As announced yesterday by the Bavarian State Opera, Kirill Petrenko has been named the successor to Kent Nagano as General Music Director in Munich. This doesn't come as a surprise (read my article on Nagano's departure and Petrenko's likely succession at WETA); ever since Petrenko's conducting of Jenufa in April of 2009 (and again at the Festival--review here), he was said to be the man of choice for Intendant Nikolaus Bachler (Interview Part 1, Part 2, Short Version)... and rightly so. I'm glad to hear, that Petrenko has now been convinced into taking a permanent post. Here's to hoping that he will have many successful years at the Munich Opera and here's to thanking Kent Nagano for seven years (a decent length term, these days) that were not necessarily particularly passionate, but during which he brought essential new repertoire to the house, (hopefully) educated the audience to the masterpieces they had hitherto been blithely ignoring, and whose style of conducting breathed fresh air into scores that well deserved it. Three examples from last year alone: his "Schweigsame Frau" made more sense out of the music than any conductor on record has ever come close to, his "Les Dialogues" was riveting, his "Wozzeck" spectacular. that Munich never really warmed up to him no surprise, but turned out to be no hindrance. That the way he left came close to being a disgrace (courtesy a local scribe by the name of Brembeck), alas, was most unfortunate.
The official announcement follows:
"Arts Minister Wolfgang Heubisch and Nikolaus Bachler, the General Director of the Bavarian State Opera presented the new General Music Director of the opera company. Kirill Petrenko will succeed Kent Nagano in this position on September 1, 2013, for an initial period of five years.
Born in 1972 in the Russian city of Omsk, Petrenko served from 1999 to 2002 as Germany’s youngest general music director in Meiningen, and after that spent five years as General Music Director at the Komische Oper in Berlin. Since July of 2007, Petrenko has been working as a free-lance conductor, leading performances, among other places, at New York's Metropolitan Opera, London's Royal Opera House Covent Garden and the Theater an der Wien in Vienna. At the Bavarian State Opera, Petrenko most recently joined forces with director Barbara Frey for the new production of Janáček’s Jenůfa (2008/2009 season).
Minister Heubisch described Kirill Petrenko as “one of the most eagerly sought-after conductors world-wide. Petrenko brings with him all the prerequisites. He is a creative and highly precise maestro with a wide ranging repertoire and international experience.” Opera General Director Bachler is convinced that with Petrenko he has found the ideal person for the top musical post in the house. “The appointment of Kirill Petrenko sets a sign towards the future. With his creativity and personality he will provide new impulses.”