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Oliver Mears to join Royal Opera House as Director of Opera

The Director joins the Company in March 2017, succeeding Kasper Holten.

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

12 September 2016 at 10.32am | 13 Comments

Oliver Mears will join the Royal Opera House as Director of Opera at the beginning of March 2017, succeeding Kasper Holten.

As Artistic Director of Northern Ireland Opera, Mears has built new audiences for opera and championed the work of Northern Irish and Irish composers, as well as setting up Northern Ireland’s first dedicated Young Artists Programme.

As a director he has staged highly-acclaimed productions including Tosca – which won the Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Opera in 2012 - L’elisir d’amoreDer fliegende Holländer – nominated for Achievement in Opera Award, Theatre Awards UK 2013 – Macbeth (with Welsh National Opera), Salome, Agrippina, Hansel and Greteland The Turn of the Screw (also performed at Novaya Opera, Moscow). His production of Noye’s Fludde featured as part of the London Cultural Olympiad before travelling to Beijing and Shanghai.

Mears has also directed productions for the Young Vic, Aldeburgh Music, Opera North, Nederlandse Reisopera Holland, Pimlico Opera, Nevill Holt Opera, Scottish Opera, and Bergen National Opera, as well as site-specific productions as Artistic Director of Second Movement.

Announcing the appointment, Alex Beard, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House said: ‘I am delighted that Oliver Mears is to join the Royal Opera House. He has successfully established Northern Ireland Opera as an important part of the UK opera scene as its founding Artistic Director, conceiving and delivering a range of innovative and impressive projects on and beyond the stage.  It’s a very exciting appointment.’

These sentiments were echoed by Antonio Pappano, Music Director of The Royal Opera:  ‘I have been very impressed by Oliver Mears all through the selection process. He is fiercely intelligent, very knowledgeable about what is going on in the world of the performing arts, in particular theatre and opera, and he has genuine passion for our art form. I look forward to a very productive collaboration with him and wish him all success.’

Oliver Mears said: ‘I have had a wonderful time at Northern Ireland Opera over the last six years and am proud of the Company’s growth and artistic excellence. I’m thrilled to be joining The Royal Opera to work alongside Antonio Pappano, Peter Katona, Cormac Simms, John Fulljames and the team - we have already had some inspiring conversations and I look forward to the future working together.’

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

12 September 2016 at 10.32am

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged Antonio Pappano, Director of Opera, Kasper Holten, Northern Ireland Opera, Oliver Mears, ROH

This article has 13 comments

  1. Rabbie responded on 12 September 2016 at 10:53am Reply

    Clever to make the announcement on the day that rather iffy reviews of his WNO Macbeth appear.

    • Why try and sully this announcement Rabbie? Absolutely no need for that at all.

      Huge Congratulations to Oli Mears, A fantastic talent! What an exciting time!

  2. Arline Jaftha responded on 12 September 2016 at 11:30am Reply

    "Genuine passion" is what struck me the most, quoted by Antonio Pappano. It takes a wise man to recognize such. South African opera companies are in need of genuine passionate leaders. This particular appointment is quite inspirational.

  3. georgeF responded on 12 September 2016 at 12:15pm Reply

    Will regietheater finally take over the ROH?

  4. Alexander Jacoby responded on 12 September 2016 at 12:24pm Reply

    I can't vouch for the Macbeth (I'll see it in Oxford in October), but earlier this year, on the basis of its superb reviews first time round, I went over to Derry / Londonderry to see the revival of Mears' Turn of the Screw. It was an absolutely immaculate staging. I spoke to Mears after the show and he was both approachable and enthusiastic. I think this is an appointment we can have high hopes for.

  5. Kathy King responded on 12 September 2016 at 12:46pm Reply

    Saw the WNO Macbeth on Saturday. Disappointed by the 'Balkan conflicts" theme (a bit overused these days) although the concept worked particularly well during "Patria oppressa". Should think he will create some interesting work for ROH though; looking forward to his involvement.

  6. Absolutely thrilled to learn of Oliver Mears´s appointment to the Royal Opera. His Don Giovanni for Bergen National Opera was a sensation, and we so much look forward to working with him in the future.
    Bravo Ollie!

  7. Am I the only one who thinks the ROH appears to be confusing the role of Director of Opera with the role of an Opera Director?

    • Chiaki Ohashi responded on 14 September 2016 at 3:24am

      No you're not. However it is too early to be pessimistic. The new director of opera will be well aware that London is not Belfast. Whatever his aspirations are reality will find a way of intruding soon enough.

  8. John Travis responded on 12 September 2016 at 7:44pm Reply

    Good luck to Ollie Mears , let us hope Board Members that you have made a better choice this time. After the previous incumbent , it can only go one way , surely ?

  9. Pim den Hartog responded on 12 September 2016 at 8:57pm Reply

    A new Director of Opera! Perhaps this one will - at last - put a baroque opera on the program again at Covent Garden......

  10. Stephen responded on 13 September 2016 at 3:40pm Reply

    This is a joke, surely?

  11. Surprising to say the least. Let's hope he has learned from his mistakes. Good luck Tony.

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