Conducting Operetta

Following studies at Oberlin College, Lawton worked for four summers in the 1980s as assistent conductor for the Ohio Light Opera in Wooster. This company at the College of Wooster, presents each summer season a repertoire of seven different works was presented, fully staged in English with orchestral accompaniment, and with an ensemble of young singers at the start of their professional careers. This presented the opportunity to conduct the complete repertoire of Gilbert & Sullivan, as well as the most important works of Johann Strauss, Jacques Offenbach and Emmerich Kalman.

As a conductor at the Saarland State Theater some ten years later he led new productions of Zeller's "Vogelhändler" and Offenbach's "Bluebeard", arranging the latter production for a salon orchestra of 12 musicians. The staging concept integrated the orchestra into the stage action -- a kind of "Gesamtkunstwerk" which aimed to recreate the freshness and impertinence that Offenbach often likely had in mind when composing and producing his "little operas".

His debut at Berlin's Theater des Westens (pictured here shortly after its construction in 1896) was with a production of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Pirates of Penzance" in 1996.

A production of "Orpheus in the Underworld", a collaboration between the Deutsches Filmorchester and the theater in the Brandenburg city of Schwedt, followed a year later.

In the summer of 2006, "Die Fledermaus" was presented at Bad Gandersheim. Here, Lawton made a new arrangement with jazz elements for six musicians. Here's an MP3 of the overture, and also one of the first act trio "Nein, mit solchen Advokaten".

Operettas conducted in public include: