General Director Alexander Neef acknowledges that the decision was made quickly but in his four months behind the wheel he hasn’t come across as a man afraid to pull the trigger. He said, “I didn’t expect today to announce my music director – I expected it to be a process that lasted at least two or three more years,” Neef said. “I just felt, why should we put Johannes on the short list for the next two or three years, continue inviting other people, (then) after three years decide he’s the man and he’s (had another offer)?
Both leaders of the COC are now 34 years old with bags of experience in European houses. In several press conferences, Neef has shown a refusal to buy into the CanCon hubris that says the COC is a world class house and is instead putting plans in motion to make it so. It’s exactly the course of action needed.
Debus’ first engagement of the 2009-10 season will be a 60th anniversary gala featuring Ben Heppner. The rest of season includes Madame Butterfly; The Nightingale and Other Short Fables (Stravinsky dir. Robert Lepage); Carmen, Otello, The Flying Dutchman, Maria Stuarda [Donizetti] and Indomeneo.
Details regarding who is singing what in all of these shows can be found here.