Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Northern Ireland Opera announces new artistic director

10:45, 7th December 2016

Northern Ireland Opera has appointed Walter Sutcliffe as its new artistic director. He will take up the position in February 2017.

Current artistic director Oliver Mears will oversee his final production, the Irish premiere of Thomas Adès’ Powder Her Face at the Lyric Theatre in January, before departing to become director of opera at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Formerly staff director at Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Düsseldorf, Sutcliffe is a regular guest at the Oper Frankfurt, and has directed productions for Teatro Regio di Torino, Semperoper Dresden, Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse, Theater Magdeburg, Theater Chemnitz, Di Capo Opera, New York (where he directed the American stage premiere of Leoš Janáček’s first opera, Sarka), Klangbogen Festival, Vienna (where he directed the Austrian premiere of Michael Tippett’s The Knot Garden), and the Royal Academy of Music, London, among others. Debuts at Teatro Municipal de Santiago, Chile and Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires are also planned.

Roy Bailie, chair of the Northern Ireland Opera Board, described Sutcliffe as ‘an outstanding candidate who brings a wealth of international directing experience, as well as a keen insight into what it takes to lead a successful opera company’.

He continued: ‘We believe he is the perfect person to lead Northern Ireland Opera on the next stage of its journey, continuing the wonderful work that the company has achieved so far under Oliver Mears and his team.’


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