Peter Mussbach, general manager of Berlin's famed Staatsoper, is leaving due to differences over programming.
The foundation that oversees Berlin's three opera houses decided in consultation with Mussbach, 59, to "release him irrevocably with immediate effect," a statement from the city government said Thursday.
"Both sides were prompted to take this step because they were unable to reach agreement on the future direction of the overall operation and the artistic programming," the statement said.
Opera spokesman Johannes Ehmann said no successor had yet been named.
Mussbach has been general manager at the Staatsoper, where Daniel Barenboim remains the music director, since 2002. His contract was set to run through the 2009-2010 season.
The statement didn't give details of the differences, although Mussbach and Barenboim had long reportedly been at odds over whether more money should go into opera productions or into the house's Staatskapelle orchestra.
The departure comes as the opera house looks forward to a major renovation of its 18th-century building on the Unter den Linden boulevard, slated to start in 2010 and last 3 1/2 years. During that time, the Staatsoper is expected to move its productions to Berlin's Schiller Theater.
The opera house was reopened by East German authorities in 1955 after being gutted at the end of World War II. It was last renovated in 1986.
In 2002, a hydraulic stage lift collapsed during a performance of Mozart's "Don Giovanni."
German reunification left the heavily indebted capital struggling to maintain funding for three opera houses _ the Staatsoper and Komische Oper in the east, and the Deutsche Oper in the west.