Just in: LSO loses principal to the opera house

A notice below went up backstage last night at the Royal Opera House announcing that Tim Hugh, principal cello of the London Symphony Orchestra, is joining Covent Garden.

Tim was a Valery Gergiev loyalist at the LSO. He may feel less happy under the Rattle regime or he may simply have opted for a quieter, better paid, less travelled life.

Although he does not start officially at ROH until next September, he has committed to play as many guest slots there as he can until then.

photo: LSO

UPDATE: Tim Hugh responds:

Hi. I must make absolutely clear that I have total admiration and respect for Sir Simon Rattle who I have enjoyed working with for several years. There is no one better than him to take the LSO forwards and create the right conditions for a great orchestra. I enjoy my job there and I’m looking forward to playing new operatic repertoire after 30 years of orchestral rep. I’ve hugely enjoyed playing some of the Ring cycle with Sir Anthony Pappano and been impressed by the great warmth and musicality of the ROH orchestra.

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    • I know for a fact the Tim Hugh rates Rattle extremely highly and thoroughly enjoys working with him. Rattle is not driving musicians away!

    • Mark: you may well be right about his interpretations (although such things are a matter of taste), but most of London is rather excited about the fact he has become the chief-conductor of the LSO. And he is filling the hall.

  • Is there any substantial evidence that this has to do with Rattle? Or do we just wish to see conflict where there may be none?
    I seem to remember a trombone swap lots of years ago when Crees went to Covent Garden and Bright went to the Barbican. It had nothing to do with conductors, or so I was given to understand.

  • Also, I thought after playing the symphonic repertoire for decades, it might be thrilling to do opera instead, and vice versa.

  • ROH is a better-paid gig, a lot less travel, and a chance to play a different repertoire. You get older, the travel can lose its charm. Especially when lugging a cello around.

  • Interesting, since Hugh leaves LSO where Edward Vanderspar is co-principal viola to join ROH where brother Chris Vanderspar is principal cello. I wonder where Hugh will sit in the cello section.

    • I would imagine the ROH has more than one principal in every section, as is the case with most major opera orchestras (including the MET). So he’ll sit in the principal’s chair.

    • Tim will share the joint principal position with Chris Vandespaar and split the job accordingly (the second principal job has been vacant for a few years). It is pretty common practice amongst most orchestras across the world to have two principals rotate on and off for all the different patches of work.
      Don’t try to cause controversy where there is none.

  • Hi I must make absolutely clear that I have total admiration and respect for Sir Simon Rattle who I have enjoyed working with for several years. There is no one better than him to take the LSO forwards and create the right conditions for a great orchestra. I enjoy my job there and I’m looking forward to playing new operatic repertoire after 30 years of orchestral rep. I’ve hugely enjoyed playing some of the Ring cycle with Sir Anthony Pappano and been impressed by the great warmth and musicality of the ROH orchestra.

    • Well said. And we regulars at ROH look forward to hearing you play the cello solos in Don Giovanni, Don Carlos, Die Walkure, e tutti quanti.

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