French conductor to take reins at Cologne Opera

14th February 2014, Comments 0 comments

Rising-star French conductor Francois-Xavier Roth next year will take over the reins at the Cologne Opera, one of Germany's most important houses, it was announced on Friday.

Roth will take up the position on September 1, 2015 "to coincide with the re-opening of the house," which has been closed for renovation since summer 2012, city authorities said in a statement.

Roth 42, is currently chief conductor of the SWR Radio Symphony Orchestra Freiburg and Baden-Baden, which is effectively being disbanded in 2016.

He also set up and conducts the pioneering French period-instrument band Les Siecles.

"The Cologne Opera and its house orchestra, the Guerzenich-Orchester, are two institutions with a glittering past and it will be a great honour for me to build on this legacy," Roth said.

Cologne Opera is one of the most important companies in opera-rich Germany and legendary maestros such as Otto Klemperer, Guenter Wand and Wolfgang Sawallisch have all held the position of general musical director there.

But like many arts companies around Europe, the Cologne Opera is fighting swingeing budget cuts.

The contract of its current director, Markus Stenz, expires at the end of this season.


© 2014 AFP

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