Conductor leaves City of Lights for City of Angels

James Conlon, principal conductor of the Paris National Opera, has been named music director of the Los Angeles Opera. He succeeds Kent Nagano, who will depart in June 2006.

Conlon has inked a three-year deal with L.A. Opera. The New York-born conductor has been associated with the Metropolitan Opera for more than 25 years and has appeared with major opera companies and symphonies the world over.

“Because of his involvement with Paris National Opera’s productions at both the Opera Bastille and the Palais Garnier, he has been artistically responsible for a wider repertoire and a greater number of performances than any musician of today,” L.A. Opera general director Placido Domingo said.

Domingo has performed “La Boheme” and “Parsifal,” in New York and Paris, respectively, under the baton of Conlon.

Next year, Conlon will become music director of the Ravinia Festival outside Chicago.

Nagano joined the L.A. Opera as principal conductor in 2001 and became the company’s first music director in May 2003. He also is stepping down from music director of Berlin’s Deutsche Symphony to concentrate on his music directorships of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich and the Montreal Symphony.

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