Change in Direction for WNO
Washington National Opera (WNO) saw change last week, in response to General Director Placido Domingo’s September 27 announcement that he would not be renewing his contract when it expires in June. As a result, Tuesday saw the appointment of Philippe Auguin to the position of music director of the Washington National Opera and the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra.
Domingo has served as General Director since 2003 and brought the Washington National Opera to a new level by bringing on national stars and doing big productions. However, the company still struggles financially, and the absences of Domingo, while performing and directing at the Los Angeles Opera, did not help.
Domingo will complete his commitments with the Washington National Opera through June 2011, which included the timely appointment of new Musical Director Philippe Auguin. This came after Heinz Fricke retired a month ago and announced he would be unable to oversee the latest production of Strauss’ opera, “Salome,” due to health problems.
Auguin will make his first appearance as music director October 7, the opening night of “Salome.” He made his debut at Washington National Opera conducting “Gotterdammerung,” in November 2009.
“From the moment I stepped onto the podium, I felt a special rapport with the talented musicians of the Orchestra,” stated Auguin. “Considering the outstanding success of our collaboration last fall, and the exceptionally warm reception we received from Washington audiences, I am convinced that the Orchestra and I have a great future together, one that will be marked by artistic excellence and growth. I am honored and delighted to accept this directorship, my first in the United States.”