Belgian musician Gerard Mortier will take over the Teatro Real as artistic director in January 2010. Currently in charge of the Paris Opera, Mortier is seen as a major coup for the Teatro Real after its plans with the director of Milan’s La Scala fell through. Mortier was due to take over as general manager and artistic director of the New York City Opera but pulled out last Fall when the company failed to raise enough money to pay for his plans. Mortier, 65, will replace both artistic director Antonio Moral and musical director Jesus Lopez Cobos whose contracts both expire in 2010. Mortier says he plans to continue his policy of workng with several musical directors which brings out the strength of the choir and orchestra, though he could not give details of possible signings because negotiatios were still going on. He hopes that the Teatro Real (which reopened in 1997 after more than a decade closed for retoration) will create 3-4 productions a year that will travel and also hopes to exploit Madrid‘s link to Latin America by working with the Buenos Aires Colon Theater in Argentina and the Bellas Artes in Mexico. He plans to travel around Spain for four months after finishing his contract in Paris this summer, to meet performers and get a better feel for Spain.