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Kent Nagano reportedly stepping down from Bavarian State Opera in Germany

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Conductor Kent Nagano will be stepping down as music director of the Bayerische Staatsoper (Bavarian State Opera) in Munich, according to reports Tuesday from the German media.

Nagano was quoted as saying that he won’t renew his contract with the opera company, which is set to expire in 2013. The conductor joined the company in 2006 after serving as principal conductor and music director at the Los Angeles Opera from 2001 to 2006.

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The conductor’s planned departure from Munich is surrounded by controversy. Nagano was quoted as saying that his resignation is due to the ‘policy developments in the last months in Munich – at the State Theater at Gärtnerplatz and at the Munich Philharmonic.’

It remains unclear what specific policy developments Nagano is referencing, but in recent weeks, there have been rumors of friction between the conductor and the the city’s culture and education minister, Wolfgang Heubisch.

There also has been speculation, as reported in the Montreal Gazette, about possible acrimony between the conductor and Nikolaus Bachler, the artistic and managing director of the Bavarian State Opera.

Yet another rumor reported in MusicalAmerica.com has it that Nagano doesn’t like the company’s Strauss-Mozart-Wagner repertoire and that Heubisch had to make a decision to fire him.

Nagano, who also holds the position of music director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, is highly regarded in his field for championing new music. Originally from Northern California, he has spent much of his career in Europe, holding leadership positions at the Opera de Lyon in France, the Halle Orchestra in the U.K. and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin in Germany.

-- David Ng

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