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Yannick Nézet-Séguin is a classical-music superstar, both in Quebec and internationally, and studied at the Conservatoire’s Montreal branch.Christina Alonso

It should come as no surprise to anyone – even if you haven't seen Mozart in the Jungle – that the world of classical music is full of jealousies, feuds, massive egos puffed up by international reputations, cabals, pettiness – your standard artistic bouquet of character traits.

But the world of classical music might be even a bit more grumpy than other artistic disciplines, because the world is so small and hermetically sealed. Is there a more cynical artist on Earth than your standard fifth-desk symphony musician? (Answer: No.)

Yet, in all my travels throughout this world, and the world of opera that is its cousin, I have honestly never heard a single unkind word ever spoken – ever – about Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the youngish Canadian who will be taking over the music directorship of the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 2020.

Symphony musicians love to play for him. Opera singers are lining up to be in his productions. Emanuel Ax, one of the great pianists of our time, told me a year or so ago that when he first worked with Nézet-Séguin, he phoned his wife after rehearsal to tell her he had just met the finest conductor he had ever worked with – in his entire life. Now that's saying something. And Manny Ax is not one given to hyperbole.

We can hear for ourselves in his many recordings and live performances why Nézet-Séguin is an exceptional conductor. Like the greatest of interpreters, he finds in familiar scores the unexpected, the unfamiliar, the details and fire and passion lurking there, musical open secrets, waiting to be discovered. Audiences love him – for his musicianship and his passion.

But it's not his interpretations that have made Nézet-Séguin the darling of his colleagues. To a person, they all say the same thing: He listens to them, he collaborates, he takes his ideas from others and works with them. For classical musicians so often shaped by the monstrous egos of music directors and conductors, from a Toscanini to a von Karajan to a Bernstein, Nézet-Séguin is a breath of sweetness and light that is almost unbearable. And they love him for it.

I mentioned that I had never heard a negative word about Yannick Nézet-Séguin. That's not quite true. Just last month, the esteemed New York Times music critic Zachary Woolfe, in the midst of an essentially laudatory article about Nézet-Séguin, wondered aloud whether he had a strong enough vision to take on the job, not just of conductor at the Met, but of music director. Would Nézet-Séguin champion composers, take on new work? Was he just too accommodating?

It's an interesting question, because, in a way, it's precisely that trait of accommodation that has made Nézet-Séguin as successful as he is. His task, at the strange beast called the Metropolitan Opera, is, as always, impossible, to satisfy his half-dozen diverging masters – the critics, the singers, the accountants, the donors, the audience and on and on.

Given his track record, however, if there is one person who may be able to tame all these beasts simultaneously, Yannick Nézet-Séguin is the guy.