Kasper Holten’s departure as director of opera at Covent Garden removes a cornerstone of company stability.
The Dane has dragged the Royal Opera, often kicking and sometimes screaming, into a more adventurous production style and a more open relationship with public and media, not always to the satisfaction of the moneyed classes that put in the big donations.
Significantly, Kasper built a symbiotic relationship with the music director, Antonio Pappano, who had originally talked of leaving in 2013 but stayed on for the sheer stimulus of working with a sympathetic partner.
With Kasper going, Tony will feel unsettled. The pair have laid long-term plans running into the 2020s, but that could change with a new director. There are undertones of uncertainty ahead in today’s press release.
Covent Garden will have to rethink itself, never an easy task.
Here’s an obvious, top-of-the-head shortlist of possible successors:
Pierre Audi (Netherlands Opera)
John Berry (ex-ENO)
Wasfi Kani (Grange Park)
Michael Volpe (Holland Park)
Alvis Hermanis (ahem)
Ruth Mackenzie (Holland Festival)
Graham Vick (Birmingham – now, there’s a thought)