Breaking: Dutch opera chief quits

Breaking: Dutch opera chief quits


norman lebrecht

June 24, 2016

Pierre Audi will leave Dutch National Opera in 2018 to become general director of the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.

Pierre has put in 30 years in Holland, transforming it from a well-regarded Dutch hub into an international powerhouse. For much of the time he was also head of the Holland Festival.

His last big project in Amsterdam will be the Stockhausen Licht cycle.

In Aix, he can wake up and smell the croissants.


pierre audi

press release:

Dutch National Opera & Ballet
Amsterdam, 24 June 2016
Press release
After exactly thirty years as director of Dutch National Opera, Pierre Audi will step down in September 2018, two seasons from now. Today the French Ministry of Culture announced Audi’s appointment as general director of the prestigious Festival d’Aix-en-Provence as of September 2018. The annual festival in the French city of Aix-en-Provence presents operas and concerts.

Jean-François van Boxmeer, chairman of the Dutch National Opera & Ballet Supervisory Board:
“Pierre Audi is of inestimable value to Dutch National Opera, to opera as an art form, and to cultural life in the city of Amsterdam and in the Netherlands. We are extremely proud of what Pierre Audi has achieved, and we offer him our sincere congratulations on his appointment at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.”

Els van der Plas, general director of Dutch National Opera & Ballet:
“When he leaves, Pierre will have given thirty years to Dutch National Opera. As a company, organization and audience we have been fortunate to reap the artistic fruits of his leadership. The robust national and international position of Dutch National Opera is largely thanks to him. When Pierre departs in 2018, he will leave behind a sound, flourishing company.”


  • Olassus says:

    About time! Nobody should be in such a post so long or even half as long.

    Is he really doing all of Licht?

    • John Borstlap says:

      If the Dutch Opera will indeed embark upon that self-destructive, self-defeating adventure, it will be a parting shot thumb-marking the positive turn his reputation took with the recent production of a staged Gurrelieder.

      • Olassus says:

        Well, no company has yet attempted it. Licht, I mean.

        I imagine Dutch Opera will back out. If it goes ahead, someone will have to prepare a ruthlessly streamlined, practical edition to make the thing feasible over seven days in that modest Amsterdam house.

        Do we have any details as to timing, musical staffing?

      • Olassus says:

        By the way, I enjoyed Audi’s Gluck Iphigénie pairing, although it too was trimmed. I saw it in Brussels in 2009 with Rousset conducting, before it transferred to Amsterdam for filming — and was given to Minkowski, who was not as effective!

        His New York Attila will of course always live in infamy.

    • Tristan says:

      not at all ‘Licht’ – he is mediocre and just left a horrible Tristan at Chatelet – there were much more interesting on the radar – poor Aix

  • Has been says:

    With respect, and no negativity toward Pierre Audi, The Netherlands opera was hardly a Dutch Hub when he took over from the visionary Hans DeRoo. Deroo pushed thru the decision for the new opera house, brought international attention to Amsterdam thru the engagement of international cutting edge producers, Haertz, Friedrich, Kupfer etc and gave Nicholas Harnoncourt one of his first operatic international opportunities.

  • fred says:

    At last this nitwit is gone, so many years waste don his idiocies, no knowledge of the opera repertoire neither of voices yet he did it he managed to survive all those years…horrible seasons, horrible stage directors…what a relief
    Poor aix indeed

  • Michael says:

    I’m Audi…lates!

  • Scott says:

    Maybe they can hire a certain renowned Dutch conductor who has had an itch for opera for quite some time now…

  • Old School says:

    Has-Been classily recalls, with accuracy, the facts of the matter.

    Fred, more to my way of thinking, makes pungent commentary on yet another person bereft of knowledge about a large chunk of his craft.

    To combine both the information and sentiment of the two, it’s easier to “achieve success” if someone has lain the groundwork and achieved it already; standing on shoulders, etc.

    Politics, lamentably, are everywhere

  • M. Klijn says:

    A tremendous loss for Dutch National Opera. What Audi has done for the company in these 28 years is unparalleled. He himself has created unforgettable productions like the gorgeous Monteverdi trilogy, the best Ring cycle ever (ask anyone who has been there!), a riveting Lohengrin, a wondrous first staging of the Gurre-Lieder and a superb Guillaume Tell (to be seen at the Met coming season), to name just a few… And what he did as artistic director is that he made the company what it is now, a place for innovative new productions (about 7 each year), new operas (about 2 each year), with internationally renowned singers, culminating in this year’s proclamation as best opera company of the world! Thank you Pierre !!!

  • Old School says:

    Let’s remember the distinction between a stage director and the production designer who is hired to do the work of creating the reality. In cases of great, great artists, they are one in the same person (Zeffirelli, Schenk, etc). In other cases, with all due respect, once again the work of others gets mistaken for the work of someone in the forefront.