New York suddenly finds itself looking for not one, but two tastemakers.
Nigel Redden, the director of the annual Lincoln Center Festival, which imports both prestige and offbeat productions of theater, music, dance and spectacle from around the world, has announced that he will leave after this summer’s festival, his 20th. Last month, Joseph V. Melillo, who helped shape the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s aesthetic for more than three decades, said that he would be stepping down as its executive producer.
“It seems like a good time,” Mr. Redden said in a telephone interview, using a cricket analogy: “20 years is a good innings.” After he leaves Lincoln Center, he added, he plans to concentrate on his other job, leading the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, S.C.
During his tenure, Mr. Redden has mounted ambitious productions at the Park Avenue Armory, including Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s opera “Die Soldaten” and performances by the Royal Shakespeare Company, on a model of its home stage; invited the playwright Harold Pinter to appear in his own works; and made New York a regular destination for the Kabuki company Heisei Nakamura-za and the Kanze Noh Theater.
But keeping the festival world-class and fresh, year after year, is a challenge, and some critics have warned that Lincoln Center’s was growing stale. Zachary Woolfe wrote in The New York Times last summer that the Lincoln Center Festival “has felt jumbled and tired in recent years,” and noted that it increasingly faced competition from the center’s other offerings, including the increasingly daring Mostly Mozart Festival, which has lately opened as the Lincoln Center Festival prepares to close at the end of July.
Lincoln Center did not say what its plans for the festival would be. Debora L. Spar, the center’s new president, expressed gratitude to Mr. Redden, saying in a statement that he “brought the world to New Yorkers.”
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