Report from the 24 July 2019

Alexander Neef appointed future general director of the Paris Opera

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Alexander Neef has been appointed as future general director of the Paris Opera by the President of the Republic, acting on a proposal put forward by the Minister of Culture, Franck Riester.

The German-born Alexander Neef, aged 45, began his career as production manager of the Salzburg Festival before joining the artistic administration of the RuhrTriennale multidisciplinary festival.

At the request of Gérard Mortier, he joined the Paris Opera in 2004 as casting director and then assisted the latter in developing the programming for the New York City Opera.

He has been general director of the Canadian Opera Company since 2008 and artistic director at the Santa Fe Opera since 2018.

Alexander Neef will endeavour to increase the Paris Opera’s international standing by drawing on all of the institution’s strengths and potential. He will build an ambitious opera project that will give an important place to the French repertoire and maintain the highest artistic standards while at the same time combining it with greater democratisation, a search for new audiences and the development of artistic education. He will also originate an innovative cultural and artistic offer for the Opéra Bastille’s new modulable performance hall. Before taking over the reins of the institution in the autumn of 2021, Alexander Neef will have two years to prepare his first seasons as general director. In addition, he will participate in the organisational projects initiated by Stéphane Lissner who will leave his post in the summer of 2021.

The Opera’s board of directors was also renewed, thus allowing for the appointment of three highly qualified individuals: Patricia Barbizet, Investment fund chairperson of Temaris & Associés, Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, president of the group Engie, and Stéphane Richard, chairman and chief executive officer of Orange. Acting on a proposal of the board of directors and after consulting the Council of Ministers on July 24, 2019, Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, was appointed chairman of the board by the President of the Republic.

Jean-Pierre Clamadieu was chair of the nominating committee that interviewed the different candidates. That committee included the managing director of the Philharmonie de Paris Laurent Baye, the conductor James Colon, the Ministry of Culture’s executive director for artistic production, Sylviane Tarsot-Gillery, and the choreographer Sacha Waltz.

Franck Riester would like to acknowledge the work of Stéphane Lissner who, for the past five years has delivered a bold programme that has balanced repertoire works with new creations drawing on performers, directors and choreographers from a variety of different backgrounds. In doing so, he has raised the colours of the Paris Opera to new heights on the international level. And for that, the Minister is profoundly grateful. Furthermore, Stéphane Lissner has developed the institution’s own resources considerably and begun discussions on its organisation which will bear fruit in the years to come. Franck Riester hopes that when the time comes, Stéphane Lissner will use his immense skills to accomplish new projects.

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