Obituary: Croatian Conductor Baldo Podic, Dies of Coronavirus

By Logan Martell

Conductor Baldo Podic has passed away due to complications from the coronavirus at 77 years of age.

Born in Dubrovnik, Croatia in 1942, Podic studied piano and conducting in the city of Zagreb. After serving as a ballet accompanist in Vienna and a conductor at the Linz Landestheatre, Podic was appointed music director of the Opera de Paris’ Opera Studio. Podic made a name for himself when he went to Basel City Theatre in Switzerland, as a conductor specializing in the operas of Donizetti, Verdi, Bellini, and Puccini; in 1988 he directed and conducted the Swiss premiere of Donizetti’s “Parisina d’Este.” Podic remained with the company until his retirement in 2007.

Podic is remembered as a passionate and tireless figure, with Siegfried Schibli of the Basler Zeitung writing: “Podic, who knew many scores and was able to benefit from his rich experience as an accompanist, was an emotional type who often let himself be mastered and worked with singers as if he were a singer himself. He knew the French opera system as well as the German one and often had to come to terms with the dominance of ‘director’s theater’. He is remembered as a tireless fighter in the orchestra pit who would meet the audience’s applause after a premiere bathed in sweat.”

One notable recording he left behind is a filmed 2004 performance of Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana” with Ettore Nova, Kristijan Johannsson, and the Philharmonic Orchestra of Russe.

Here is an excerpt of Podic at the piano with Anton Diakov.