nichts äusseres in Chichons Beethoven.  Alles von Piano bis Forte zu fortreissenden Crescendi kam von innen …  Er dirigierte La Traviata mit Liebe und hingebungsvoller Unterstützung für seine Sänger … brachte die volle Wehmut Verdis Meisterstückes heraus.”
The New York Times (USA) – John Paul Keeler

“Wobei für mich persönlich die Hauptüberraschung des Abends das temperamentvolle Dirigat von Karl Mark Chichon … bewies den ganzen Abend lang, wie gut er auf Sänger und Chöre eingehen kann. Aber auch die Solo-Nummern des RSO-Orchesters waren absolute Höhenpunkte des Abends.
… der russische Tanz von Tschaikowsky war so geschickt gesteigert und mit allem orchestralen Glanz realisiert, dass man viele berühmte Einspielungen vergessen möchte. Hier ist ein wirkliches „Hochtalent“ am Dirigentenpult tätig!”
Der Neue Merker (Peter Dusek) - 01/2008

“Karel Mark Chichon zelebrierte die klassische „Schlagerparade“ in straffen Tempi, mit Freude am üppigen, schwelgerischen Schönklang, dem richtigen Drive und einer effektvollen Klangdramaturgie. ”
Die Kronenzeitung (Florian Krenstetter)

Präzise und erfrischend sympathisch agierte am Pult Karel Mark Chichon.
Österreich (C. Hirschmann)


Chichon verströmt Elan, Bewegung und Sympathie, er erreicht bei Debussy über Andrea Rainers klangintensiver, weiter Flötenmelodie tatsächlich eine Atmosphäre aus Sehnsucht, Licht und Traum und eine orchestrale Sensibilität, die er im Tanz des Feuervogels temperamentvoll weiterentwickeln konnte.
Tiroler Tageszeitung (U. Strohal), 20.01.200

Schon mit der rasanten Carmen-Suite heizte Chichon die Stimmung auf: Tempo, Präzision und Engagement … Unterhaltung auf hohem Niveau, die der Gastdirigent und das sichtlich animierte Orchester mit brillantem Einsatz den Noten entlockten und die in tosendem Applaus mündeten. Hasta la vista, Maestro Chichon!
Kronenzeitung (Jutta Höpfel), 23.02.2008

Chichon als Publikumsliebling
Chichon reitet das Orchester mit der Peitsche wie Zorro und bleibt dabei doch Publikumsliebling, weil er pathetische Gestik durch Ausstrahlung ersetzt. Das Prädikat „unbeschwert“ blieb hier keine leere Worthülse. Es wurde vielmehr Markenzeichen eines Mannes, der auf diese Art und Weise wohl noch so manchen Konzertsaal aufmischen wird.
Mitteldeutsche Zeitung - Frank Buchstein

Torero am Pult erzielte frische Leichtigkeit
Der in Gibraltar beheimatete Brit erweis sich als glänzender Botschafter spanischer Musik: Instrumentalstücke aus drei Zarzuelas erklangen unter seiner lebhaften, in der Gestik bisweilen an einen Torero erinnernden Stabführung mit pointierter rhythmischer Prägnanz und frischer Leichtigkeit.
Kleine Zeitung (Österreich) – Ernst Naredi-Rainer

Bravorufe für Spitzenorchester – Gebürtiger Londoner dirigierte Staatsphilharmonie
Karel Mark Chichon, gefragter Orchesterleiter bei Europas grossen Philharmonien, leitete das Konzert. Im wahrsten Sinne “überWerken und Musikern stehend” ließ er die leidenschaftlich-dynamischen Kontraste von Beethovens “Coreolan-Ouvertüre” deutlich werden. Wie verdient die Beifallsbekundungen waren, bewiesen die Musiker in der Interpretation von Brahms´Zweiter Sinfonie. Karel Mark Chichon blieb auch hier nicht an der Oberfläche, sondern forderte das Orchester zu feinnervig bewusstem Aufspüren der inneren Werte und der Harmonik der Sinfonie.
Altmark Zeitung (Deutschland) – Stendal

“Der eindeutige Star des Abends war Dirigent Karel Mark Chichon …  Seine Vorführung Beethovens ‘Corolian’ Ouvertüre und 7. Sinfonie waren unter den inspirierendsten, die ich seit langer Zeit gehört habe …  Sein Dirigieren liess mich an eine rare Kombination von Kleiber, Karajan und Celibidache denken …”
Il Resto di Carlino (Italien) – Massimo Crispi

“Vom ersten Crescendo des Präludiums zu Tristan und Isolde war klar, dass Chichon die Architektur des Werkes voll verstand – etwas ungewöhnliches für einen jungen Dirigent …  Dieses Werk bringt den guten sowie den schlechten Dirigenten heraus …  Seine Interpretation war so ehrlich, klar und hervorragend, wie man nur wünschen konnte …  Chichons Vorführung des ‘Mathis der Maler’ hatte Authorität und Phantasie.  Dieses ist auch ein Werk, das nicht einfach ist, aber Chichon wusste, wie er seine Zuhörer in die Wunder dieser Kreation führen konnte… ”
Ideal (Granada, Spanien) – José A Lacarel

“Chichon verband sich lebhaft mit Orchester und Publikum – ein Mann mit grosser Ausstrahlung und Dynamik – ohne sich je als Showman zu zeigen …”
La Voz de Asturias (Spanien) – Cristina Rio

“Mehr und mehr begann das Orchester auch das Publikum in Schwung zu bringen – durch das Talent des Dirigenten, Karel Mark Chichon, der die sinfonischen und Folk-Elemente genau zu balanzieren verstand… Ein Meister des Orchesterklangs und der sanften Führung zu den grössten theatralischen Höhepunkten”
Ideal (Granada, Spanien) – Andres Molinari

“Chichons zauberhafte Interpretation von Bachs Johannespassion mit seinem Londoner Orchester und Chor bewies warum er der Hauptstar der Konzertsaison ist, die von Centro Cultural Caxavigo organisiert wurde …”
Faro de Vigo (Spanien) – Sandra Penelas

“Chichons Vorführung der Johannespassion war einfach aussergewöhnlich – der reine Luxus für die Ohren des Publikums …”
La Region (Orense, Spanien) – S.A.

“Der junge Dirigent Karel Mark Chichon war wieder der Star des Abends …  dirigierte das Orchester mit Anmut aber doch auch Authorität, von schönen Pianissimi  zu majestischen Fortissimi … Kein Wunder dass er ein Liebling unseres regulären Publikums ist …”
Diario de Pontevedra (Spanien) – Ad Libitum

“Der Dirigent hat nicht nur das Orchester, sondern auch das Publikum, ‘angefeuert’.  …  Ich habe schon andere Dirigenten mit viel Temperament gesehen, aber Chichons Energie ist nicht aggressiv, das Feuer ist nicht zerstörend …”
Sestdiena(Riga, Lettland) – Inese Lusina

“Chichon entzückte sein Publikum so, dass sie aufstanden und laut ‘Bravo’ riefen – was bei einem nördlichen Publikum aussergewöhnlich ist …”
Sestdiena (Riga, Lettland) – Levina Liepina