San Diego Opera Bennett
From Development server
11 March 2015

David Bennett, Former Executive Director of Gotham Chamber Opera, Appointed General Director of San Diego Opera

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San Diego Opera, which last year fought back from the brink of closure after fundraising several million dollars and rescinding a vote by its board to shutter the company, has appointed David Bennett, the former executive director of New York City’s Gotham Chamber Opera, as its new general director. 

Bennett will officially join San Diego Opera on June 15, 2015, and will be the just fourth person to hold the title of general director in the company’s history. He succeeds former general director Ian Campbell, who led San Diego Opera from 1983 until May 15, 2014 — two months after the company’s board officially voted to cease all operations, reportedly at Campbell's instigation. Prior to Campbell, the company's general directors included Tito Capobianco, who held the post from 1976 through 1983, and San Diego Opera's founder Walter Herbert, who ran the opera from 1950 until 1973. 

“After an exhaustive search from an incredible pool of well qualified candidates, the board decided overwhelmingly to select David Bennett as the company’s new general director,” said San Diego Opera board president Carol Lazier in a statement issued on Tuesday by the company. “David met all of the criteria we were looking for and his artistic strength, infectious love of opera, creativity, vision and collaborative nature was the course we wanted to set for the future of our company. David’s commitment to diverse audiences and his intrinsic curiosity to find out what makes San Diego so unique was compelling to us. With David at the helm we are confident that San Diego Opera will become the opera company this city wants and deserves.”

“For fifty years, San Diego Opera has been a leader in the American opera industry, with a long history of artistic achievement and excellence,” Bennett said. “I am eager to work with the board, the staff, and the rich artistic community to build upon the company’s tradition of presenting grand opera, while exploring new ways to increase its impact within the San Diego region and beyond.”

Bennett joined Gotham Chamber Opera in July 2006 as the company's managing director, and was named as its executive director in May 2010. During his tenure at Gotham, Bennett's oversight comprised all areas of the company’s operations — including artistic, development, finance, marketing and production — and oversaw a significant period of expansion, tripling the company's operating budget and increasing the number of fully staged productions presented each season from one to four. Bennett also presided over a broadening of Gotham's repertoire to include works ranging from Baroque rarities to modern operas. Notable performances produced during his tenure included a double-bill of Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda/I Have No Stories to Tell You at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Arms and Armor Court; the 2011 world premiere of Nico Muhly's Dark Sisters; and performances of Haydn's Il Mondo della Luna at the American Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium.   

Bennett’s purview in San Diego will reportedly cut a similarly wide swath, though his efforts will reportedly be focused on the company’s artistic development. This season, San Diego Opera presented performances of La Bohème, Don Giovanni and Nixon in China, along with a fiftieth-anniversary gala, and concerts by Stephanie Blythe and Stephen Costello and Ailyn Pérez. In April, the company will present performances of the Mariachi opera, El Pasado Nunca se Termina. Next season the company plans to present performances of Tosca, Madama Butterfly and Jake Heggie’s Great Scott, as well as concerts by Patricia Racette and Ferruccio Furlanetto. 

Prior to arriving at Gotham Chamber Opera, Bennett served as the managing director of Dance New Amsterdam, Lower Manhattan’s center for dance education, creation, and performance, where he oversaw a $5.7 million capital campaign and significantly raised the profile of the organization as a producer of modern dance performances in New York. Before his tenure at Dance New Amsterdam, Bennett worked as a senior consultant with Arts Resources International, where he provided a variety of financial advisory services to non-profit arts organizations.  

Prior to his career in arts administration, Bennett performed as a baritone and appeared with regional opera companies and orchestras, including Dallas Opera, Dallas Symphony, Skylight Opera Theater and Florentine Opera. Bennett holds both an M.B.A. and an M.A. in Arts Administration from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. He also serves as the vice-chair of OPERA America’s board of directors. spacer 

More information can be found at San Diego Opera

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