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  • redbear: Yes. A long life. His Also Sprach was first performed today in 1896. 5:27 AM
  • Feldmarschallin: Didn’t he die in 1949? 5:20 AM
  • redbear: s/b 1918 5:19 AM
  • redbear: Today in 1981, Richard Strauss was appointed to head the Vienna State Opear 5:18 AM
  • Chanterelle: Glad to read that audiences were sticking around. The two performances I attended had... 4:48 AM
  • Krunoslav: Surely you are not implying that the success of the WERTHER production wasn’t due chiefly to... 4:47 AM
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  • Feldmarschallin: Well nobody said that they performances were at the Met. There are still a few other houses... 3:49 AM
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Gerard Mortier 1943-2014

Update: Impresario Gerard Mortier died earlier today of pancreatic cancer, according to De Morgen. He was 70.

Here is Mortier’s final great success, a production at the Teatro Real of Gluck’s Alceste conducted by Ivor Bolton, directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski and featuring Paul Groves and Angela Denoke.

70 comments

  • Jungfer Marianne Leitmetzerin says:

    THE SALZBURG FESTIVAL MOURNS THE DEATH OF DR. GERARD MORTIER

    “Gerard Mortier was one of the rare artistic director personalities who fought incessantly for the arts and their social importance – not even severe illness could stop him. His death is a terrible loss,” said Festival President Helga Rabl-Stadler in a very personal statement about the death of Gerard Mortier, who was the Salzburg Festival’s Artistic Director from 1991 to 2001.

    “Gerard Mortier was a steadfast follower of the philosophy of Giuseppe di Lampedusa, who wrote in his novel Il Gattopardo: ‘If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change’.”

    “Mortier wanted the Festival to remain the best and most important one in the world. He knew that he had to change a lot of things after the death of his all-powerful predecessor Herbert von Karajan, and he wanted to change them. Thus, he succeeded in having the Karajan era followed by a Mortier era. It was wonderful to work with him when he used his competence and passion to realize programs which seemed impossible at first, for example ‘Saint François d’Assise’ by Olivier Messiaen. It was difficult to work with him when his delight in provocation hurt colleagues and artists.”

    “At his best,” said Rabl-Stadler, “Mortier succeeded in making the killer term ‘random’ disappear from the newspaper’s cultural pages as a description of the Festival’s program. His motto was, ‘I want to create a Festival community which is a community of our times. An audience which confronts the great questions of a complex world – on the other hand, the artists must reflect upon the meaning of art’.” She describes him as a crusader. “He wanted everyone to be passionate about his program, intellectuals and ordinary citizens alike. Together, we lived for the conviction that no festival in the world can be pushed through against the wishes of the local population. Mortier was tireless in his efforts to get the citizens of Salzburg to consider and support the Festival as their own Festival.”

    She added that she was particularly pleased when Mortier recently gave an interview looking back with affection: “The Salzburg Festival was the greatest enrichment of my life, not just because of the encounters with so many outstanding artists, but also with the composers and writers. There is no other cultural institution in the world offering the same chance. Salzburg gave me incredible joy.”

  • Buster says:

    So sorry to to hear this. Two great losses in a row for Belgium. Jan Hoet last month, and now Mortier:

    • olliedawg says:

      Shitty way to go…sorry to hear about his death. Hard to lose someone so passionately devoted to an art form we all love and want to perpetuate.

  • operaassport says:

    Gerard Mortier and Patrice Chereau both gone within 6 months of each other. So sad, so very sad. Two irreplaceable giants.

  • La Cieca says:

    Eh?

    “In 2004, he began a five-year stint at the Opéra de Paris, followed by an abortive appointment to New York City Opera -- a posting which he accepted in rage after being passed over for the top job at the Metropolitan Opera, an organisation he had always longed to reform.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/opera/10686518/Gerard-Mortiers-devotion-to-opera-was-intense-and-unswerving.html