Metropolitan Opera appoints Tilman Michael as New Chorus Director

Michael will join the Met at the start of the 2024–25 season, succeeding Donald Palumbo, who held the position for 17 seasons

New York, NY (April 3, 2024)—Tilman Michael, Chorus Master of the Frankfurt Opera for the past ten seasons, has been appointed Chorus Director of the Metropolitan Opera, replacing Donald Palumbo, who earlier announced that he would step down at the end of the Met season this June. Chosen by Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Michael will begin his duties as the C. Graham Berwind, III Chorus Director over the summer in preparation for the start of the Met’s 2024–25 season. 

“I am honored to accept the role of Chorus Director at the Metropolitan Opera and look forward to being part of the extraordinary music making that happens in this very special opera house. I would also like to especially thank Intendent and General Manager Bernd Loebe and Oper Frankfurt, where I have been privileged to spend the last decade working with wonderful colleagues,” said Tilman Michael.

“Tilman Michael is a longtime collaborator and friend whose work I deeply respect, and I welcome him wholeheartedly to the Met family. He has an innate understanding of the complexity of the voice and draws out the best in the choruses he works with,” said Nézet-Séguin. “I would also like to express my thanks to the entire Met Chorus for their valuable cooperation in the interview process, skillfully led by Director of Music Administration, Thomas Lausmann.”

Michael has been Chorus Master at Oper Frankfurt since 2014–15, having previously held the same post at the National Theater in Mannheim. Both were voted Chorus of the Year by Opernwelt magazine under his leadership, including the 2023 award for new productions of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Handel’s Hercules in Frankfurt. He also assisted the Chorus Master at the Bayreuth Festival for ten years. He has worked at the opera companies in Amsterdam, Dresden, Moscow, Stuttgart, and Vienna; the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Chorus; BR, MDR, NDR, and WDR radio choruses; as well as with various vocal ensembles who have performed in leading concert halls and churches in 25 countries.

Met Chorus Master Donald Palumbo announced in September 2023 that he would step down from the full-time role that he has held for the past 17 seasons at the end of the current season.  Widely regarded as one of opera’s leading chorus masters, Donald Palumbo elevated the chorus to new heights during his tenure and has been responsible for the chorus’s preparation and performance in nearly 25 productions each season. In 2021, the Met Chorus was awarded Best Chorus in the World at the International Opera Awards.