Obituary: Opera Director Hugues Randolph Gall Dies at 84

By Francisco Salazar

On May 25, 2025, French Opera manager Hugues Randolph Gall died at the age of 84.

Born on March 18, 1940 in Honfleur, Gall began his career in the offices of Edgar Faure at the Ministry of Agriculture and then at the Ministry of National Education where he was responsible for artistic education.

He then began a music program of the baccalaureate and the artistic department of the University of Vincennes and from there joined the cabinet of Edmond Michelet, Minister of State in charge of Cultural Affairs.

Gall began his work with the Paris Opera in 1973 where he became the assistant to Rolf Liebermann and held the position until 1980. Following his position in Paris, he became the General Director of the Grand Théâtre de Genève from 1980 to 1995.

Then in 1995, Gall returned to the Paris Opera and became the General Director until 2004. During his time in Paris, he oversaw the Opéra Bastille project, associated with the Palais Garnier. With the two houses, he oversaw 360 performances and almost 900,000 spectators a year on both stages, and 80 new opera productions. He also ushered in four new works at the Opéra Bastille: “Salammbô” (Philippe Fénelon), “K” (Philippe Manoury), “Perelà, l’homme de fumée” (Pascal Dusapin) and “L’Espace dernier” (Matthias Pintscher). He also added 60 new works to the ballet.

He also brought many acclaimed directors to Paris including Jorge Lavelli, Jérôme Savary, Andrei Serban, Francesca Zambello, Robert Carsen, Lev Dodin, Herbert Wernicke, Willy Decker, Graham Vick, and Laurent Pelly. He also nurtured many great talents including Renée Fleming, who sang the Countess in “Capriccio” for his last performance at the Palais Garnier in June 2004.

In 2002, Gall was elected a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts and from September 2004 to 2010, he was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Institut pour le financement du cinéma et des industries culturelles. Other positions he held included State Councillor; Vice-President of the Nureyev Foundation, member of the Board of the Veolia Environnement Corporate Foundation, and a member of the Chambre Professionnelle des Directions d’Opéra.

In 2008, Gall became a member of the Council of the Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur and was President of the Orchestre français des jeunes, among others.