Opera visionary Gerard Mortimer dies at 70

By Kyle Lubelski,

Controversial but provocative opera art director Gerard Mortimer passed away Saturday at his home in Brussels at the age of 70.

The Los Angeles Times notes that his death was reported by a spokesperson from Madrid’s Teatro Real, Mortimer’s most recent place of employment.

For 40 years Mortimer pioneered some of the greatest art institutions in Europe including the Opéra National de Paris, and the Salzburg Festival in Austria.

According to New York Times, the opera fanatic suffered from pancreatic cancer, causing him to step down from his art director post at Teatro Real in 2009, and engage in a slight tussle with the Spanish government over his successor.

Mortimer’s tumultuous attitude imbued itself throughout his entire career, leading to an innovative style that brought some vibrancy back into the genre.

“It was an enormous scandal, and it became an enormous success. On opening night, I said:‘ Now we are really international. People aren’t sleeping at the end,'" Mortimer reflected in a 2011 interview after Madrid’s ostentatious King Roger production.

Born Gerard Alfons August Mortimer in Ghent, Belgium in 1943, he is survived by his sister Rita Mortimer.

image: By Artistresearch at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia) [CC-BY-2.5], from Wikimedia Commons



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