Gerard Mortier

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Gerard Mortier

Gerard Alfons August Mortier (since 2007 Baron Mortier) (25 November 1943 – 8 March 2014) was a Belgian opera director and administrator of Flemish origin, born in Ghent.


Mortier studied law and journalism at Ghent University. He then pursued apprenticeships in opera administration under Christoph von Dohnányi in Frankfurt and Rolf Liebermann in Paris.[1] He served as the general director of La Monnaie (De Munt), Brussels (1981–91) and the Salzburg Festival (1990–2001). He was a founding director of the Ruhr Triennale arts festival in Germany, and then he became general director of the Opéra National de Paris in 2004.[2] He relinquished this post in 2009.

In February 2007, the New York City Opera (NYCO) named him their next general director, effective as of the 2009/2010 season.[3] Mortier assisted with company operations from Paris during the interim period after his appointment was announced. Problems with fund-raising and a smaller-than-expected budget began to develop during the interim period after Mortier's appointment. At one point, there was controversy during this time over speculation that Mortier was campaigning for a position as co-artistic director of the Bayreuth Festival. Also in 2007, King Albert II conferred the title of Baron in the nobility of Belgium on him.

In November 2008, by mutual agreement, Mortier and the NYCO agreed to terminate their contract, and that he would not become NYCO's general director.[4] Later that month, Mortier accepted the position of Artistic Director of the Teatro Real.[5]

In September 2013, he announced he was battling cancer and urged the Spanish government not to appoint a Spaniard as his successor.[why?][6] The following week he was fired,[7] to be replaced by Joan Matabosch, of the Liceu in Barcelona. On 26 September 2013, Mortier was named Artistic Advisor of the Teatro Real[8]

In April 2014, he was awarded the "Lifetime Achievement Award" in the International Opera Awards 2014.[9]

Personal life[edit]

After the early death of his mother Mortier was sent to a Jesuit boarding school.[10]

Outed in the Flemish press in the 1980s, Mortier preferred to keep a low profile on his homosexuality.[10]


Mortier died of pancreatic cancer in Brussels on 8 March 2014, aged 70.[11]

Academic career and awards[edit]


  1. ^ Fred Cohn (9 March 2014). "Gerard Mortier, 70, Intendant Who Courted Innovation and Controversy in the Opera House, Has Died". Opera News. 
  2. ^ John Rockwell (15 May 2003). "Tempting Audiences To German Rust Belt; Ruhr Triennale Flouts Tradition". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 November 2008. 
  3. ^ Daniel J. Wakin (28 February 2007). "City Opera Lures Director From Paris". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 November 2008. 
  4. ^ Daniel J. Wakin (7 November 2008). "Bold Impresario and City Opera Part Ways". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 November 2008. 
  5. ^ "El Teatro Real ficha a Gérard Mortier". El País. 26 November 2008. Retrieved 29 November 2008. 
  6. ^ Cancer-ridden Mortier announces his successor,; accessed 9 March 2014.
  7. ^ Mortier fired,; accessed 9 March 2014.
  8. ^ Gerard Mortier, Artistic Advisor for Teatro Real,; accessed 13 March 2014.
  9. ^ "Opera Awards 2014". The International Opera Awards. Retrieved 2014-04-11. 
  10. ^ a b Lucas Vanclooster. "Requiem voor een operarebel" at (09 March 2014)
  11. ^ New York Times obituary, 10 March 2014.

External Links[edit]