SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Nicola Luisotti says he will end his term as music director of the San Francisco Opera when his contract expires at the end of the 2017-18 season.
The 55-year-old Italian made his debut with the company in 2005 and was hired in January 2007 to succeed Donald Runnicles as music director starting with the 2009-10 season.
In a statement Wednesday, Luisotti says "I believe that close to a decade is about the right time to be leading a company. I want the company's general director designate, Matthew Shilvock, to be able to move freely into the future with his ideas, his artistic interests and to take San Francisco Opera into a new direction"
Shilvock, who succeeds David Gockley as general director on Aug. 1, says he was "deeply saddened" by Luisotti's decision.
New York's Metropolitan Opera also is searching for a new music director after announcing last month that James Levine will retire at the end of this season after 40 years.