Just in: Covent Garden names a Brit as opera chief

Just in: Covent Garden names a Brit as opera chief


norman lebrecht

September 12, 2016

press release:

The Royal Opera House announced today that Oliver Mears will join the Royal Opera House at the beginning of March 2017 to succeed Kasper Holten as Director of Opera, who leaves on 11 March 2017. 


Mears has been artistic director of Northern Ireland Opera since its foundation in 2010.

He has also directed at other British companies but his international experience is limited to brief stints at Dutch Touring Opera and Bergen, in Norway.

He is practically unknown on the world stage.

Mears has withheld all personal details, including his age, from the official announcement and his agency c.v.

Tell us what else you know about him…


COMMENT: Inexperience rules at London’s opera houses.


  • James Taylor says:

    A quick Google search on Mears brings up this page on his agent’s website:

  • Kelly-Ann Preston says:

    Agree with everything in the press release: he is fiercely intelligent, has a brilliant imagination and has some excellent ideas on how to bring opera to new audiences. This is a fantastic appointment for ROH. Excited to see where he takes them.

  • Operalover87 says:

    born in c. 1979

  • pooroperaman says:

    So who turned them down first, I wonder?

  • Nigel says:

    This could be an exciting appointment. Among other things, Oliver Mears directed the recent Rigoletto at Nevill Holt Opera, which was outstanding.

  • Mary Miller says:

    He did a sensational Don Giovanni for us at Bergen National Opera, which he´ll now present in Northern Ireland. I´m with Pappano : Oliver is super-bright, a real ideas person, highly organised and – hurrah – has a killer sense of humour.