Bernard Labadie Quits Op_ra de Montr_al Post Over Cutbacks

Classic Arts News   Bernard Labadie Quits Op_ra de Montr_al Post Over Cutbacks
Bernard Labadie, the artistic director of the Op_ra de Montr_al since 2003, will step down at the end of August, the company announced.

In a statement, the company said that "the current financial constraints of the Op_ra de Montr_al and more specifically their impact on the artistic project that attracted him to the Op_ra de Montr_al were important factors leading to his decision."

Op_ra de Montr_al canceled a planned production of Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex and Symphony of Psalms this season because of a projected deficit of more than C$1.2 million. The 2006-07 season includes just four productions, instead of the usual five or six, because of the financial constraints facing the company. At a press conference announcing the season in March, Labadie said that under the company's current financial structure, "we have to sell way too many tickets to make it work."

According to the company, Labadie also wished to concentrate on his conducting career, which has included appearances at the Mostly Mozart Festival, Glimmerglass Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and other modern and period ensembles.

Labadie is still scheduled to conduct Op_ra de Montr_al's production of Don Giovanni next spring, and he will retain a link with the company, "supporting the artistic development of the Op_ra de Montr_al under specific"—but unspecified—"mandates that could be accorded to him."

A native of Quebec City, Labadie founded the modern-instrument, period-performance ensemble Les Violons du Roy and the choir La Chapelle de Qu_bec in the 1980s, and he continues to lead both groups. From 1994 until he joined Op_ra de Montr_al in 2003, he was artistic director of L'Op_ra de Qu_bec.

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