The Metropolitan Opera has dubbed the Italian conductor Fabio Luisi, 51, its Principal Guest Conductor.
“After brilliantly conducting four different operas this past season (with "Lulu" still to come), it seemed as though he had already taken on this role, which we are now formalizing with a title,” Peter Gelb, the Met's General Manager said in a press statement yesterday. “Maestro Levine and the orchestra and chorus admire and like him, so it is a natural step.”
The maestro who Gelb is referring to is the Met's Music Conductor, James Levine, 66, who has been conducting Metropolitan Opera orchestras since 1971. Back troubles have pulled Levine out of the orchestra pit over the past few years, and Levine announced earlier this month he would have to skip the rest of the 2009-10 season due to another operation.
Luisi is currently chief conductor of the Vienna Symphony and artistic director of the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan. He'll take the baton as the Met's principal guest conductor in the opera's 2010-11 season. Luisi is only the second principal guest conductor in the Met's history. Valery Gergiev had the job before him, from 1998 to 2008.