Austria's Volksoper Wien recently announced that Ben Glassberg will succeed Omer Meir Wellber as music director from 1 January 2024.
It is with a heavy heart and after careful consideration that Omer Meir Wellber announces his resignation as Music Director of the Volksoper Wien from 31 December 2023 for personal reasons. (A February 2023 press release on Omer Meir Wellber's website states that he will become Hamburg General Music Director of the Philharmonic State Orchestra as well as General Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Hamburg State Opera beginning with the 2025/2026 season.)
British conductor Ben Glassberg will become Music Director of the Volksoper Wien on 1 January 2024. He has been Principal Guest Conductor at the house and celebrated a great success with the first production of The Merry Wives of Windsor earlier in 2023.
Omer Meir Wellber commented:
I consider it a true privilege to have experienced such extraordinary moments with the orchestra, the choir, the soloists, the artistic team of the Volksoper and with Lotte de Beer. Together we look back on special highlights such as the premiere of Jolanthe and the Nutcracker, the revival of La bohème and performances of The Magic Flute and La traviata as well as various orchestra concerts, including a guest performance at the Konzerthaus Wien.
I am very grateful for the way art and music enrich our lives in unique and profound ways, which has also been demonstrated by the receptiveness of the house to the spontaneous Omer&Friends late-night concerts. It is wonderful that with Ben Glassberg a new music director is coming to the Volksoper, whom I brought in as a young conducting talent and who has connected so perfectly with the orchestra and the house. I am delighted that Ben Glassberg is taking on the task, and I am sure that he will continue to drive the excellence of the house.
Artistic Director, Lotte de Beer said:
Omer Meir Wellber is an extraordinary musician, and I am incredibly grateful for the way he has contributed to shape the musical profile of the Volksoper during the transition period and our first season. That said, I respect and support his decision and look forward to him continuing to inspire us as a guest conductor in the years to come.
Omer's vision, his uncompromising way of pursuing excellence, the daring playfulness with which he approaches every topic and above all the passion of his music making, helped to define who we are as a company today and the path we are headed on.
This path will be continued by Ben Glassberg who, as principal guest conductor, was already an important member of Omer's and our Volksoper's musical team.
Ben and Volksoper are a match made in heaven on so many levels: His broad musical taste which spans from musical theatre to Wagner and everything in between, is an ideal match for the diverse genres we perform in this house. In his music making he is both meticulously demanding about every little detail, and bold in his fresh and daring approach. At the same time his deeply personal way of connecting with every member of this opera house is a truly inspiring kind of leadership which is exactly what fits our Volksoper family.
Ben Glasberg added:
From the very first rehearsal I had with the Volksoper orchestra, it was love at first sight. The energy, commitment and talent that these musicians bring to every single day of work is inspiring – not to mention their humanity and sense of fun.
Over the course of this past season, we have explored music ranging from Wagner all the way to The Wizard of Oz, via Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Nicolai. In each of these utterly different musical styles, the orchestra, chorus and ensemble of the Volksoper give 100% dedication and a spirit of collaboration that brings me huge joy to share in. Every single colleague - be it the Portier, the inspizienten, the canteen staff, the correpetitors or anyone else - has welcomed me with such warmth that I already feel like a firm part of the Volksoper family.
I'm enormously grateful to Omer Meir Wellber for first inviting me to work here and for his continued great friendship and support.
I am greatly excited about the vision for this theatre that Lotte de Beer and I will build together; celebrating Volksoper tradition as well as injecting a dynamic energy into the work we do. I want to see Volksoper talked about as one of the great, exciting houses of Europe.
Ben Glassberg will conduct the premieres of West Side Story and The Merry Widow as well as performances of La bohème, The Wizard of Oz, Hänsel und Gretel and Jolanthe und der Nussknacker as Music Director of the Volksoper Wien from 1 January 2024.
Further information: volksoper.at
Posted 14 September 2023 by Keith Bramich