The move was arguably foreseeable since the board accepted the resignation of Walter Vergnano, the opera’s superintendent last week. Technically, Noseda was an appointee of Vergnano, but he said last week he was hoping to find accommodation with the board and the theater’s new leadership.
The announcement today that William Graziosi (who once worked at the now-defunct Lyric Opera of Baltimore) would take over as Torino’s new superintendent, along with the announcement that the theater’s planned U.S. tour with Verdi’s “I Vespri Siciliani” — already announced as a highlight of the Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center 2018-19 seasons — would be canceled, prompted Noseda’s decision.
“The recent actions taken by the board of the Teatro Regio Torino are disappointing and disheartening,” Noseda said in a statement. “The fact that the quality which has propelled the theater on the international scene has not been taken in due consideration provides a clear indication to me that there is no interest to share a common vision for the future of the Teatro Regio Torino. … Under these circumstances, I will not be available to continue my relationship with the Teatro Regio Torino.”
For Americans who look to Europe as a mecca of state support for the arts, the current situation in Torino illustrates a down side: Political appointments, and struggles, can suddenly upend an opera house. Vergnano’s resignation, though officially couched as personal, was allegedly prompted by disagreements with the current political administration, who were rumored to want to replace him with Giancarlo Del Monaco. From the political perspective, Noseda — who has supervised the rise of Torino from a provincial house into a strong company with an international presence — is no more than a cog in the machine.
In the immediate future, Torino’s loss cannot even be Washington’s gain, as the NSO’s 2018-19 season is already firmly planned. The next question will be which conductor will replace him in Torino, and whether the productions he was to have overseen there will continue to attract international notice.