Royal Opera House names Czech conductor, Jakub Hrůša as new Music Director

18 October 2022, 12:30

The 41-year-old Czech conductor was today named as Sir Antonio Pappano’s successor
The 41-year-old Czech conductor was today named as Sir Antonio Pappano’s successor. Picture: Getty

By Sophia Alexandra Hall

The 41-year-old Czech conductor will replace Sir Antonio Pappano at London’s world-renown opera house.

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In a statement released from the Royal Opera House this morning, Czech conductor Jakub Hrůša has been named as the Royal Opera’s next Music Director.

The 41-year-old rising-star conductor is due to take over the acclaimed director position from Sir Antonio Pappano in September 2025.

Pappano is leaving the famed Covent Garden opera house in September 2024 after what will be a 22-year tenure – to take up the chief conductorship with the London Symphony Orchestra, replacing Sir Simon Rattle. During the 2024-25 season, both Pappano and Hrůša will share House responsibilities, and both will appear as special guest conductors over the year.

Hrůša is currently chief conductor of the Bamberg Symphony in Germany, Principal Guest Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic.

From today, Hrůša takes on the title of Music Director Designate of The Royal Opera, Covent Garden.

Read more: Sir Antonio Pappano appointed chief conductor of London Symphony Orchestra

On the appointment, Alex Beard, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House, said: “We are absolutely delighted to announce Jakub Hrůša as successor to Tony Pappano as our Music Director.

“Jakub brings his own qualities as an exceptional musician and natural leader to build on Tony's achievements with The Royal Opera team, inspiring growing audiences in this country and across the world with this extraordinary and transformational art form.”

Hrůša has previously conducted at the Royal Opera House for productions including Carmen (2018) and Lohengrin (2022), both to great critical acclaim.

Lohengrin was one of the highlights of my artistic life to date,” Hrůša shared in the Royal Opera House’s announcement statement earlier today, “I have always dreamt about a long-term relationship with a house where one can reach the highest standards in opera, and I realised very quickly that I adored the whole team of artists and staff at Covent Garden.

“I am thrilled to accept the position of Music Director, and I feel immensely excited about the future collaboration. London is not just a place I have loved living and working but will now be precious to me as my true artistic home in the field of opera.

“I feel blessed that I can devote my skills and energies to the future of this extraordinary opera house.”

Jakub Hrůša conducting the New York Philharmonic in 2019
Jakub Hrůša conducting the New York Philharmonic in 2019. Picture: Getty

Hrůša will be The Royal Opera’s seventh Music Director, following on from Karl Rankl, Rafael Kubelík, Sir Georg Solti, Sir Colin Davis, Bernard Haitink, and Sir Antonio Pappano.

The 41-year-old Czech conductor’s appointment was made after an “extensive international search” led by Sir Simon Robey, Roger Wright CBE, Sir Lloyd Dorfman CVO CBE, Janis Susskind OBE, Alex Beard CBE and Oliver Mears.

Oliver Mears, Director of The Royal Opera, wrote on Hrůša’s appointment: “Jakub has proven himself to be one of today’s most exciting conductors in both the symphonic and operatic repertoirery.

“We have been hugely impressed by not only his superlative music and theatre-making, but also by the generosity and warmth of his personality: Jakub is a true collaborator, able to get the very best from his colleagues.

“As a musician of high intellect, thoughtfulness, and a deep conviction in the power of music to change us, he is the perfect fit for Covent Garden.”