By Robert D. Thomas
Southern California News Group
The Metropolitan Opera has announced that one of the hottest conductors working today, Yannick Nézet-Séguin (pictured right), will succeed James Levine as the Met’s music director. The Montreal-born Nézet-Séguin, 41, represents a generational shift from Levine, 72, who will become music director emeritus beginning with the 2016-2017 season in the fall.
The moves comes at a price, however. With a very busy schedule booked years in advance, Nézet-Séguin will become the Met’s music director-emeritus in 2017-2018, when he will conduct two productions per year. He becomes music director in the 2021-2022 season when he will lead five productions annually. According to a New York Times article, he plans on being involved in the Met’s management immediately, despite his limited conducting schedule.
Nézet-Séguin will continue to be music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra; in fact, he has extended his contract with that ensemble through the 2025-2026 season. He does plan on gradually cutting back on his commitments outside of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Orchestre Métropolitain in Montreal, where he got his first conducting gig and with whom he has maintained a strong relationship. “Just select dates in Berlin, Vienna, and Munich,” he told Peter Dobrin in the Philadelphia Inquirer, “and that’s pretty much it. So I made the choice to be a very much Northeast American.”
Read the New York Times article HERE.
Peter Dobrin in the Philadelphia Inquirer has good background HERE.
Alex Ross offers his lukewarm perspective in The New Yorker HERE. His comparison as to when Levine was named the Met’s music director in 1975 and Nézet-Séguin’s appointment is worth noting. Even though both were odds-on favorites to get the job, there was a great deal of uncertainty in 1975 as to how Levine would fit the new position; ditto for Nézet-Séguin. Only time will tell.
(c) Copyright 2016, Robert D. Thomas. All rights reserved. Portions may be quoted with attribution.