Kasper Holten
Kasper Holten

Kasper Holten has unexpectedly announced that he will step down from the helm of the Royal Opera at the end of March 2017. The Dane, whose brief tenure as director of opera has not been without controversy but whose high points, not least his own production of Szymanowski's Król Roger, have been impressive, says that he wishes to raise his young family in Copenhagen.

In a letter to Royal Opera staff Holten has explained that "after much soul searching" he and his partner have decided that they want to be closer to their families. He will stay until seven months beyond the end of his current contract, "giving the ROH time to plan for my succession and for me to continue the work as long as possible. I will therefore leave my position after Tony [Pappano] and I open our new production of Wagner's Meistersinger".

Antonio Pappano, the Royal Opera's music director, paid tribute to his colleague: "Kasper Holten has been electric during his time at the Royal Opera House, demonstrating an uncanny energy, perseverance and vision for the future of our great institution. My collaboration with him on Król Roger was one of the most fruitful experiences I have had during my time at this theatre."

The search to find his successor will begin in the new year.