Bartoli becomes first female director of Monte-Carlo Opera

Cecilia Bartoli has been appointed to take over directorship from Jean-Louis Grinda as of 1st January 2023, becoming the first female to take on the position.

At a press conference held earlier this week, HRH the Princess of Hanover, Chairperson of the Monte-Carlo Opera Board of Directors, formally announced the retirement of Jean-Louis Grinda and introduced his hand-picked successor to the Opera, Cecilia Bartoli.

“In March 2019, Jean-Louis Grinda informed HSH Prince Albert and myself of his intention to eventually leave his post as director of the Monte-Carlo Opera,” said the Princess of Hanover. “Having occupied this position since 2007, he felt that, in all good conscience, the time had come to hand over to someone who would bring new ideas to the opera in the Principality.

Jean-Louis Grinda mentioned to the Princess Cecilia Bartoli, whom he had informally consulted. In addition to her personal and professional qualities, Cecilia already had strong ties to the Principality as the head of the Prince’s Musicians in the role of artistic directior since the ensemble was created in 2016.

“This attractive suggestion naturally caught my interest and attention as Chair of the Opera Board. After receiving the agreement of HSH the Sovereign Prince, a proposal was officially made to Cecilia Bartoli, which, I am delighted to say, she accepted,” said Princess Caroline.

The appointment marks the first time a woman will hold directorship of the Opera.

Ms Bartoli will retain her other commitments, such as Director of the Prince’s Musicians, as well as continuing to pursue her singing career, as Mr Grinda did before her as a stage director.

“It is a great honour and a great responsibility, and I wish to thank, with all my heart for their confidence, HSH the Sovereign Prince, HRH the Princess of Hanover and the Board of Directors of the Opera,” said a clearly moved Ms Bartoli. “Thank you also to Jean-Louis Grinda for his friendship, for having thought of me and for his promise to continue to make himself available to me and to the opera as an advisor.”

She went on to speak of her indebtedness to the Principality for giving her a chance when she was first starting out and how she has found her home there as a direct result.

“I made my debut in Monte Carlo in The Barber of Seville in 1989 at the beginning of my career, and since then I have felt attached to Monaco,” she recalled. “Salle Garnier is probably one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world, its dimensions and acoustics are perfect, a real gem. In 2016, Jean-Louis and I created the Prince’s Musicians. In no time, this orchestra had performed more than 70 concerts, recordings and opera performances throughout Europe. It received universal acclaim from international audiences and critics, naming it as one of ‘the best instrumental ensembles of the time’, thus introducing Monaco to major classical music audiences.”

Ms Bartoli finished by expressing her excitement for the future. She will not only be the first woman to head up the Opera, but the first opera singer to be in charge since Guy Grinda, Jean-Louis’s father.

“This perfectly illustrates my motto, which is ‘to draw on tradition and bring innovation’. As on my first day, I’m brimming with ideas and will take immense joy in placing my creativity and passion for music at the service of the Monte-Carlo Opera!”