Franz Welser-Möst walked out of Vienna because he could not agree artistic plans with the general director, Dominique Meyer, himself under extreme pressure to cut costs.
Riccardo Muti left Rome, Nicola Luisotti quit Naples and Daniele Rustioni abandoned Bari over economic stringencies. Gianandrea Noseda resigned in Turin after a clash with the administration, then returned.
Morlot in Brussels (reading between the lines) could not get cooperation from recalcitrant orchestral players.
These are all enough reasons to make anyone quit. What has changed this year is that music directors used to give two or three years’ notice through their agents before they terminated an engagement. Now they just slap a sheet of paper on the director’s desk and are gone before the echo fades.
Some administrators are unhappy at this instant resignation trend, understandably so. Meyer found himself with 34 empty podium nights to fill.
In our view, however, it is a vast improvement on past convention where a music director would work out his contract with a visibly unhappy orchestra and administration. We can recall many unedifying instances of music directors in London, Paris, Berlin and particularly Vienna where the sight of a music director working out his notice without sharing dialogue or affection with the musicians, administrators or public. Lorin Maazel’s last days in Vienna were simply miserable. He would have done far better to do as today’s maestro’s do – quit and be gone.