Opera North has appointed Garry Walker as the new Music Director designate, heading up the musical leadership of the company. He is currently Chief Conductor of the Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie in Koblenz but will join Opera North in August 2020, allowing for some overlap.
Garry’s recent work for Opera North has included an impressive and powerful Billy Budd and most recently the double bill Gianni Schicchi & The Rite of Spring. He is due to open Opera North’s upcoming mainstage season in September 2019, with a new production of Martinů’s The Greek Passion.
As Principal Guest Conductor, Antony Hermus, who made his Opera North debut with Tosca in 2018, will contribute to the artistic vision of the Company. He will conduct one opera production each season as well as symphonic concerts, whilst retaining his current position as Principal Guest of the North Netherlands Orchestra. Antony is scheduled to conduct the upcoming The Marriage of Figaro. This is, of course, a classic so I’m really looking forward to seeing it.
Richard Mantle, General Director, Opera North, said: “I am delighted to welcome Garry Walker to Opera North as Music Director, following a two year recruitment process for this key artistic leadership role. He will be a great colleague and will bring clear, resilient and mindful leadership, driving and inspiring high musical standards as well as being fully alive to our ethos and aspirations, as we move forward into a new chapter in the life of the Company.
“The addition to the team of Antony Hermus as Principal Guest Conductor is also an exciting prospect and creates a new structure which builds on the established musical and artistic strengths of Opera North. His positivity and dramatic flair will be an undoubted asset to the Company and we look forward to working more closely with him over the coming seasons.”
Garry Walker, Music Director designate, Opera North said: “I’m hugely honoured to become Music Director of Opera North, and excited to maintain and advance the already enormously high artistic standards achieved. It is an organisation I have a twenty-year relationship with, and its warmth, inclusivity and genuine company ethos – something commented upon by so many visiting artists – is one of the key characteristics which has drawn me to Opera North over the years.
“Opera is the ultimate team game, with so many individuals in so many differing disciplines coming together to contribute to the overall success of performances. I look forward to putting the music and the storytelling at the centre of what we do, and I hope to bring my energy and love for the dramatic power of opera to our audiences, both on and off the podium.”
Antony Hermus, Principal Guest Conductor, comments: “From my very first encounter with Opera North I felt such enormous energy, drive and commitment for our wonderful artform. As Richard Wagner said: “Music is the language of passion”, and I look forward to sharing this common passion for music and opera with all our fantastic singers, musicians and indeed the whole Company, working together to inspire our audiences to the maximum!”
Find out more about Opera North by visiting their website.