Seattle Opera Names New General Manager

“Do you have any idea?” “No, not at all.” “They’ve certainly done a good job keeping this under wraps.”

And they had--I was even surprised when Seattle Opera announced they were at last going to reveal Speight Jenkins’ replacement after his 30 years as the company’s general manager. Such was the buzz this afternoon in the Grand Lobby of McCaw Hall before Board chairman John Nesholm told the gathered crowd that Aidan Lang, 56, would become SO’s third GM in its 50-year history. Currently at New Zealand Opera (since 2006), Lang’s resume also includes work at the Glyndebourne and Buxton opera festivals. His background is in directing; he helmed Brazil’s first Ring, in fact--a work at the heart of Seattle Opera’s mission--in the fabled opera house in Manaus.

SO staff was involved prominently in the search, Jenkins pointed out; as a member of the short list, Lang met with “literally everybody in the company” during a visit earlier this spring. He’ll be here full-time starting next March, overlapping with Jenkins, whose official last day will be Sept. 1, 2014. The total transition, in fact, will take even longer; 2016/17 will be the first season whose programming will be entirely Lang’s responsibility.

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