Covent Garden releases conductor to replace Barenboim in Berlin

Covent Garden releases conductor to replace Barenboim in Berlin


norman lebrecht

February 08, 2023

The Italian conductor Daniele Rustioni was scheduled to lead Verdi’s Don Carlo at the ROH in June.

But Daniel Barenboim’s retirement from opera has left the same opera uncovered in Berlin at the end of the same month.

So Covent Garden have released Rustioni from his contract (he was until recently a candidate for ROHmusic director) and replaced him with the Frenchmann Betrannd de Billy


  • Brian says:

    Unfortunately, this sort of disloyalty and disdain toward a contract is often rewarded. No doubt Covent Garden will throw a basket of contracts at him for having told them to sod off.

    • Emil says:

      Who says he’s being disloyal? Perhaps ROH negotiated something with Berlin and came to an agreement.
      De Billy is currently in Berlin, having already jumped in for a Barenboim cancellation I believe – it might just be it works better for them this way, dates-wise, or with other commitments.

  • Ernest says:

    Why can’t di Billy replace Barenboim in Berlin?

    • Tristan says:

      so true as it’s a bad exchange
      Sometimes ROH doesn’t know what they are doing

    • Save the MET says:

      Likely Berlin incentivized Rustioni with a big pay day to come. Billy is old hat.

      • Emil says:

        Bertrand de Billy is currently in Berlin, having jumped in for Barenboim in Carmen. The Staatsoper’s certainly not objecting to him personally.

        One possibility, of course, is that Rustioni is getting auditioned for MD. Another is that, logistically, it works better for both conductors and/or houses.

        • Joel Lazar says:

          And perhaps merely a matter of professional courtesy and, as you say, logistic convenience between and among them all.

  • Perspective says:

    Also probably some spite involved, not getting the Music Director job must still be hurting….

  • MMcGrath says:

    Even with Lise Davidsen participating in the ROH’s Don Carlo, losing Rustioni is a grave blow for the London production.

    Meanwhile, the Berlin show is very ho-hum indeed, even considering the ever-present Rene Pape and naked extras hanging upside-down in one of the scenes. Ho-hum.

  • Player says:

    Oh dear… the ROH has really bogged this up. They got the wrong man in Hrusa (good as he is), and now the one they looked over (or failed to land) slides away from even appearing.

    They cocked it up a while ago, too, when they thought they had got Yannick ‘The Manchild’ Nézet-Séguin… the Met swooped…

  • Pedro says:

    De Billy is one of the worst conductors around, judging from what I have heard live,