They called him the singers’ friend. He did more for young artists than anyone I can name.
Conductor Zubin Mehta: My eight years with Peter Jonas at the Bavarian State Opera were the artistic culmination of my life. I can never thank him enough for that time.
Conductor Ivor Bolton: For me he was a great boss, mentor and friend. He naturally shone brightly in many people’s lives and his dominant personality was matched by his unfailing kindness and sharp sense of humour.
He was an impressive and successful manager of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra , ENO and the Bayerische Staatsoper where I knew him best . His thirteen brilliant years there live strongly in the memory.
As a manager he knew how to lead by example, diffuse many tense situations, occasionally be formidably tough,tease gently,inspire artists and their collaborators to achieve their best, and still,in a company with thousands of employees, create a strong sense of family and belonging. His vast knowledge not only of music, but also art, literature,film and politics allied to a wonderful gift of being able to express himself with elegance, fluency and precision made for stimulating conversations which I shall always treasure.
Mezzo-soprano Dame Sarah Connolly: Deeply sad news. Peter was an incredible force of nature, highly informed, honest and courageous beyond belief. A great soul.
Counter-tenor Christopher Robson: He was so ill in the last year that his death comes as no surprise, but it nevertheless is a shock and leaves a gaping hole in my life. But I rejoice in my memories of him, a man who had an enormous influence on me, who was always loyal to a fault and supportive of me when the going got rough, and who – in my humble opinion – left an unforgettable and unique mark on the world of music and music theatre. Throughout his years at Chicago Symphony, English National Opera and Bavarian State Opera he left a formidable legacy of innovative and ground breaking work, and he genuinely brought opera to “the people” in a big way.
Soprano Nadja Michael: Sir Peter Jonas
My heart is heavy . My mentor – tying me to my beloved Bayerische Staatsoper , challenging me with wonderful parts and bringing me together with my other mentor Zubin Mehta , passed away after 45 years battle against cancer . Always in high spirit and with the most dignity possible . I am so sad that I have no positive words left
Cellist and festival director Jan Vogler: Inspiring role model for all arts administrators, and artists as well.
The first British citizen to direct major German opera house, Peter was a passionate pan-European. Listen to him:
Deeply saddened by the news of Sir Peter Jonas passing. A man of great intellect & empathy. “Artists will not betray future generations. They’re the lifeblood of the European ideal.” His legacy will echo down for years to come.#LEuropaeBella! @E_N_O @bay_staatsoper pic.twitter.com/ZY0qchBCNx
— EESC President (@EESC_President) April 23, 2020