Barenboim resigns as general music director of Berlin's Staatsoper

06.01.2023, 15:10

Daniel Barenboim, who has been ill for a long time, says he is stepping down as general music director of the Berlin State Opera, Staatsoper.

"Unfortunately, my health has deteriorated significantly over the past year. I can no longer provide the performance that is rightly demanded of a general music director," Barenboim, 80, said in a statement.

"I therefore ask for your understanding that I am giving up this position on January 31, 2023." He is asking Berlin's Culture Senator Klaus Lederer to terminate the contract on the aforementioned date, he said.

In a statement, Lederer said he was "convinced that Daniel Barenboim has made the right decision." The decision, he said, put the well-being of the Staatsoper and the Staatskapelle orchestra first. "All of this deserves the greatest respect."

Barenboim had only returned to the conductor's podium at the turn of the year. He conducted Ludwig van Beethoven's "Symphony Number 9" last Saturday in Berlin.

He announced in early October that he now had to concentrate as much as possible on his physical well-being.

"My health has deteriorated in recent months and I have been diagnosed with a serious neurological illness," he wrote.

The State Opera had to cancel a concert planned for his birthday at the Berlin Philharmonic, where Barenboim was to play the piano.

Earlier, Barenboim had already had to relinquish his conducting duties for the new production of Richard Wagner's "The Ring of the Nibelung" at the State Opera, which was also being staged for his birthday.

German conductors Christian Thielemann and Thomas Guggeis stepped in for him on the podium. Thielemann also stood in for Barenboim during the tour of Asia with the Staatskapelle.

Argentinian-born Barenboim, who also has Israeli, Palestinian and Spanish citizenship, has been out of action several times recently. In February, he had to undergo a surgical procedure on his spine.