|Alternative Spellings||Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra|
James DePreist - Conductor from 1994 to 1998
Marek Janowski - Conductor from 2000 to 2006
Kazuki Yamada - Conductor from 2016
The Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra […] is the oldest permanently established orchestra in the French-speaking world, with a rich history of important premieres and a reputation for continuing high quality under a succession of great conductors.
[…] Prince Florestan authorized the opening of the famous Casino in 1862 and adopted a policy of supporting arts and entertainment in support of the tourist trade. The nation's permanent orchestra was founded in 1863 to give concerts in the Casino. A concert hall was built in 1872. The principality built its magnificent opera house, the Palais Garnier (designed by the same architect as the Paris Opéra's venerable house) in 1879, and the orchestra was brought in to serve at its productions. Over the years its chief conductors have included such great names as Paul Paray (1928-1944), Louis Frémaux (1956-1965), Lovro von Matacic, Igor Markevitch, and Lawrence Foster, appointed in 1980 and to be succeeded by Gianluigi Gelmetti. Its list of guest conductors is star-studded, including Richard Strauss, Arturo Toscanini, Lorin Maazel, Leonard Bernstein, and many others.
Over 45 operas have been premiered there, including Ravel's L'Enfant et les Sortiléges, Saint-Saëns' Hélène, the first staged production of Berlioz' Le Damnation de Faust, Puccini's La Rondine, and Fauré's Pénélope, as well as the first French-language staging of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde.
From before World War I until the 1930s, the Monte Carlo Opera was also the site of the Ballets Russe de Monte Carlo, so that the orchestra also participated in the creation of some of the greatest works in the twentieth-century ballet repertory. Over the years it produced many great recordings.
The orchestra was officially named the "National Orchestra of the Monte Carlo Opera House" in 1953, and renamed the "Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra" in 1979. (It is still often referred to as the "Monte Carlo Opera Orchestra" when discussed in connection with its playing for the opera house stage, including the opera and the Monte Carlo Ballet, which was revived by Princess Caroline in memory of her mother, Princess Grace, whose dream it was to restore that tradition).
The orchestra comprises 87 members and works a full schedule. Its recordings include several honored by many major recording prizes.