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There was much to-do around the premiere of conductor Lorin Maazel's first opera, based on George Orwell's nightmarish novel, when it premiered at Covent Garden in 2005. The music was attacked (in some cases viciously), and there were many personal jabs at Maazel, who, according to one newspaper, funded the production to the tune of $1,000,000. Charges of eclecticism, facileness and the lack of a strong personal voice certainly hit their mark, but to dismiss 1984 simply as a vanity project is irresponsible since both the writing and the orchestration are assured in their execution.
Maazel's cast for the London premiere …