MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

“The Delicate Alchemy of Collaboration”: Peter Sellars on Gerard Mortier

Gerard Mortier in 2007

Gerard Mortier in 2007

Alex Ross has provided this translation of Peter Sellars’s tribute to the visionary director Gerard Mortier, who died on 8 March in Brussels:

Gerard Mortier was a mercurial operatic visionary who transformed the art form—not with a particular production or body of work, but with an attitude. Wherever Gerard was and whatever he was doing, you knew it would be exciting. His imprimatur guaranteed challenge, engagement, pleasure, and the kind of adventure informed and made possible by profound conviction and deep connoisseurship.

None of us who knew and worked with Gerard will ever be the same. His visionary, always practical, and constantly generous presence enlivened each conversation, each rehearsal, each project. Perhaps more amazingly, many of Gerard’s rivals, critics, and adversaries will never be the same either. They also did what they did and are doing what they are doing in response to Gerard’s vision, leadership, and permanent challenge. Gerard’s particular brilliance is to be equally vital and ultimately influential to his friends and to his enemies.

Gerard’s rare gift was his sense of the delicate alchemy of collaboration. Most of us have met some of the most important artistic partners of our lives courtesy of Gerard’s inspired insight and at Gerard’s elegant invitation. The results could be seen and heard on stage, but many of Gerard’s commitments and innovations remained backstage.

Read the whole thing at The Rest Is Noise blog

Filed under: directors, opera


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