Gerard Mortier (1943-2014)
With much sadness we have learnt of the death of Gerard Mortier. All of us here at La Monnaie would like to express our heartfelt sympathy at the loss of this charismatic and energetic figure, and a number of us can feel blessed to have been able to work alongside him for a lengthy period of time.
Gerard Mortier’s passing signifies a loss beyond all words for the opera world and most especially for La Monnaie. If La Monnaie today takes a leading position in the European opera landscape it is largely down to this man. For ten long years, not only did he put his stamp in no uncertain manner on the organisation and the artistic policy of this opera house, but his visionary ideas on opera also continued later on to be a source of inspiration for his successors.
With the passing of Gerard Mortier La Monnaie has lost a great former director and an irreplaceable reference and friend, whose artistic legacy has been kept alive since his departure, and whose vision will guide us all long after his death. His outspoken artistic-intellectual and independent spirit always made well-defined choices which were time and again clear and often controversial. Naturally, this didn’t always make him only friends, but it cannot be denied that he played a vital role in determining the appearance of the cultural world in our country and further afield for many years to come.
« Dear Gerard, I would like to say a few words on a more personal note. No stranger to this either, you showed your respect for a project, a decision, a choice in your own special way, and neither did you shrink from speaking your mind whenever you saw things from a different point of view. I have always kept your beautifully-written cards as souvenirs that mean so much to me. There is no other way than with respect to look back on your many accomplishments. Most of them can truthfully be termed historic, and even though, as with us all, not every project was a great success, the quality and vision has inalienably you written all over it. One of exactingness, excellence, perseverance, innovation – just as with Mahler, 'Tradition' for you was always 'Schlamperei'.
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