Freie Presse, Zwickauer Zeitung, 6 January 2003
Woman as Lord of the Revels
Greek conductor Lisa Xanthopoulou conducts New Year's Concert
The sensational thing about the New Year's Concert in the "New World": yesterday, for the first time in its history, the Philharmonic Orchestra played under the baton of a woman - the young Greek conductor Lisa Xanthopoulou.
"Right from the start of the six rehearsals we had with her I found her inspiring," enthused the first solo bass-player Walter Emmerich. "I have been playing in this orchestra since 1967 - but for the first time with a woman conductor. She doesn't act at all feminine, in fact rather tomboyish. It's a sheer pleasure for her and for us to make music together."..... The programme offered the very best from the music sheets of a Johann Strauss, Josef Strauss, Franz von Suppé........conductor and orchestra at first impressed with a performance between the festive and the elegant. During the Galathea overture, percussionists Peter Weller and Mirela-Florina Walla unexpectedly swapped roles to become a dancing couple on the top orchestra step. And after the interval, the conductor whipped the orchestra up to unbridled energy and temperament.
GMD Professor Dieter-Gerhard Worm engaged the Greek conductor for two reasons: Lisa Xanthopoulou won the Bad Homburg conducting competition in 2002 against overwhelming male predominance...Since the Plauen-Zwickow Philharmonic quite rightly wished to be a major orchestra, it was high time for a guest appearance of Lisa Xanthopoulou. Besides which, Worm is passionately interested in integrating her permanently into the musical life of West Saxony at least for a few years.
As the orchestra's mood and temperament came to the boil, so did the audience's applause. At the end there were rousing calls for encores. At first came the "Women" March from "The Merry Widow", in which the conductor made the men in the audience shout in chorus "Oh, these women!", and, as the grand finale, the Radetzky March. A regular visitor to the concerts, Hans-Joachim Brattke, retired forester, went home with these words: "The year 2003 is getting off to a good start. Lisa Xanthopoulou is adding charm and energy to everything. And our orchestra is a prize win for the region!"