The late Patric Standford may have written these short pieces deliberately to provoke our feedback. If so, his success is reflected in the rich range of readers' comments appearing at the foot of most of the pages.
Belgian opera director and administrator Gerard Mortier was born in Ghent on 25 November 1943. He was general director of La Monnaie in Brussels from 1981 until 1991 and of the Salzburg Festival from 1990 until 2001. He was also a founding director of Germany's Ruhr Triennale arts festival and was general director of l'Opéra National de Paris from 2004 until 2009.
In 2007 New York City Opera named Mortier as their next general director, but the contract was terminated in 2008 due to various financial and other problems, and Mortier didn't take up the post. From 2010 until 2013 he was artistic director of Teatro Real in Madrid, becoming artistic advisor from 2014.
He died in Brussels on 8 March 2014, aged seventy.