Maestro splits: Andris Nelsons’s marriage is over

Maestro splits: Andris Nelsons’s marriage is over


norman lebrecht

March 27, 2018

Statement by Andris Nelsons, music director at Boston and Leipzig, and his ex-wife, soprano Kristine Opolais:

Andris Nelsons and Kristine Opolais have divorced following seven years of marriage. Both Mr. Nelsons and Ms. Opolais are united in putting their daughter at the center of their private lives. With complete respect and admiration for one another, Mr. Nelsons and Ms. Opolais look forward to continuing their artistic relationship together. The family asks for privacy at this time and no further comments will be given.

In happier times…

UPDATE: There was forewarning of change last week when Opolais changed her agency. In a long-distance marriage, with the maestro shuttling from one orchestra to another, maintaining a stable marriage is not easy.


  • anon says:

    I guess we won’t be seeing her at BSO concerts anymore.

    • jim says:

      This news was certainly already known to all the parties involved five days ago when the BSO schedule for next season was released. That schedule has Opolais down for two weeks of concerts in February 2019. She is also on the schedule for Tanglewood this summer. So I expect we will be seeing more of her with the BSO.

  • Doug says:

    “Both Mr. Nelsons and Ms. Opolais are united in putting their daughter at the center of their private lives.”

    What utter bullshit. If that were true thry would grow up and take their parental responsibility seriously.

    • Derek says:


      You don’t know how they are as parents.
      Millions of couples divorce and so many of them are loving and responsible parents.

      Please, lets not be quick to judge.

    • LK says:

      Do you know them personally? Have you seen their parenting style firsthand to make such a statement? Or are you saying they are not responsible parents because instead of staying in an unhappy marriage that could have a toxic affect on their daughter they have decided to end their marriage but remain co parents? Are the only responsible parents married couples?

    • FS60103 says:

      I have worked with them both – including during the period when their baby daughter underwent life-threatening emergency surgery, when I saw at first hand how they felt and how they coped – and I can say without hesitation that your statement is as ignorant as it is spiteful.

      I don’t know why some commentators on this site seem to derive pleasure from gloating over other people’s unhappiness, but it depresses me more than I can say to think that you probably consider yourself a music-lover.

      • anon says:

        also which of you psychology experts thinks it’s better for the children when parents “tough it out” in a loveless marriage?

  • boringfileclerk says:

    She’s single? Please have her DM me!

  • Caravaggio says:

    Yikes. I presume his career will go on unscathed, being a good conductor and all that. But hers, with her indistinct vocalism and all that? I am not so sure.

    • Bruce says:

      Don’t worry. If her career declines, you can be satisfied with the knowledge that you were right. If her career does not decline, you can continue lamenting the lack of well-trained, important voices in the opera world, and how mediocrity is rewarded.

      • Sanity says:

        Do you really think anyone enjoys seeing a singer sung out in their 30s?

        • Bruce says:

          Don’t ask me. Ask Caravaggio.

          (Also: is that what’s happening?)

          • Sanity says:

            From recent examples of her singing, I would say yes.

            You may not like what Caravaggio says, but he speaks honestly and with a good knowledge of what has gone wrong in opera.

            ‘Ingolato’ techniques are wearing to the vocal cords. A busy singer with an ingolato technique will not last long. Their technical flaws will be masked by an accelerated move into heavier repertoire. Then the cancellations will become more frequent. The wearing of the edges of the cords leaves the singer much open to infections that cause long-term bronchitis, for example. They often sing in continual pain that they only admit to those close to them and which is often masked with a steroid such a Cortisone or with painkillers.

            We are seeing singers retire now in their 30s. At an age when they have young children who need financial support.

            It’s tragic, and it shouldn’t be happening.

  • Herr Doktor says:

    This is just another example of how the liberal permissive pornographic culture rooted in socialism, homosexual permissiveness, and a fundamental disrespect for religious values that our culture is built upon, has caused the failure of another Christian marriage.

    Oh my god—I’m involuntarily channeling Sue! HELP ME, SOMEONE!!! 🙂

    Seriously, I’m sorry to hear it didn’t work out for Andris and Kristine. Both are worthy artists, and probably fine people. Hopefully the next marriage will be better for both of them.

    • Sue says:

      Now you are really projecting. Have you considered a psychologist? I can recommend Professor Jordan Peterson, but he won’t be back at work until next year as he’s on a sabbatical. He’s trying to help millions of men who feel all at sea in the new society afforded to us by ‘progressives’. You know them; the one-step-forward/two-steps-back variety.

      • Bruce says:

        Herr Doktor: I have to say, Sue does it better. Keep practicing though!

        • Herr Doktor says:

          How’s this then:

          Why should anyone be surprised by the divorce of Andris Nelsons and Kristine Opolais? The institution of marriage has been devalued and decimated by the homosexuals and their perversions, aided and abetted by the liberals and their Marxist clique, who debase and pollute society and its Christian roots with their mere existence.

          My dear Sue, I hope I did honor to your oft-expressed sentiments.

    • Mark says:

      Is your full name Herr Doctor Alter Trombenik ?

      • Sue says:

        It’s so funny the way Professor Peterson has the left in a frenzy, eating itself. And it grows funnier by the day!! Cheers, xxx

  • James says:

    Why are the comments on this site ALWAYS such a cesspool of hatred, ignorance, and rudeness? I don’t blame the writer of the blog for the content of the comments, but I do wish they were moderated more rigorously.

    • Henning says:

      Agree…always very negative!!

    • David says:

      Schadenfreude? Spite? Envy? Infantile showing off? Meaness of spirit? The need or at least the wish to give pain? The need to be noticed and listened to and to be ha ha taken seriously? An existence at the outer reaches of creativity and artistic success? A deep lack of insight and perception? Ditto decency and humanity?

