19 June 2013

Aidan Lang Named as Next General Director of Seattle Opera

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Aidan Lang, who has served as general director of New Zealand Opera since 2006, has been tapped as the next general director of Seattle Opera, the company announced today. With his tenure set to take effect on September 1, 2014, Lang will be only the third general director in Seattle Opera's history and succeeds Speight Jenkins, who will have led the company for more than three decades when he retires in August 2014.

Lang will join Seattle Opera in the capacity of general director designate on March 10, 2014, and will reportedly work closely with Jenkins and executive director Kelly Tweeddale during a transitional period that will last through August 2014. Upon his arrival, Lang will be involved in planning Seattle Opera's 2015-16 season, while the company's 2016-17 season will be the first fully programmed under his leadership. 

"On behalf of the board of trustees and the search committee, I want to welcome Aidan Lang to Seattle Opera," John Nesholm, Seattle Opera's chairman said in a press release issued today by the company. "All of us are extremely confident that Aidan is the right choice to lead the company into a new era, building on the incredible artistic successes of predecessors Speight Jenkins and Glynn Ross. Aidan's exciting combination of artistic, theatrical and business experience, matched with the enormous potential of our company and its people, suggest a very exciting future for Seattle Opera."

"Seattle is an international city known for both its leading edge technology and world-class arts institutions," Lang said. "Seattle Opera is one of the world’s most respected opera companies and Speight Jenkins is, quite simply, a legend in our business. I am honored, energized, excited, and definitely humbled by the opportunity to lead the company in this next chapter. I want to thank John Nesholm and Bill Weyerhaeuser and the entire search committee, whose dedication to Seattle Opera was very inspiring to me as I considered this move. In the limited time I have already spent with the company, I sense already a lovely spirit of cooperation and collaboration amongst the staff, artists, chorus, musicians, and board. I look forward very much to joining the Seattle Opera family."

During his tenure at New Zealand Opera, Lang has overseen a series of collaborations and coproductions with companies that have included Glyndebourne, Opera North, and Welsh National Opera. Likewise, Lang has grown the New Zealand company's national reach to encompass performances in Christchurch, in addition to its performing centers in Auckland and Wellington. A partnership that Lang spearheaded with New Zealand's national arts development agency resulted in significant increases to the company's core funding and long-term financial stability. 

Prior to joining New Zealand Opera, Lang held artistic and administrative positions at Buxton Festival, Glyndebourne's festival and touring companies and the Netherlands's Opera Zuid. He concurrently maintained an international career as a freelance director, staging Brazil's first production of Wagner's Ring at Manaus's Teatro Amazonas, as well as productions of Le Comte Ory (Welsh National Opera), Monteverdi's Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria (Lisbon), The Turn of the Screw (Salzburg) and the British premieres of Frederick Delius's The Magic Fountain (Scottish Opera) and Cornet Christoph Rolke's Song of Love and Death by Siegfried Matthus (Glyndebourne).

As artistic director of the Buxton Festival, Lang augmented the festival's repertory with both Baroque and contemporary music, tripled its attendance figures and managed to achieve significant annual operating surpluses. During the nine years that he held dual administrative positions at Glyndebourne, he helped to create a distinctive identity for the company's touring operation in addition to continuing Glyndebourne's tradition of nurturing young talent. As the inaugural artistic director of Opera Zuid — a position he maintained simultaneous to his tenure at Glyndebourne — Lang expanded the Netherlands touring company's influence and reach, qualifying the organization for national funding as well as establishing it as a permanent fixture of operatic life in the country. 

Born in the UK in 1957, Lang graduated from the the Tiffin School and the University of Birmingham. He will relocate to Seattle with his wife, former soprano Linda Kitchen, and their daughter, Eleanor. spacer 

More information can be found at Seattle Opera.

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