Vienna declares it’s better off without a music director

Vienna declares it’s better off without a music director


norman lebrecht

September 07, 2015

The Vienna Opera boss Dominique Meyer and Vienna Philharmonic chairman, Andreas Grossbauer, have given Der Standard an insight into their priorities. At the opera, the orchestra expects to be consulted on all future plans.  They have a fruitful dialogue with the Frenchman Meyer and expect the government to renew his contract when it expires in 2017.

Their relationship has grown closer since Franz Welser-Möst walked out as music director of the opera house. Meyer says he won’t be looking for another music director if he stays on for another term. ‘One can find good solutions, and we have done,’ he says.

The orchestra, however, liked Welser-Möst. Don’t they miss him? ‘No, because we still have him,’ says Grossbauer. ‘We’ve just worked intensively with him in Salzburg and toured with him in Scandinavia. Fundamentally, we do not feel the absence of a music director.’

That begs the question: does any opera house still need one?



  • John Borstlap says:

    It seems like a common sense solution: just one captain on the ship.

  • Petros LInardos says:

    From a historical perspective, Dominique Meyer’s choice doesn’t sound that new. The Vienna State Opera has been mostly led by one person, although the director had sometimes been a renowned conductor, such as Mahler, Krauss, Böhm, Karajan, Maazel. The first post-war dual leadership of director and music director at the Vienna State Opera started with Abbado/Drese in 1986.

  • Has been says:

    Not to be pedantic but, Karajan had a co-Director, Walter Erich Schaefer, when Karajan was Director of the State Opera.

    • Petros LInardos says:

      Thanks. You made look into it. Here is what I found out:

      Karajan was director of the Vienna State Opera from 1956 to 1964, and was joined by Schaefer only in 1961-62. Schaefer was intendant of the Stuttgart Opera from 1949 to 1972, without technically stepping down during his Vienna year.

  • Jevgeniy says:

    Their decision simply validates FWM’s frustration with them and proves his point. They never considered the music director necessary even when they had one.