8 October 2012
La Scala Chief Stéphane Lissner Named as Director Designate of Opéra National de Paris
Stéphane Lissner, who currently serves as sovrintendente and artistic director of Teatro alla Scala, will depart the Milanese company at the conclusion of his contract in 2015 to assume administrative control of the Opéra National de Paris, it was announced today.
Lissner will succeed the Paris Opera's current director, Nicolas Joel, whose tenure with the company began in 2009. Per his new position, Lissner will oversee operations at Paris's Palais Garnier and the Opéra Bastille.
Speaking to the Journal du Dimanche, Joel reportedly said that that budget cuts enacted under French president Francois Hollande's government would have "very bad consequences on the artistic programm[ing]" of the company, and that he did not intend to seek a renewal of his contract in 2015. A number of French news organizations have reported, though, that sources at the French Ministry of Culture claimed that Joel had sought to extend his association with the Paris Opera, and had presented a proposal for addressing the funding cuts, which was rejected by the ministry. Joel's tenure has notable for the fiscal success achieved at the Paris Opera, with occupancy rising to 94% and nearly 800,000 people members having visited the house over the past three years.
Lissner, a native of Paris, has long been an influential figure in French cultural life, having served as general manager of the Théâtre du Châtelet from 1988 through 1998 and, from 1993 through 1995, the general director of the Orchestre de Paris. From 1998 through 2006, he was the director of the Aix-en-Provence festival. Concurrent to his tenure at La Scala, Lissner has served as musical director of the Wiener Festwochen.
Lissner joined the Teatro alla Scala in 2005, following a tumultuous period that witnessed the ouster of general manager of Carlo Fontana, and the resignations of longtime music director Riccardo Muti and Mauro Meli, Fonatana's successor. Upon his appointment, Lissner became the first non-Italian to run the house in its 227-year history.