The Met mourns its artistic chief

The Met mourns its artistic chief


norman lebrecht

January 30, 2018

Robert Rattray, the Metropolitan Opera’s Assistant General Manager, Artistic, and the man in charge of casting and talent, died this afternoon in hospital in New York after suffering a stroke on Sunday.

He was 67.

He is survived by his parents.

pictured (rear) with Martin Campbell-White

Yannick Nézet-Séguin writes:

I am heartbroken.
My friend Robert Rattray, the MET’s Assistant General Manager and former Chief Executive at Askonas Holt, passed away this afternoon. He suffered a stroke on Sunday. Two days before, we had drinks here in New York, and we talked about music, life, singers, the MET, family, cats…Robert has been so important in my life, from my beginnings in Europe with Askonas Holt in 2004, and later here in New York. His support has been invaluable, and his genuine love of opera and singers truly inspiring.
The entire MET family is in a state of shock. We will all miss his kindness, humor, class, his incredible knowledge and above all his immense humanity.
Merci pour tout mon cher Robert. Au revoir.

Singers have responded with shock and dismay.

Tara Erraught writes:

Dearest Robert, your big smile, your positivity, bright eyes and above all, your massive heart, will be missed. You were a Giant of our industry and a true gentleman. & are heavy hearted tonight along with every singer you ever met!

Ian Bostridge:

Über allen Gipfeln ist Ruh. In alle Wipfeln spürest du Kaum einen Hauch RIP Robert Rattray, Germanist, witty impressario, supremely imaginative artists’ agent, lover of great art in all its forms, dear friend

Matthew Rose:

So sad that one of the best and most caring people in my life passed away this evening. First as a manager and then as a caring boss at the he was first and foremost a friend who cared about my well being and happiness as much as what roles to sing. Thank you Robert.

Stephen Costello:

The loss of Robert Rattray has come as such a shock. Sending thoughts and prayers to everyone as we morn the loss of such a great man. His spirit will live in the hearts of all that knew him. A very sad day for the music community.

Alice Coote:

Robert cared always most about the human in front of him and saw the truth and did his best for all of us. Eternal love.

Joseph Calleja:

Can’t believe that passed away. His always positive attitude and honest, kind feedback will be missed.

Sarah Connolly: Darling Robert Rattray. An appalling loss and you should be here with us now. I owe you so much but I know you’d just shrug, grin and say, “ My pleasure”.

UPDATE: Met dedicates Parsifal in Robert’s memory


  • Bruce says:

    How awful. How sad.

  • Nick2 says:

    How desperately sad! A lovely, warm, caring human being totally in love with his job and his artists. The entire profession will miss him! RIP dear Robert.

  • Antony Walker says:

    Robert Rattray was a highly cultured man of great intelligence, gentle humor and humility, and was was an extremely astute judge of voices and operatic talent. He was a wonderfully supportive and generous human being, who nurtured singers as an artist manager of distinction and of great experience, as well as a hugely valued and respected recent member of the Met artistic team. He will be missed by his legion of adoring colleagues and friends. The opera world was truly fortunate to have him for as long as it did, but will mourn his loss immensely. I truly appreciated his support when conducting at the Met these past couple of years, and am desperately sad that he has been taken from this world so soon.

  • Hanno Müller-Brachmann says:

    I miss you! Thank you so much for everything!

  • Toni J. Krein says:

    I am in shock and deeply saddened. Robert and I worked a lot together in my times as Artistic Administrator at Alte Oper Frankfurt and in Lucerne. It is been a privilege and honor to have worked with Robert. He was a wonderful bright man! May he rest in peace.

  • Joel Revzen says:

    I had the immense privilege of getting to know Robert Rattray shortly after he came to the Met and we spent a wonderful evening sharing our mutual admiration of Dame Janet Baker and the repertoire we had come to love through her artistry. I fully agree with others who have talked about Robert’s humanity. It defined him as a human being. That, along with kindness, generosity of spirit, immense knowlege of repertoire and quick wit are all qualities that defined this true gentle man.

  • Ruth Wyganowski says:

    April 4, 2018 at 11.55 am
    I have only just heard this news and am deeply saddened and shocked. I worked for Robert for several years when he was a Director at Lies Askonas in Drury Lane. He was a man of great humour, kindness and very respected in the music industry. All our artists loved and respected him. He was one of the most generous people I ever met – thank you for the wonderful memories.
    Rest in Peace dear Roberto.