Vienna Teams Extend

Classic Arts Features   Vienna Teams Extend
In a major endorsement of General Director Dominique Meyer's first two years as Intendant of the Vienna State Opera, Austria's Culture Minister announced that his contract has been extended until the end of August 2020.

His General Music Director, the Austrian-born Franz Welser-Möst, 51, has also been extended through the 2017-18 season. At Austria's top national theater, the Burgtheater, Mathias Hartmann will continue as his leadership "at least" through 2019.

Austrian Cultural Minister Claudia Schmied, announcing the news at a Tuesday press conference, noted that Meyer and Welser Möst had "expanded the role of the Vienna State Opera as a leading international opera house."

Only in the middle of their second season leading the fabled opera house, there was much press speculation that Meyer's guidance and Welser Möst musical direction were something that Vienna might want to keep past their original five year terms. Conductor Welser-Möst had his contract extended only until 2018 but with an option to renew this for another two seasons. He is also the popular music director of the Cleveland Orchestra, where he also has a contract through 2018.

Dominique Meyer, born in France's Alsace region, is the first French person to direct the Vienna State Opera. After an important career in arts management, he was the respected director of Paris' Théâtre des Champs-Élysées before taking the Vienna post.

Meyer observed that "Vienna has grown on me. I have an excellent music director at my side, a wonderful team and I feel a lot of support from the audience. There is no better job in my profession than to lead the Vienna State Opera." His efforts to gently expand the repertory have been noted but he has has not yet mounted the hotly debated productions often found in German houses.

Added General Music Director Welser-Möst: "I am delighted to be able to work for more years with our unique orchestra, ensemble and chorus to grow and intensify the resulting artistic relationship."

Also anticipated was the prolongation for the Bergtheater's Matthias Hartmann who succeeded Klaus Bachler with the 2009-2010 season. "My voyage through the German-speaking cultural world led me to Vienna, because I think it has the richest soil and the greatest curiosity for theater of the 21st century. Finding ideas and visions for this great theater ... takes time. We have that now."

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