Kasper Holten to leave Royal Opera House

Kasper Holten has announced he is stepping down as director of opera at Royal Opera House (ROH). By the time Holten departs in March 2017 he will have held the position for six years. The search for Holten’s successor begins in the new year.

Holten has said his decision is based on family commitments, as he wants his children to grow up near his relatives in Copenhagen. ‘When I moved to London, my partner and I didn’t have children,’ said the Danish opera director. ‘Now we do, and after much soul searching we have decided that we want to be closer to our families.’

He was recently offered a five-year contract extension, but instead has chosen to add just seven additional months to his term.

‘While I had very much hoped to work with him through to 2020 and beyond, I understand and respect his reasons for moving back to Copenhagen,’ said ROH chief executive Alex Beard. ‘Although sad that Kasper will be leaving, I am pleased that he has agreed to extend his contract until his new Meistersinger opens here in 2017.’

Holten has directed several successful shows for ROH including Eugene Onegin, Don Giovanni, L’Ormindo and most recently Król Roger. However, his programmes have also been criticised by commentators like The Telegraph’s Rupert Christiansen. His last ROH production will be Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in early 2017.

ROH’s 2015-16 season includes productions of Lucia di Lammermoor, Tannhäuser, The Firework-Maker’s Daughter and Eugene Onegin, the last of which Holten will direct.