Photo: Teatro Real Madrid
Gerard Mortier, the avant-garde artistic director of Madrid's Teatro Real opera house until September last year, has died after battling cancer. Mortier was that company’s artistic director from 2009 until last year, when his title was changed to artistic adviser in a tussle with the Spanish government over his successor, after he announced in September that he was being treated for cancer. He was 70. Mortier won accolades for productions at Teatro Real of Mozart's Cosi fan Tutte directed by the Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke and Philip Glass's A Perfect American. Mortier was director of Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, which he led from 1981 to 1991, General director of the Paris opera from 2004 and 2009, and headed the prestigious Salzburg festival from 1991 to 2001. Mortier was due to become director of the New York City Opera (NYCO) in 2008 but resigned before he took up the post over budgetary constraints.The Flemish baker's son, who was born in Ghent on 25 November 1943, had gained fame as general director of Belgium's Rola Theatre of the Mint for a decade from 1981.