Kasper Holten to quit Royal Opera

Director of opera to leave Covent Garden in 2017 to be closer to his family in Copenhagen

Kasper Holten, the Royal Opera’s director of opera since 2011, has announced he will leave Covent Garden in 2017 in order to be closer to family in Denmark.

Holten said that when he joined the Royal Opera he and his partner had no children. “Now we do, and after much soul searching we have decided that we want to be closer to our families and inevitably that means we make Copenhagen our home, where the children will grow up and go to school.”

Holten, an energetic, passionate and eloquent figure at Covent Garden, will leave when his contract ends in 15 months. The search for a successor will start next month.

The departure appears to be entirely amicable. Holten, who joined from the Royal Danish Opera, was offered a five-year extension in the summer but declined, asking for seven months to allow him to direct a new production of Wagner’s Meistersinger early next year.

Holten said: “I love working at ROH – and with all the amazing colleagues here – and it feels very painful to let go of that in 2017.”

Antonio Pappano, the Royal Opera’s director of music, paid tribute. “Kasper Holten has been electric during his time at the Royal Opera House, demonstrating an uncanny energy, perseverance and vision for the future of our great institution.

“My collaboration with him on Król Roger was one of the most fruitful experiences I have had during my time at this theatre. I am very sad that he has decided he must leave, as I believe it will be a major loss for our company, and for me personally. I wish him and his family the very best wishes for their future.”

Alex Beard, the chief executive of the Royal Opera, said: “Kasper Holten is a wonderful colleague and a good friend, and continues to bring extraordinary energy and vision as our director of opera. While I had very much hoped to work with him through to 2020 and beyond, I understand and respect his reasons for moving back to Copenhagen.”


Mark Brown Arts correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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