What is it Austin and Cleveland have in common? State capitals? No. Pro sports teams? No. Opera conductors? That's it. Richard Buckley, who has been conducting Austin Lyric Opera productions for three seasons as ALO's artistic director, is now taking his baton up to the Ohio metropolis to serve as principal conductor for Opera Cleveland, a professional company formed in April by the union of Cleveland Opera and Lyric Opera Cleveland. Seems Buckley's stint conducting Cleveland Opera's Turandot last November went so swimmingly that the merged companies were eager to sign him up for their new artistic team. The maestro will conduct two productions in Opera Cleveland's kickoff season Verdi's La Traviata in June, 2007 and Puccini's Tosca in October and advise Opera Cleveland on artistic and orchestral matters. None of this affects Buckley's standing in Austin. He'll balance the Cleveland job with his ongoing duties at ALO and is on board to conduct all three productions in the company's 20th-anniversary season: Puccini's Madame Butterfly in November; the American premiere of Philip Glass' Waiting for the Barbarians next January; and Rossini's The Barber of Seville next April. For more information, call 472-5992 or visit www.austinlyricopera.org.
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