Metropolitan Opera Chorus Master Steps Down

By Francisco Salazar

The Metropolitan Opera Chorus Master Donald Palumbo has announced his decision to step down from the full-time role that he has held for the past 17 years at the end of the 2023–24 season in June.

Throughout his tenure, Palumbo elevated the Met Chorus to new heights and was responsible for the chorus’s preparation and performance in nearly 25 productions each season. In 2021, the Met Chorus was awarded Best Chorus in the World at the International Opera Awards.

In a statement, Palumbo said, “I must express my admiration and thanks to everyone I have worked with at the Metropolitan Opera over the past 17 years. The administrative and musical staff, the singers, the Met Orchestra under its brilliant Music Director Yannick, and the crew of this theater are without equal. I thank Peter Gelb for his unwavering support. The Met Chorus has provided the greatest joy for me as they tirelessly rehearsed and performed to achieve the acclaim they so justly deserve. I look forward to continuing to work with the next generation of singers.”

Gelb added, “When I became General Manager in 2006, one of my first artistic missions was to secure the services of Donald Palumbo as the Met’s Chorus Master since he was widely considered to be the very best. His work at the Met over the past 17 years more than lived up to our expectations. Under his leadership, the Met Chorus now has no equal.”

A native New Yorker, Palumbo launched his career at the Dallas Opera in the 1980s, serving as the assistant to Roberto Benaglio, a renowned chorus master of La Scala. He joined the Met in 2006, following a 16-year tenure as chorus master at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Palumbo will continue to work with the Met on select operas while pursuing his other interests as a teacher at the Juilliard School and Santa Fe Opera, and on other special projects.

The Met has announced that it will begin searching for a new Met chorus master.