Operatic thought for Canada Day

Is it true that Alexander Neef, General Director of the Canadian Opera Company is headed back to Paris?

Today I read Michael Vincent’s news report  via Ludwig-van.com that was a natural segue from the conversation I had with my companion at the symphony, based on a report in Le Figaro.  Note that it is not confirmed yet.

“Une rumeur insistante court à tous les étages de la Bastille”

It’s hard to know, so while we’re on our Canada Day holiday weekend, why not let our imaginations run wild? Tuesday morning things will be back to normal (the global climate catastrophe, election talk on either side of the border, scandals & rumours).

I speculated last night as to whether we should be concerned that Neef is going to leave and poof she told me this morning about Michael’s scoop.

Later I googled “Neef Paris opera” and both Michael’s piece came up AND a piece from June 26 2008 in the Toronto Star from Martin Knelman announcing that

The Canadian Opera Company has named Alexander Neef, the 34-year-old casting director of the Paris Opera, as its new general director.” 

Was it really 11 years ago?  But the rumour certainly makes sense given that there’s already a relationship & connections going back more than a decade.


Alexander Neef (Photo: Gaetz Photography)

In the wake of last night’s concert I find myself asking questions that hopefully will occur to others in powerful positions.  Michael stated the likely impact, namely that Neef might leave before the end of his current contract.

When would he go?

And who follows? That’s where my headline comes into it. Will the next General Director of the COC be a Canadian?  I wonder if I’m the only one posing the question. It comes on the heels of last night’s concert, when I couldn’t help noticing that Peter Oundjian –a Canadian music director for the Toronto Symphony–is to be succeeded by Gustavo Gimeno, who is not Canadian.  There’s a time & place for nationalism, but loyalty to one’s own country doesn’t necessarily get you the most talented person.

So in other words I wonder: is there a Canadian who is up to the job?

And one may ask whether nationality matters, given that the German-born Neef has at times been a strong champion of Canadian talent, on either side of the footlights.  Earlier this week we saw Doras awarded to COC productions composed, directed, designed by and starring Canadians (Rufus Wainwright, Robert Carsen, Michael Levine and Gerald Finley).

Could a Canadian-born artistic director do any better than that?

Happy Canada Day.

(the song is dedicated to Alexander)

This entry was posted in Music and musicology, Opera, Personal ruminations & essays, Politics, Press Releases and Announcements and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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