Yannick Nezet-Seguin to take reins as Metropolitan Opera music director

The French-Canadian conductor succeeds James Levine, who retires after 40 years, to become only the third music director at the New York company

New Yorks Metropolitan Opera has announced that Yannick Nzet-Sguin is to be the companys new music director. The 41 -year-old French-Canadian conductor succeeds James Levine, who held the position for 40 years but retires at the end of this current season.

Nzet-Sguin will not take over his position officially until the 2020 -2 1 season due to existing commitments. During the interim period, Nzet-Sguin presumes the title music director designate and will conduct two operas a season, although he will be involved from the outset in the companys artistic planning. Levine is likely to be music director emeritus.

Nzet-Sguin made his Met debut in 2009 conducting Bizets Carmen a bracing, fleet and fresh account of the score from which the singers benefited immensely, wrote the New York Timess reviewer. Nzet-Sguin has since conducted Don Carlos, Rusalka and La Traviata there, and opened the 2015 -1 6 season with Verdis Otello, about which the Wall Street Journal wrote: If the action on the stage sometimes flagged, there was plenty in the cavity, where the superb conductor, Yannick Nzet-Sguin, etched a high-tension dramatic arc.

His Wagner debut at the New York theater comes subsequently in the season with a production of Der Fliegende Hollnder.

Although he has conducted widely in the UK, Nzet-Sguin has done little opu in the country. His choice of orchestral and operatic repertoire tends broadly towards 19 th and early 20 th-century European music, his eye for detail and sensitive touch bringing fresh takes on great canonical runs by the likes of Mahler, Mendelssohn and Saint-Saens. But a Rusalka at Covent Garden in spring 2012 met with strong reviews: Nzet-Sguins conducting devotes the performance a dramatic shape: measured to begin with, it gradually constructs in intensity until the climax is authentically shattering, wrote Andrew Clements in the Guardian.

The conductor is midway through a Mozart opera recording series for Deutsche Grammophon with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and continues to work across the continent guesting at institutions including the London Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic. His successful tenure as music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic comes to an objective in summer 2018.

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In the US, he has been music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra since 2012: his contract there has recently been extended to 2025 -2 6.

Becoming the music director of the Metropolitan Opera is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for me, told Nzet-Sguin. I believe[ it] is the greatest opera company in the world with the best principal singers on the planet.

Yannick was the clear choice, told general manager Peter Gelb. He is the right artist to result us forward into a new chapter in the history of the Met.

Jessica Phillips, clarinettist and chair of the Mets Orchestra committee told The Met Orchestra enjoys a tremendously fruitful, positive relationship with Maestro Nzet-Sguin. He exemplifies the … respect for rich tradition that opera lowers around the world have come to cherish. We look forward to working together to shape this new era at the Met.

Nzet-Sguin is merely the third person to hold the title of music director in the Mets history. Come 2020 and the official commencement of his role, he will conduct five productions per season as well as take over artistic responsibility for the companys orchestra, chorus and music faculty.

I will make it my mission to passionately preserve the highest artistic criteria while imagining a new bright future for our art sort, told Nzet-Sguin on a live connection from Japan, where he is currently on tour with the Philadelphia Orchestra. I want to make people realise how opera is important in “peoples lives”.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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