Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Berlin opera gets new boss

The Associated Press

German director Kirsten Harms will take over Berlin's troubled Deutsche Oper, filling a post that has been vacant for a year.

Harms will replace Udo Zimmermann, who quit a year ago after only two seasons. Zimmermann complained that he was forced out by the cash-strapped city government.

Harms will take over the opera's management for the 2004-2005 season and her contract will run until 2011, said Thomas Flierl, Berlin's top culture official.

One of her first tasks will be to find a replacement for the opera's music director, Christian Thielemann, who quit last week in a dispute over scarce funding.

The Deutsche Oper said Harms made her debut at the Berlin house last year, directing a production of Rossini's "Semiramide."

Flierl said he was confident the new director "will succeed in developing the Deutsche Oper into a leading international opera house with a solid economic foundation."

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