Maestro quits Houston ‘due to personal circumstances’

Maestro quits Houston ‘due to personal circumstances’


norman lebrecht

January 19, 2020

The official obfuscations are becoming more and more obscure.

Here’s why Houston Grand Opera must replace its conductor this week:

HOUSTON – January 17, 2020 – Houston Grand Opera (HGO) announces that conductor Christophe Rousset withdrew today from the HGO premiere of La favorite due to personal circumstances. HGO Artistic and Music Director Patrick Summers will conduct all five performances. The production runs from Jan. 24 – Feb. 9, 2020 at the Wortham Theater Center.

Patrick Summers was named artistic and music director of HGO in 2011 after having served as the company’s music director since 1998. 

That must be all we need to know.

Rousset, 58, is the founder of Les Talens Lyriques. He has conducted at La Scala, San Carlo and Covent Garden.


  • Cynical Bystander says:

    If his reasons are ‘personal’ or even if they are not what possible interest is it but his and HGO’s?

    ‘ No smoke without fire’ innuendo is becoming the norm nowadays. Time to stop the curtain twitching and pearl clutching.

    • V. Lind says:

      Right. This gentleman is stepping out for a spell, not being let go. Clearly there are private circumstances, known to the employer, that none of them deem to be any of our business.

    • Brian says:

      One could argue that if you’ve plunked down good money for tickets, you’ve paid to see a particular lineup of musicians. A little more transparency may be due out of respect for paying customers.

      • jm960 says:

        hmmmm……We regret to inform you that so and so won’t be conducting because his mother passed away …..or because he has a case of shingles. Is it really your right to know?

      • Saxon Broken says:

        Brian writes: “you’ve paid to see a particular line-up of musicians”

        You paid to see the HGO give the opera. Legally, they have made no promise about the conductor or singers.

  • Pierre says:

    I’ve heard rumors (feel free to disregard them) that he is particularly sick. I do hope all is well for him, he is a very talented musician, and I do hope to play under his baton again. Bonne chance Christophe.

  • Allen says:

    Correction: not 48, Christophe Rousset is 58

  • CelloFellow says:

    “That must be all we need to know.”

    Ummm, yes – that is indeed all we need to know. The whole idea of stating ‘personal’ reasons is that the reasons are personal and not for general consumption.

    The fact the conductor is having to withdraw from a premier is news… but that doesn’t mean that the reasons behind why are. Is there a reason you feel you are owed an explanation beyond what was given?

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    I’ve been an admirer of Les Talens Lyriques and Rousset for quite some time. I wish him well.

  • david hilton says:

    Another totally misleading lead ‘above the fold’, a/k/a clickbait, when you misleadingly claim that “Houston Grand Opera must replace its conductor this week.” To anyone who knows anything about Houston Grand Opera, or opera generally, that sentence can only mean one thing: that Patrick Summers is ill or otherwise indisposed.

    The correct article is “a”, not “its”. As in “Houston Grand Opera must replace a conductor this week.”

    • fflambeau says:

      Sorry but “its” is not an article it is a possessive. The articles are “a”, “and” plus “the”.

      In this case it is completely proper to say “Houston Grand Opera must replace its conductor this week” because it means the conductor is their conductor. Whose conductor is it? Its Houston’s.

      • jm960 says:

        Don’t mean to quibble, but wouldn’t it then be”Whose conductor is it? It’s Houston’s.” In this case (it’s) is a contraction rather than a possessive determiner…..I may be wrong.

  • Sanford Press says:


  • JayJay Page says:

    To all those who are being critical of this …. How many times in your life have you had to make difficult decisions for “personal reasons?” Did YOU broadcast those reasons to everyone? It’s personal, get it? Mr. Rousset and / or the HGO is under no obligation to reveal anything. Not even to paying customers. If someone REALLY wants a refund for the ticket they bought then they should just go ahead and ask for a refund. I’m sure HGO will oblige.

  • Jay Haskel says:

    The announcement was all that was necessary. JayJay Page has said it very nicely. Anything else is not the business of opera goers or this blog.