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German transfer market: Nagano from Munich to Hamburg, for undisclosed fee

It’s being reported in the German press that Kent Nagano is the first big move of the close season. Never a comfortable fit as captain of Bavarian State Opera, he’s expected to move next year to Hamburg State Opera, as successor to playmaker Simone Young.

UPDATE: Nagano, in the evening papers, plays down the transfer talk.

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  1. Great. Just so long as he is not coming back to the UK. His period at the Halle especially was not pleasurable.

  2. Maestro Flash Montoya says:

    strange, but interesting. First of all, Hamburg is a repertoire house, so Nagano would be conducting approx. 3 premieres, 8-10 Wiederaufnahmen, and five or six symphonic concerts. I’d be surprised if he really could find enough old productions to keep him interested. He could certainly bring some interesting programming to the symphonic concerts, which haven’t been as interesting since Metzmacher left. Not that anybody in Hamburg would ever want Metzmacher back as a conductor, but his programming was much more interesting than SY. The big question is, who will take over as intendant…

    • Bavarian State Opera is also a repertoire house. KN is unlikely to do anymore pit performances in Hamburg than he did in Munich, though I’m sure he will stick to his forte (so some say) and do plenty of orchestral concerts. Frankly I don’t understand why ANY opera house would want him as GMD! Not a pit man an any way, and so unsympathetic as far as singers are concerned. Scurrulous rumour suggests that he is very reliant on prompters or assistants to cue singers in performances as he sees his main concern, when “conducting” opera, as actually to be conducting the orchestra. I don’t know if I dislike KN since I have never met him, only seen him from the stalls; but I have met many singers in the last 8 years who despair of his seeming lack of skill in the pit. Probably not a multitasker, except perhaps when it comes to the number of conductor posts he holds!

  3. Musiker says:

    According to the latest newspaper reports, quoting Nagano’s agent, he has dismissed the rumours.

    • Musiker says:

      And here is Nagano’s statement again in English, this time direct from an emailed statement from his agent:

      “For the moment my definite plans for the next several years are to follow the invitation of the OSM (Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal) — that I am very committed to — to extend my contract beyond the season 13/14 and to focus on my very rewarding work with the Bayerische Staatsoper and Staatsorchester and some individual special projects. There are no other plans at this time.”

  4. Iain Scott says:

    I understand that such was the affection he was held in at the Halle that players regularly replaced the first two letters of his name with what they deemed to be more appropriate to his style and behaviour.

  5. Soccer metaphor, right?

  6. Emil Archambault says:

    I must say I have to disagree with the comments above. Nagano has done a lot for the Montreal Symphony: he restored musical quality after Dutoit’s departure, and reoriented the orchestra into the German repertoire (Beethoven, Bruckner, Mahler, Wagner). The OSM has released several good Beethoven CDs recently (concertos with Till Fellner nearly won a Gramophone award). Nagano has offered several great concerts recently. I heard him do a marvelous Symphonie Fantastique, Dvorak’s Ninth, Das Rheingold (in concert), etc.

    He is very well appreciated by the audience, and I have heard only good things about him from the orchestra musicians. Under his leadership the OSM has built a new concert hall, refreshed its season planning (take a look at next year’s season!) and multiplied its subscriber base by a lot.

    I don’t know what happened with the Hallé Orchestra, but I consider him to be a very capable and respectable Music Director.

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