      Ah, tis all there on this highfalutin inside track. Ha ha ha ha indeed.

      • Bruce says:

        Re “schadenfreude” (joy at someone else’s misery) – I recently saw the term “freudenschade,” meaning misery about someone else’s happiness.

        Just thought I’d mention it.

    • FS60103 says:

      It has its uses. Whenever anyone claims that listening to classical music confers moral superiority, or that exposure to great art makes you a better, kinder, wiser or more tolerant person, I give a bitter laugh and forward them a link to the Slipped Disc comments section.

    • Derek says:

      Obviously, there are many reasonable contributors, but you are right.

      Nearly every topic has unnecessary hostile entries, often for no reason. Some seem to get satisfaction from belittling remarks. Certainly there is a lack of tolerance or understanding.

      Very sad!

    • Bruce says:

      I recently read a suggestion for interacting with others on social media/ the internet at large: stop and ask yourself the question “Why Am I Talking?”

      …appropriately abbreviable as “WAIT.”

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Point taken.

    • Bruce says:

      Agree, moderation would be nice. Moderation need not be for the level of idiocy in the comment, but perhaps for civility and staying on topic.

  • Henning says:

    Agree…always very negative and attacking!

  • Chris Clift says:

    I suppose with his globetrotting lifestyle, hoovering up conducting contracts on either side of the Atlantic, and hers, with singing contracts here and there, plus a couple of children to look after, there had to be stresses which apparently neither of them was able to deal with together.
    Oh well, so the world goes round.

  • Rob says:

    I think to be music director with two orchestras at the same time , Boston and Leipzig is a mistake. You choose one orchestra and make it the best you can and have a few guest appearances on the side. Some people might call it greedy.

    You reap what you sow.

    • Sue says:

      I wish the social engineers would think about that.

    • Cubs Fan says:

      That’s right! When you look back at the so-called Golden Age of conducting, those famous conductors were running ONE orchestra: Paray, Szell, Reiner, Ormandy, Monteux, Munch, Karajan, and the whole gang. Maybe there aren’t so many good ones now and that’s why orchestras have to share. Or maybe it’s greed on the behalf of conductors. I don’t know; but all this flying about the world trying to be the MD of two (and sometimes more) orchestras isn’t good for the conductor, his (or her) family, and it isn’t good for the orchestra or the community.

      • Caravaggio says:

        Exactly. Now we have Yannick Nézet-Séguin running all over the map like a chicken with its head cut off and defining or redefining nothing. Same old same old, we see.

        • Mark says:

          Chickens are at least nutritious.
          The Tiny Canadian Hotdog’s conducting is just froth & empty calories 😉

  • John Lancaster says:

    Better that they are apart but happy. I have enjoyed Andris Nelson guest conducting at the BPO for years and Kristine Opolais as Tosca in 2017 at Baden Baden. Long distance conducting is a part of 21st century life for today’s conductors, but not easy on your health or relationships. I wish them both the best.

  • marg says:

    I wish them well. Both worthy artists. Both making what they consider the best decision in the circumstances. Cant speak about conductors, but not so many high profile opera singers also have happy marriages thanks to the incessant demands of the profession.

    • Herr Doktor says:

      Andre Previn: 5 marriages
      Bernard Haitink: 4 marriages
      Charles Dutoit: 4 marriages
      Simon Rattle: 3 marriages
      Wilhelm Furtwangler: 2 marriages and more affairs than anyone can count (plus at least one out of wedlock child)
      Andris Nelsons: 2 marriages
      Gustavo Dudamel: 2 marriages

      …and that’s to say nothing of the many conductors who have 1 marriage but go from fling to fling.

      This is not to pass judgment on any of these people–I revere many of them as incredible artists–but rather to make the point that having a job that has you “away” much of the time is not likely to lead to a stable, happy home life. You could substitute “conductor” with any profession where the individuals are well-paid and mobile, and I believe the results are the same.

  • Alexander says:

    hopefully they will be able to find their happiness soon …

  • Bill says:

    O Suave Fanciulla Opolais and Kaufmann and Nelsons You Tube

  • Sharon says:

    I do not know the issues in this case but before I became a nurse I was a caseworker fior 10 years in child support enforcement. I have come to believe that one of the main elements of true love is caring about the happiness of someone else at least as much as one cares about the happiness of oneself. This consumerist society, with “put yourself first” being the theme of every brainwashing TV, ad makes that very difficult.
    The cause of many divorces in general is that one or both parties do not believe that they are felt to be important enough to the other; each feels that he/she as an individual and his/her wants and needs are being dismissed by the other party in some way.

  • Zelda Macnamara says:

    Obviously their lifestyle makes things difficult and we can only hope that they and their children manage to be happy in the future. But why did the headline only refer to HIS marriage? Isn’t HER marriage over too?

  • Jay Haskel says:

    This is the first (and last) time I have read comments on this site. Sounds like most of you need to get a life. Yuch!

  • Jenny B says:

    They are both due at the Royal Opera House in June for Lohengrin.

    Which one will pull out?

    By the way, Klaus Florian Vogt is NOT to be missed!

    • Nina says:

      Milk anyone? Such expert advice from around the world, all for free over a cup of coffee , most enlighting!

  • Mike says:

    Are we sure she’s still doing Elsa…?

  • Lukas says:

    Tonight both Andris Nelsons and Kristina Opolais have performed in a wonderful concert with Gewandhausorchester Leipzig in Frankfurt Germany. It shows that both are perfect musicians able to separate private life from professional appearance on stage!