Nézet-Séguin to take 4 weeks off from conducting

NEW YORK (AP) — Yannick Nézet-Séguin, music director of the Metropolitan Opera and the Philadelphia Orchestra, is taking a four-week sabbatical from conducting starting Dec. 19 after a busy autumn and ahead of a challenging second half of the season.

The Met said Monday the 46-year-old had withdrawn from a run of Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro)” scheduled from Jan. 8-28 and April 2-16 and will be replaced by Daniele Rustioni and James Gaffigan.

Nézet-Séguin led the Met premieres of Terence Blanchard’s “Fire Shut Up In My Bones” in September and of Matthew Aucoin’s “Eurydice” last week. He is to conduct the Met’s first performances of Verdi’s “Don Carlos” in French starting Feb. 28 and the world premiere of Kevin Puts’ “The Hours” with soprano Renée Fleming and the Philadelphia Orchestra on March 18.

“This short break will allow time for me to reenergize as we return in the new year,” Nézet-Séguin said in a statement. “I look forward to returning to the Met in February for our new production of Verdi’s ‘Don Carlos.’”

Rustioni is principal conductor of the Opéra National de Lyon in France and already was scheduled to conduct the Met’s new Bart Sher staging for Verdi’s “Rigoletto” starting Dec. 31. Gaffigan is music director of Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia, Spain.

Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard will replace Anna Stéphany as Cherubino in the January performances of “Figaro.”

Gaffigan is conducting Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” at the Met starting March 25.