Obituary: Sir Peter Jonas, Former Bayerische Staatsoper General & Artistic Director, Passes at 74

By David Salazar
Credit: Bayerische Staatsoper

The Bayerische Staatsoper has announced that former Artistic Director Sir Peter Jonas has passed away on April 22, 2020 after a 45-year battle with cancer. He was 73.

Jonas’ career started to flourish in 1974 as the assistant to Sir Georg Solti during the latter’s time at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Two years later, he became the orchestra’ artistic administrator and in 1977, he was named Director of Artistic Administration of the Chicago Orchestra Society.

From there he would become manager of the English National Opera between 1985-93.

In September of 1993, he was invited by the Bayerische Staatsoper to become the General and Artistic Director; he held that position until 2006.

He would then become a faculty member at University at St. Gallen, a lecturer at the University of Zurich, and a visiting lecturer for the Bavarian Theatre Academy Munich, as well as the first chairman of the German Speaking Opera Intendants Conference between 2001-05.

“The world of music and opera has lost a great man in Sir Peter Jonas. Over the decades, he has shaped music theatre and concert life with courage, originality, energy and an irrepressible appetite for risk,” stated General Manager Nikolaus Bachler in a press statement on the company’s official website. “The Bayerische Staatsoper was shaped by the London-born in a unique way, completely redefining its audience’s feeling and understanding of music theatre and positioning this art form far beyond Munich in 21st century society.”