Changes at the Opéra-Comique and Lyon’s Orchestra.

facade-ocBest Laid Plans Department: for the Opéra-Comique, closed for two years, the post-restoration opening remains a story to be continued. Nine performances of Offenbach’s Fantasio in February, with a starry cast, was originally the celebratory opening event of the newly refurbished hall, the iconic Salle Favart. Delays in the promised completion date pushed the Offenbach over to the Châtelet Theater, which had the dates free just before they are undergoing the restoration knife for more than two years.

When the 2017 season was announced (unusual in the business, a calendar year). the world premier of an opera for young people, La Princesse légère by Violeta Cruz, was to be the new opening night at Favart. A co-production with ICRAM and the operas in Lille and Compiegne, eight performances were scheduled from 16 to 22 March. Last week, when it was clear that work on Favart would not be finished, this premiere was pushed off to sometime in the next year. At present, Alcione by Marin Marais will open the season on the 26th of April with maestro Jordi Savall and the chorus and orchestra Le Concert des Nations and staged by Louise Moaty and Raphaëlle Boitel.

Several lectures, recitals, and cinema nights scheduled before April had to also be cancelled. There is no evidence that we are talking about years of delay as with Berlin or Cologne, but fingers are crossed that the new schedule will be definitive.

Women Power Department: the appointment of Ruth Mackenzie to head the Châtelet Theater when it returns from its facelift in September of 2019 was a rare example of a woman given a major management job in the arts in France. The MA story is here:

Mackenzie, a noted feminist, has now been joined by another. On December 30, Aline Sam-Giao was announced as the new general manager of the Orchestre national de Lyon, currently with the popular Leonard Slatkin as music director. With that job is another responsibility, the managing of the Auditorium Maurice Ravel which the orchestra calls home. It is a 2120 seat auditorium from 1975 and the principal classical venue in Lyon, France’s second largest city. On days when the orchestra is not playing it is the venue for major recitals, chamber music, jazz, etc.

Slatkin, who is leaving his post in September, has certainly revitalized the orchestra and will have the new title Directeur musical honoraire. With that title, he will continue appearing with six weeks in the 2017-18 season and four weeks in the following season. Sam-Giao and the board of directors of the orchestra are certainly searching for his replacement.

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