The waiting is over. The COC has announced the successor to Alexander Neef and it’s Perryn Leech who currently runs Houston Grand Opera. I think there’s a lot to like in this appointment. Leech is a guy who has done a lot in his career and I like that he comes from a technical background; in lighting as it happens. I would worry that someone from a stage direction background would want to hog that aspect of opera production. After all, it’s happened before at the COC. A conductor background would be redundant given we have an excellent music director. And the last thing we need is a business person with no real passion for opera.
Add to that that Houston has a track record of innovation and commissioning new work that’s second to none in North America. It’s one thing to take risks when the you have the German government bankrolling you and quite another when you have to balance artistic risk with the bottom line. This is also the guy who helped HGO recover from the loss of their facility to a hurricane so he knows something about resilience too and that can’t hurt right now.
Time will tell but Leech looks like a strong choice.