Deutsche Oper Berlin’s Musical Maestro Takes an Early Exit

Sir Donald Runnicles, 68, has served as Deutsche Oper Berlin’s general music director since 2009

As the curtain prepares to fall on an era, Sir Donald Runnicles announces an early departure from his esteemed role at Deutsche Oper Berlin, signaling a new act for the iconic opera house.

A Dynamic Decade and More

The Scottish maestro, Sir Donald Runnicles, now 68, graced Deutsche Oper Berlin with his genius for over a decade. Taking the reins in 2009, his leadership saw the opera’s journey into the new decade with finesse. Just a short while ago in 2020, the company showed faith in his magic, extending his contract until 2027. However, life, as they say, often scripts its own opera.

The U.S. Beckons

Personal and family chords are now pulling Runnicles towards the U.S., leading him to pass the baton at Deutsche Oper Berlin a year ahead of schedule in 2026. But this isn’t the only stage where Sir Donald has showcased his magic. Remember his gigs at the Grand Teton Music Festival? Or his time with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra? And not to forget his significant mark as conductor emeritus with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

The Final Acts

Before he bids adieu to Oper Berlin, the maestro isn’t slowing down. Gear up to be mesmerized by his rendition of classics including Puccini’s Il Trittico, stage wonders by Janáček, Britten, Wagner‘s War Requiem, and the illustrious The Ring Cycle.

Sir Donald’s sentiment mirrors the mutual respect and admiration between him and the opera house. “My journey here, with these fantastic artists and dedicated team, has been deeply fulfilling. I’m excited about our remaining years together,” he shared. Senator Joe Chialo echoed the sentiment, expressing his deep regret but utmost respect for Runnicles’ decision.

What’s Next?

The anticipation is palpable! Who will step into Sir Donald’s shoes? While the opera’s next musical leader remains a mystery, there’s already buzz about Aviel Cahn taking on the role of artistic director by 2026, succeeding the legendary Dietmar Schwarz.



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