Gustavo Dudamel Resigns as Paris Opera Music Director, Citing Family Priorities

Gustavo Dudamel, the superstar maestro, will resign his post as music director of the Paris Opera in August, four years ahead of schedule and after just two seasons in the job, the company announced on Thursday. Dudamel, forty-two, who also leads the LA Philharmonic and will get over as music and artistic director of the NY Philharmonic in two thousand twenty-sixth, said he was stepping down to spend more time with his family. “It is with a heavy heart and after long consideration that I announce my resignation,” he said in a statement. “I have number plans other than to be with my loved ones, to whom I'm deeply grateful for helping me to continue to be powerful in my resolve to grow and stay challenged, both personally and artistically, each and every day.”

Dudamel’s two-year tenure will be one of the shortest in the Paris Opera’s recent history. His abrupt departure is different in the classical music industry, conductors generally serve the duration of their contracts and seasons are typically planned years in advance. His resignation comes a few months after he made the astonishment announcement that he'd leave his post in Los Angeles, which he's held since two thousand nine, for New York, when his contract expires at the finish of the 2025-26 season. Alexander Neef, the common 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 beginning in Jan about his skill to fulfill his duties, including devoting the time needed for the intense performance and rehearsal schedule that opera demands. ”In the end, he reached a conclusion that he could just not give to the institution what he believes the institution requires,” Neef said.

Over the past several months, Neef said proposed ways to hold Dudamel in Paris. “I didn't attempt to twist his arm,” Neef said. “We played with different scenarios and arrangements of the schedule. But in the end, he just felt it wasn't sufficient for him to be able to own the title.” Dudamel’s representatives said on Thursday that he was unavailable for an interview. The opera ho and Dudamel are still discussing what to do about his planned engagements for the 2023-24 season. He'd been scheduled to lead a new production of Wagner’s “Lohengrin” and the Paris premiere of “The Exterminating Angel” by Thomas Adès, as well as several concerts with the orchestra.

Dudamel’s departure south the opportunity that he might deepen his commitment to the NY Philharmonic earlier than expected. Beca of scheduling conflicts, he'd not been planning to have much of a presence in NY until the 2026-27 season. Dudamel, who led the orchestra in Mahler’s Ninth Symphony latest week, has number engagements in NY following season. Editors’ Picks ‘The Small Mermaid’ Review: The Renovations Are Only Skin Deep 36 Hours in Vancouver Security Lines: How to Speed Through Deborah Borda, the Philharmonic’s president and chief executive, who helped start Dudamel’s career in LA nearly two decades ago and persuaded him to get the work in New York, said she hoped he'd presently be able to spend more time with the orchestra starting following season but that nothing had been discussed. “He’s very clear that he doesn’t wish to create that decision now,” she said in an interview. When Dudamel took the NY job, some in the industry speculated that he was seeking to reduce his commute to Paris. But Borda said that Dudamel, who was born in Venezuela, had realized during the pandemic that he wanted to spend more time in Spain, which is presently residence to his wife, his 12-year-old son, his parents and his mother.

“No doubt he’ll get some criticism,” she said of his decision to resign. “But I think it’s a bold and necessary move.” In Paris, Dudamel led high-profile productions of contemporary operas love John Adams’s “Nixon in China” and classics like Puccini’s “Turandot.” He appeared to be well regarded by the orchestra’s musicians and by Neef, though he sometimes earned mixed reviews European critics. A production of Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” that he conducted earlier this year made headlines when its soprano was booed. The opera ho also appears to be grappling with some financial pressures. Planned appearances by the Paris Opera orchestra in London and Vienna in April were abruptly canceled. The Barbican Middle in London said it was “due to factors that are currently making touring financially challenging” for the ensemble. His appointment in two thousand twenty-first, for an initial duration of six seasons, was considered a coup for the company, founded in one thousand six hundred sixty-ninth as the Académie d’Opéra by Louis XIV. It was an unlikely , given Dudamel’s packed schedule and frequent commitments in Los Angeles. And while he'd earned fame and accolades as a symphonic conductor, he'd less experience in opera. Dudamel said at the time that he felt chemistry with the Paris Opera after his company debut in two thousand-seventeenth with “La Bohème.”

“I felt this connection with the ho, the musicians, the choir, with the whole team,” he said in an interview with The NY Times in two thousand twenty-first. “I was here for one mo and a half and I was feeling love I was at home.” The departure of Dudamel leaves the Paris Opera in a challenging position. Neef said that the orchestra would rely on visitor conductors to assistance fill gaps in coming seasons, and that the company would soon start a see for for a permanent boss with “the goal of finding the best person rather than the most readily available.”

“We are powerful sufficient to go through this period while we look for someone new,” he said. The company informed its one hundred seventy-five musicians of Dudamel’s decision on Thursday. Neef said some had noticed a modify in their relationship with Dudamel over the past few months and were relieved that there was presently a resolution. “They were expecting something to happen,” he said. “There’s disappointment and sadness, but it’s also a moment of relief to know what’s been going on.”

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