Opera director Gerard Mortier dies at 70
Last Updated: 2014-03-11 13:21 | CRI
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Belgian opera director great Gerard Mortier has passed away at age 70. Mortier had been suffering from pancreatic cancer for some time.

The colorfully cosmopolitan impresario had a taste for edgy, risk-taking productions that earned him admiration around the world. In his four-decade career, he has spearheaded multiple prominent opera companies and forged a reputation for embracing new works and reinterpreting classics in contemporary ways.

Most recently, as the artistic director for Madrid's Teatro Real, he secured the world premieres of renowned operas including Philip Glass' "The Perfect American," about the death of Walt Disney, and the recent "Brokeback Mountain," an adaptation of a short story about two cowboys who fall in love.

Mortier's outspoken nature sometimes got him into trouble. Last year, he told a Spanish newspaper that no qualified Spaniards could fill his shoes and that he would cut short his term at the Teatro Real if a successor was named who did not meet his approval. Shortly thereafter, the company announced that Mortier was departing and that Joan Matabosch , the artistic director of the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, would take his place.

Prior to his death, Mortier reportedly said that the only thing that was of importance for him was to be busy intellectually.

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