Maestro move: Minkowski lands French opera

Maestro move: Minkowski lands French opera


norman lebrecht

July 02, 2015

Marc Minkowski, 53, has been named Director General of the National Opera of Bordeaux.

Announcement follows:



Un nouveau Directeur pour l’Opéra National de Bordeaux

Alain Juppé, maire de Bordeaux et Fleur Pellerin, ministre de la
culture et de la Communication se sont accordés avec Laurence
Dessertine, Présidente de l’Opéra National de Bordeaux pour nommer
Marc Minkowski, (53 ans) directeur général de cet établissement. Il
prendra la succession de Thierry Fouquet au mois de juin 2016 lorsque
ce dernier fera valoir ses droits à la retraite.

Marc Minkowski a débuté sa carrière comme bassoniste dans des
formations baroques comme Les Arts Florissants ou La Chapelle Royale,
puis très vite, à l’âge de dix-neuf ans il fonde les « Musiciens du
Louvre », avec lesquels il rencontre rapidement un reconnaissance
internationale dans laquelle Mozart tient une place de choix.

Marc Minkowski a toujours maintenu une intense activité à la tête
d’orchestres du monde entier et est devenu en 2008 directeur musical
du Sinfonia Varsovia.

En juin 2011, dans l’ile de Ré qu’il affectionne tout
particulièrement, il lance son propre festival « Ré majeure ».
Enfin en janvier 2013, il devient directeur artistique de la
Mozartwoche (Semaine Mozart).

Marc Minkowski dans son projet attractif et exigeant, veut faire de
l’Opéra National de Bordeaux le port d’attache des valeurs montantes
parmi les chanteurs de demain, ralliant à la capitale girondine tous
les talents avec lesquels il a construit sa brillante carrière. Il
entend construire son projet en collaboration étroite avec les
directeurs artistiques de l’institution et tout en se rendant
totalement disponible pour ses nouvelles fonctions. Il poursuivra
également le travail en résidence mené avec R.Pichon.


  • Wallace George says:

    As I sometimes holiday in Bordeaux, I wish I knew what this meant. ie is this a good thing or a bad thing for Bordeaux’s music scene?
    I’m guessing it’s good for those who like French Baroque music. But presumably there will need to be room within the programming for other major genres. I can’t imagine that Mr. Minkowski is keen on (or knowledgeable about) contemporary music, for example. Perhaps I’m wrong?

    Bordeaux’s programming has always struck me as provincial, boring, conservative. Lots of safe choices. If you look at the programme it feels like it could be any hall, anywhere. They have a great new hall, but the orchestra remains weak.

    Maybe the mayor, Alain Juppé, just wanted a name with national recognition, in time for his 2017 presidential campaign? If so, it’s a pretty cynical decision.

    • Gonout Backson says:

      A very curious comment. Mr Minkowski’s repertoire goes from Monteverdi to John Adams, with a lot in between. If you perceive him still as an exclusive Lully/Rameau champion, you’ve missed most of his 30 years’ carreer. Before the Mayor took this “cynical decision”, Bordeaux organized a “concours” with many candidates. Mr Minkowski’s project came first. Please, wait to judge him at least on his future programming, instead of throwing these “preliminary” suspicions on him and on the people who named him.

      • LP says:

        I agree. This sounds like good news for Bordeaux. I wonder whether he will relocate his Musiciens du Louvre with him since Grenoble doesn’t seem to care much about them anymore.

        • Olassus says:

          I also agree. But it doesn’t sound like much of a job for Minkowski.

          At the Grand Théâtre in 2015-16 they present only Simon Boccanegra!

          At the new Auditorium, a concert venue, they present only Don Carlo, and in its bad short version.

    • PDQ.BACH says:

      Background: budget cuts.

      The current budget frame was decided in 2013.

      The Opéra National de Bordeaux is financed and overseen by three public partners: the French state, the City of Bordeaux, and the Région Aquitaine. Reason why the appointment was announced jointly by Culture Minister Pellerin and Mayor Juppé.

      One of the major tasks of the new director will be to fill the new Auditorium de Bordeaux and its 1740 seats (1440 in Dutilleux Hall, 300 in Sauguet Hall). Juppé pushed for the investment and has to make it pay, given that the city dished out 20 of the 28 million Euro the building cost (over the counter).

  • Ed says:

    Good luck Maestro!

    • French musician says:

      In my humble opinion as a musician of one of the french national orchestras, this is a disaster for Bordeaux. The man is a charlatan, and I don’t say that lightly. Yes, he made some very good recordings and tours. He knew which musicians to hire when making his name (and had no problem firing musicians too). In my orchestra we vote on every invited conductor. He has repeatedly received THE WORST ratings from the musicians, ( last time 98% of us didn’t want him back, quite an achievement! – plus I think the one vote for “excellent” was a joke) and yet has been invited back to conduct us once a year for the past 5 years(!). The orchestra committee raised this at their last meeting with the big wigs and were told that despite his very poor reception, he is liked by audiences and is generally perceived to be a big name. May god have mercy on the excellent Bordeaux musicians.