The Norwegian Opera Faces New Drama After Music Director Announces Retirement From Organization

By David Salazar

It is not a fun time for the Norwegian Opera right now as the recently appointed music director has announced his resignation.

In an open letter, published by Aftenposten, German Maestro Karl-Heinz Steffens stated that he was unable to engage in “fruitful dialogue” with incoming general manager Annilese Miskimmon over the opera’s artistic development.

“I have tried to improve cooperation, but unfortunately without result. Because we have managed to create a basis for the mutual trust that it is necessary for any artistic endeavor, as I have concluded that it is best for all concerned that I shall retire as head of music when my contract expires,” he wrote.

Miskimmon, who gets to work this July, has been a controversial figure ever since it was leaked that she had plans to cut staff members. In fact, the outrage was so great that performers within the organization published a rather forward image on their Facebook page with the word “WAR” written over the opera house building.

The Guardian reported back in 2015, when the appointment of Miskimmon was originally announced, that, historically, the job has been marked by such drama as “personal conflicts and public laundry-washing.”