Ryan Wigglesworth to make Covent Garden debut after Pappano withdraws from conducting The Minotaur

Martin Cullingford12th Nov 2012
Ryan Wigglesworth, set to make Covent Garden debut in Birtwistle's The MinotaurRyan Wigglesworth, set to make Covent Garden debut in Birtwistle's The Minotaur

Conductor Ryan Wigglesworth will make his Royal Opera House debut in January after Antonio Pappano has been forced to withdraw from this season's revival of Harrison Birtwistle's The Minotaur.

Wigglesworth, 33, conducted last year’s Gramophone Contemporary Award-winning recording of Birtwistle’s Night’s Black Bird. Today's announcement was made after consultations with the composer, Covent Garden said.

A statement from the Royal Opera House said Pappano, the company's music director, had been suffering from acute tendonitis in his right elbow during the recent Ring cycles, and has been advised by doctors to take a complete break from conducting. 'This has built up over a long period of time, and was partly caused by an unprecedented workload over the last six months, with productions of Les Troyens, Otello, Der Ring des Nibelungen and several concerts and galas following straight after each other', the statement continued, adding that 'The Royal Opera understands this difficult situation and fully supports Antonio Pappano's decision'.

Ryan Wigglesworth said: 'I'm delighted to be conducting The Minotaur. The power and the beauty of Birtwistle's opera is still vivid in my mind from its premiere at Covent Garden four years ago. I look forward to working with the outstanding cast, and to continuing my relationship with Harry's music, which has been a constant throughout my career.’

Wigglesworth was appointed composer-in-residence at English National Opera in 2012 and made his ENO conducting debut in spring 2012 with Detlev Glanert’s Caligula. He recently conducted the Britten Sinfonia at London’s Barbican Centre in performances of Oliver Knussen’s Where the Wild Things Are and Higglety Pigglety Pop! in celebration of the composer's 60th birthday. He has been commissioned to write a piece for Aldeburgh Music for the centenary celebrations of Benjamin Britten’s birth in 2013.

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