Bill Rancic Defends His Wife Giuliana After Fashion Police Controversy: 'I Tried to Get Them to Release the Footage' 41 years, 2,187 covers and 55,435 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Empire Engagement! Trai Byers Pops the Question to Co-Star Grace Gealey
- Read the Cover Story: Inside Blake & Miranda's Shocking Split
- Alicia Silverstone's Brother Arrested on Marijuana Charges
- Whitney Cummings Opens Up About 25 Lb. Weight Gain: "I was Too Skinny Before"
- Former Boxing Champ Victor Ortiz Arrested at Kenny Chesney Concert
On Newsstands Now
- Matthew McConaughey: In His Own Words
- Jessa Duggar's Wedding Album
- Brittany Maynard's Final Days
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- July 08, 1974
- Vol. 2
- No. 2
Spoleto's Young Yankee Maestro
One believer in Keene is composer-impresario Gian Carlo Menotti, who retained him at 22 to conduct two of his premiering operas at the Two Worlds Festival in Spoleto, Italy. For the season now in progress, Spoleto founder Menotti invited Keene back to serve as assistant director, an appointment many feel anoints Keene as Menotti's heir apparent.
Keene, whose father was an ad man and brother an architect, began to study cello and piano at about 10. "I'm sorry to say I was not writing Beethoven symphonies at 3," he quips, but he did form a student opera company at the University of California at Berkeley. Unable to find a conductor for his first production, he read a "how-to" book and took the baton himself. Elated at his own mastery, he proceeded to drop everything and flunk out of school. "I never wanted to pursue anything else," he concluded.
He then went on to serve as assistant conductor at the San Francisco Opera House, where he met his wife, the former Sara Rhodes, an aspiring singer and musician. They moved east where, at 24, he was to become, for one short stint, the youngest conductor ever at the Metropolitan Opera. He is now a principal conductor at the New York City Opera.
An untemperamental professional who is often accused of being cold and emotionless, Keene progressed beyond an early stage of Bernstein-esque histrionics to develop a conducting style he considers "clear." Says Keene, "Gesture is all important. With some very great conductors you couldn't tell what the hell they were doing because they were just flapping around in the breeze." He is equally unflappable as an administrator—one of the requisites for his Spoleto post. Roman Polanski, the film director (Repulsion) he recruited to direct this season's premiere, a gory version of Alban Berg's Lulu, found Keene "businesslike, mathematical and amazing."
A self-confessed victim of "hyper-concentration" which often leads to rampant insomnia, Keene says he has not taken a day off in five years. "I keep saying I'd like a vacation," he says, "but I imagine after a week and a half I'd be so bored I'd be crawling up the walls." At the moment such a vacation seems unlikely. After Spoleto the Keenes and their two children return to their New York West Side apartment. He is working on a libretto of a new opera, composing several others, and all the while jockeying to become permanent director of a major opera company or symphony. "It's very rare," he says, "to find artists who are not afraid of administration. You can do a lot, you can control all the conditions," he continues fearlessly. "It's sort of like being the Godfather."
July 27, 2015
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!