Gustavo Dudamel, musical director of the Paris Opera, leaves early
At the end of this season, the musical director of the Paris Opera, Gustavo Dudamel, leaves his post ahead of schedule due to "personal circumstances". The Venezuelan conductor, who was appointed as recently as August 2021 and combines his work with active international activities, assured that he "has no other projects than to be with his loved ones." comments Maria Sidelnikova.
For the second year in a row, at the end of the season, the Paris Opera loses its artistic director. Aurélie Dupont abruptly resigned that year (see below). "Kommersant" dated June 17, 2022), leaving the ballet company without leadership until December 2022. The news of the departure of Gustavo Dudamel, the superstar of classical music and, it seemed, a reliable associate of the General Director of the Opera, Alexandre Nef, came as a similar surprise. Of the six seasons stipulated by the contract, he eventually worked out only two.
“It is with a heavy heart and after careful consideration that I announce my resignation as musical director of the Paris Opera in order to spend more time with my family,” the 42-year-old conductor, husband of Spanish actress Maria Valverde and father of a teenage son, said in a communique. first marriage. CEO Alexandre Nef, in turn, thanked Gustavo Dudamel, "whose passion and great talent brought so much to the repertoire" of the Paris Opera, highlighting the recent success of "Nixon in China" (see below). "Kommersant" dated April 5).
With the arrival of Dudamel at the Opera, who replaced Philippe Jordan, who quietly and peacefully led for 12 years, high hopes were pinned.
A world star, an energetic popularizer of classical music, conducting with equal enthusiasm both in the Philharmonics and at the Super Bowl, an authoritative nurturer of young talents, who proved by his own example that there are no barriers to success, was called to Paris, including with a political mission. During his appointment, there was a lot of talk about the democratization of the Opera, the development of social and educational programs. However, in these two seasons, Dudamel seems to be doing his best as a guest star. In addition to the aforementioned "Nixon", his work in "Tristan and Isolde" and "Tosca" became a real gift to local music lovers.
Dudamel combined his post at the Paris Opera with the post of musical artistic director, art director and chief conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. He has occupied it since 2009, and the mandate was once again extended until 2026. According to the French media, his contract as artistic director at the Paris Opera assumed a fixed number of performances and attendance days, everything else was an additional cost for the Opera. And if in France the issue of money is a taboo, then according to the tax returns of the Los Angeles orchestra in 2022, Dudamel earned $ 2.8 million.
The fact that the conductor of the Opera is not quite affordable, Nef mentioned only once - in January of this year, when it became known about the cancellation of two concerts of the Parisian orchestra under the direction of Dudamel in Vienna and London in April.
“The organization of the tour is incompatible with the desired economic balance,” explained the CEO, who has been searching for this balance for more than one season. The musical artistic director did not stand at the conductor's stand in May at The Dante Project either. At the Opera, the cancellation was not neatly noticed, but it looked strange, since Dudamel excitedly talked about the music for the ballet ordered by Thomas Ades at the time of his appointment, was very eager to participate in the life of the ballet troupe and had already conducted Ades's composition in Los Angeles. The announcement of the next season, where, under the direction of the artistic director, there were only three titles, including Lohengrin staged by Serebrennikov for the opening of the season, only reinforced doubts. Who will stand at the conductor's stand, the Opera promised to announce in the near future.
Meanwhile, in the winter in Paris, almost unnoticed, the news that shook the American world of classical music passed almost unnoticed: from the 2026/27 season, Gustavo Dudamel will lead the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the oldest and most prestigious in the world. He will start trying on new duties in 2025, and before that he acts as a guest conductor. And that's a plus for Los Angeles. It's really about finding time for the family.
And Alexandre Nef will again have to throw all his strength into finding a new musical artistic director of the Paris Opera, and this is still a puzzle: all engagements in the artistic world are booked five years in advance, the French theater is a complex machine, and people who are not accustomed to court order, multiplied by trade union pitfalls, it is oh so difficult here. The ballet director was searched for the first time in an international competition last year. Yes, and on the ballet stage with frames it was somehow freer. Here, it seems, there are few options, but a female candidate suggests itself - both more reliable and more relevant, and the budget will certainly be easier. Of the female conductors seen at the Opera, for example, the Ukrainian Oksana Lynev, but since January 2022 she has been engaged for three years at the Teatro Comunale de Bologne. And Nef needs a director for the new season. Where to find this and how - is still unclear.