Opera visionary Gerard Mortier dies aged 70

The celebrated opera director Gerard Mortier has died aged 70, after a battle with cancer.

Renowned for his avant-garde approach, Mortier most recently initiated the operatic adaptation of Brokeback Mountain at the Teatro Real, where he had been artistic director since 2010.

Mortier also held top positions at the Salzburg Festival and the Paris Opera.

Read: Ivo Van Hove on working with Mortier for Brokeback Mountain

Following news of Mortier’s death yesterday, Teatro Real dedicated its performance of Gluck’s Alceste to his memory. The Madrid opera house is also organising a special tribute act, which will include young performers.

Colleagues and fans took to Twitter to pay tribute to the Belgian director. Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen wrote: ‘We have lost a great visionary and a brilliant, dedicated, courageous, driven and yet sensitive man. Gerard Mortier will be greatly missed.’

While American mezzo-soprano Susan Graham tweeted: ‘Mourning very sad loss of opera titan Gerard Mortier, who changed the course of our lives, setting us on paths of discovery and adventure. RIP.’