Last week, ace operablogger La Cieca hinted that Gerard Mortier, head of the Paris Opéra, might succeed Paul Kellogg as general manager of New York City Opera. Rumor becomes fact, Daniel Wakin reports in the Times. Mortier, for those who don't know, is the firebrand intendant of European opera; before going to Paris, he ran the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, and, for ten controversial years, the Salzburg Festival. He has allied himself with some of the most congenitally irritating directors of the Regietheater or Verdi-in-the-toilets school, and also facilitated such grand achievements as the Peter Sellars productions of Saint François and L'Amour de loin and Mark Morris's L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato. Mortier's regime will probably have its ups and downs — is New York ready for The Pirates of Penzance set in Iraq? — but his work in contemporary opera is outstanding, and to have him competing with Gelb at the Met will create unprecedented excitement in New York musical life. What's happened to our sleepy little operatic backwater? Let the pandemonium begin.