Met dedicates Parsifal to the memory of Robert Rattray

Met dedicates Parsifal to the memory of Robert Rattray


norman lebrecht

January 31, 2018

A message late last night from Peter Gelb, General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera:



We send our condolences to the family, friends, and the global artistic community who admired and loved Robert Rattray, the Met’s Assistant General Manager responsible for Artistic Administration. Robert suffered a stroke on Sunday, while enjoying a day off at home, and died earlier today. He was 67 years old.

Robert joined the Met in 2014 after an illustrious career in artists management in the UK. As Joint Chief Executive of Askonas Holt, one of the leading classical music agencies, from 1998 until his retirement from the firm in 2013, Robert was one of the top agents in the field, managing the careers of some of opera’s most illustrious talents. Amongst the legendary artists who Robert worked with are Janet Baker, Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Felicity Lott, Charles MacKerras, Thomas Ades, Simon Keenlyside, and Ian Bostridge. In collaboration with his fellow Joint Chief Executive, Martin Campbell White, Robert also was involved in the management of some of the most important conducting careers of recent times, including Simon Rattle, Daniel Barenboim, Bernard Haitink, and Yannick Nezet-Seguin.

Robert was born and raised in England, attending Eton prep school, St Edwards School, Oxford and Edinburgh University, before beginning his career as a trainee artist manager with the firm of Ibbs and Tillett in 1973. He joined the company that would become Askonas Holt in 1977.

As Assistant General Manager of the Met, Robert oversaw artistic operations. Working together with Artistic Administrator Jonathan Friend, Robert was responsible for the forward planning, scheduling, and casting of more than 200 opera performances each season, involving thousands of performing artists.

Robert had planned on retiring from the Met within the next two seasons to return to England to be with his family and to help look after his beloved parents, Noelle and Robin, who are both in their 90’s.

We will honor Robert’s memory by dedicating the opening performance of Parsifal on February 5th to his memory. We will also be planning a celebratory event in his honor for later in the season.

Peter Gelb, General Manager


Photo by Tristan Cook/Met Opera


  • Sharon says:

    Parents in their nineties outliving the death of good son! You would not wish that on your worst enemy. May they find comfort in the memories of the life he led.

  • Novagerio says:



    Shocked by the news that Robert Rattray unexpected passed away, I wanted to join the several colleagues sending condolences to his family and also to the MET. I came to know Robert in his capacity as an artists´ agent. But he was not only an agent caring about his artists. He was as well caring about us as managers of orchestras and opera houses with deep understanding, profound knowledge and respect of our interests and a fine feeling for the wishes of the audience which is different from country to country, perhaps even from city to city. Robert was a great person who will be remembered long. He is very much missed.

  • Sixtus says:

    The audio for this performance will be streamed live online from the Met’s website starting 5:55 pm EST on Monday. I’ll be sitting in the last row of the balcony section.

  • Oenone Grant says:

    I am so shocked and sad to hear this. I knew Robert at Edinburgh University and we were close friends at that time, although I lost touch with him in recent years. He was funny and we had such laughs! I remember him taking his third year in Germany and falling in love with opera. I remember him deciding to take a post-grad course in Arts Administration and joining Ibbs & Tillett and then leaving for Lies Askonel. I also remember his parents and am deeply saddened for them.