New York’s Metropolitan Opera has announced the appointment of Met regular Fabio Luisi to the role of principal guest conductor.
Only the second person in the company’s history to hold this post – following Valery Gergiev, who occupied it between 1998 and 2008 – Luisi’s appointment comes in the wake of a season blighted by the health problems of music director James Levine, and creates what Levine himself described as a ‘much more secure feeling for everybody.’
The Met’s general manager Peter Gelb described the appointment as a ‘natural step’ given Luisi’s longstanding relationship with the company. ‘After brilliantly conducting four different operas this past season, it seemed as though he had already taken on this role,’ says Gelb. ‘We are now formalising it with a title.’
Levine himself has also been enthusiastic about Luisi: ‘He seems to me just perfect for this,’ he says. ‘Perfect in the sense that he’s got tremendous energy and musicality and a wide repertoire.’
Currently the chief conductor of the Vienna Symphony and director of Japan’s Pacific Music Festival, Luisi was also until recently the director of the Saxon State Opera – a post he quit in February after a management dispute, leaving him free to take a more active role at the Met.