LONDON — Jakub Hrusa, a rising Czech conductor, on Tuesday was named the music director of the Royal Opera House in London, one in every of the highest-profile positions in opera.
Hrusa, 41, who has been the chief conductor of the Bamberg Symphony in Germany since 2016, will tackle the role in September 2025, replacing Antonio Pappano, who announced last yr that he was leaving to change into the chief conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra after a successful 20-year tenure on the opera house.
There has long been speculation in London’s opera world over who would replace Pappano. Neil Fisher, a critic for the Times of London, rounded up a dozen contenders last yr, including Edward Gardner, a former music director at English National Opera, and Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla, who, until recently, led the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Hrusa was not on the list. However the Czech, who can be the principal guest conductor of the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, where Pappano is the principal conductor, has long received praise.
When Hrusa made his Recent York Philharmonic debut, in 2017, the critic Anthony Tommasini, in The Recent York Times, wrote: “Together with his sweeping arm gestures and choreographic swiveling, Mr. Hrusa is a really animated conductor.” He added, “His approach worked, judging by the plush, enveloping sounds and impressive execution he drew from the Philharmonic players in an auspicious debut.”
In a highlight at this yr’s Salzburg Festival, Hrusa led a breathless rendition of Janacek’s “Kat’a Kabanova,” directed by Barrie Kosky.
Critics have also praised Hrusa’s two performances on the Royal Opera House: a 2018 production of Bizet’s “Carmen,” also directed by Kosky, and a run of Wagner’s “Lohengrin” this spring. In The Times of London, Fisher wrote that Hrusa’s conducting of “Lohengrin” “cannily distills the eeriest sonorities of the rating, highlighting its bleak beauty.”
Hrusa is just not the primary relatively lesser known choice to change into the opera house’s music director. When Pappano took the job, in 2002, he got here from La Monnaie in Brussels and had little fame in London on the time.
In a news release, Hrusa, who grew up in Brno, the Czech city where Janacek lived, said he was thrilled to simply accept the position. “I actually have at all times dreamt a few long-term relationship with a house where one can reach the very best standards in opera, and I spotted in a short time that I adored the entire team of artists and staff at Covent Garden,” he said.
Oliver Mears, the director of the Royal Opera, said in the discharge that everybody at the home had “been hugely impressed by not only his superlative music and theater-making but in addition by the generosity and heat of his personality.”
On Tuesday, the Royal Opera House detailed a few of Hrusa’s early engagements in the brand new role. Within the 2027-28 season, he’ll conduct Wagner’s four-part “Der Ring des Nibelungen,” with Kosky directing.
Pappano described the all-encompassing role of music director last yr in an interview with The Recent York Times: “With all of the competition that there’s for people’s attention, for fund-raising, even for survival for classical music institutions,” he said, “the job has change into far more than simply conducting.”
A looming challenge for the Royal Opera could possibly be a cut in its budget. The British government is slashing the quantity of funding it gives to cultural institutions in London by a complete 15 percent, in order that it might give extra money to arts organization in poorer regions. Last yr, the federal government gave the Royal Opera House £35.8 million, or about $40 million, such as 43 percent of the home’s total income, including for the Royal Ballet. An announcement on future funding is anticipated this month.