Gustavo Dudamel, Star Maestro, to Resign From Paris Opera
Superstar maestro Gustavo Dudamel will step down as music director of the Paris Opera in August, four years ahead of schedule and after just two seasons on the job, the company announced Thursday. What did
Dudamel, 42, who also leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Will. take over As music and artistic director of the New York Philharmonic in 2026, said he is stepping down to spend more time with his family.
“It is with a heavy heart and after much consideration that I am announcing my resignation,” he said in a statement. “I have no plans other than to be with my loved ones, to whom I am deeply grateful for staying strong in my determination to grow and face challenges, each day, personally and artistically. I helped myself.”
Dudamel’s two-year tenure would be one of the shortest in the recent history of the Paris Opera. His sudden departure is unusual in the classical music industry, where conductors typically serve out their contracts and seasons are usually planned years in advance. His resignation comes a few months after his resignation. made a surprising announcement That he will leave his post in Los Angeles, which he has held for New York since 2009, when his contract expires at the end of the 2025-26 season.
Alexandre Nef, general director of the Paris Opera, praised Dudamel’s “special relationship” with the orchestra and said he respected his choice. He said in an interview that Dudamel had expressed concerns in January about his ability to carry out his duties, which include devoting time to the intense performance and rehearsal schedule required by the opera. .
“In the end, they came to the conclusion that they couldn’t give the institution what they thought the institution needed,” Neff said.
Over the past several months, Neff suggested ways to keep Dudamel in Paris.
“I didn’t try to twist his arm,” Neff said. “We played with different scenarios and schedule arrangements. But in the end, he realized that it wasn’t enough for him to own the title.
Dudmel’s representatives said Thursday that he was not available for an interview.
The opera house and Dudamel are still discussing what to do about his planned engagements for the 2023-24 season. He was to lead a new production of Wagner’s “Lohengrin” and the Paris premiere of Thomas Addis’ “The Exterminating Angel,” as well as several concerts with the orchestra.
Dudamel’s departure raises the possibility that he may deepen his commitment to the New York Philharmonic sooner than expected. Due to scheduling conflicts, they were not planning to have much of a presence in New York until the 2026-27 season. Dudamel, Joe Conducted the orchestra In Mahler’s Ninth Symphony last week, there are no engagements in New York next season.
Deborah Borda, president and chief executive of the Philharmonic, who helped start it. Dudamel’s career in Los Angeles nearly two decades ago and persuaded him to take a job in New York, saying he hoped he would be able to spend more time with the orchestra starting next season, but nothing happened.
“He’s very clear that he doesn’t want to make that decision anymore,” he said in an interview.
When Dudamel took the New York job, some in the industry speculated that he wanted to cut back on his trips to Paris. But Borda said Dudamel, who was born in Venezuela, realized during the pandemic that he wanted to spend more time in Spain, now home to his wife, his 12-year-old son, his parents and his grandmother. Is.
“There’s no doubt he’s going to face some criticism,” he said of his decision to step down. “But I think it’s a bold and important move.”
In Paris, Dudamel led high-profile productions of contemporary operas such as classics such as John Adams’ “Nixon in China” and Puccini’s “Turandot.” He was well regarded by orchestral musicians and Neff, although he sometimes received mixed reviews from European critics. A production of Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” that he did earlier this year. Create headlines When her soprano was sown.
The Opera House also appears to be under some financial pressure. Planned performances by the Paris Opera Orchestra in London and Vienna in April were abruptly canceled. The Barbican Center in London said this was due to factors currently making touring financially difficult.
His appointment in 2021, for an initial term of six seasons, was considered a coup for the company, founded in 1669 by Louis XIV as the Académie d’Opéra. It was an unlikely union, given Dudmel’s busy schedule and frequent commitments in Los Angeles. And while he gained fame and acclaim as a symphonic conductor, he had Less experience in opera.
Dudamel said at the time that he felt chemistry with the Paris Opera after starting his company. In 2017 with “La Bohème”.
“I felt this connection with the house, the musicians, the choir, the whole team,” he said in a statement. The interview With the New York Times in 2021. “I was here for a month and a half and I felt like I was at home.”
Dudamel’s departure leaves the Paris Opera in a difficult position. Neff said that the orchestra will rely on guest conductors to help fill gaps in the coming seasons, and that the company will soon begin a search for a permanent conductor with the goal of “not the most readily available.” Find the best person.”
“We are strong enough to get through this period while we look for someone new,” he said.
The company informed its 175 musicians of Dudamel’s decision on Thursday. Neff said some people have seen a change in their relationship with Dudamel over the past few months and are relieved that a resolution has been reached.
“They were expecting something to happen,” he said. “There’s frustration and sadness, but also a moment of relief to know what’s going on.”