From Development server
9 February 2018

Santa Fe Opera Announces New Leadership Triumvirate: General Director Robert K. Meya, Artistic Director Alexander Neef and Music Director Harry Bicket 

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Robert K. Meya, Santa Fe Opera's General Director Designate
Photo by Dario Acosta

ALEXANDER NEEF, General Director of Canadian Opera Company, was named today as the first Artistic Director of Santa Fe Opera. Neef's appointment, which takes effect on October 1, 2018, was announced by Robert K. Meya, whose own October 1 appointment as Santa Fe Opera's new general director was ratified this morning by the Santa Fe Opera board of directors and announced by Susan G. Marineau, President of Santa Fe Opera.

Meya, who has served as Director of External Affairs at Santa Fe Opera since March of 2012, will be just the fourth General Director in Santa Fe Opera's sixty-two year history. As General Director, Meya will be tasked with providing executive leadership, strategic direction and administrative oversight for Santa Fe opera. 

In addition to Neef's appointment, Meya also appointed English conductor Harry Bicket as Santa Fe Opera's new Music Director. Bicket will also assume a new role with the New Mexico company on October 1, 2018. Bicket has previously served as Santa Fe Opera’s Chief Conductor since 2013 and is also the Artistic Director of period-instrument ensemble The English Concert.

Taken in total, the three appointments represent a new tripartite approach to administration and artistic programming for Santa Fe Opera and signal something of a watershed moment in the company's history. Neef and Meya succeed Santa Fe Opera's current General Director Charles MacKay, who in August 2017 announced his intention to retire at the end of the company's 2018 season in August. By the time that he steps down from his post, MacKay will have spent a decade in his post as SFO's General Director and two decades of cumulative experience with the company. MacKay began his career in Santa Fe Opera’s orchestra, playing French horn, and went on to manage the company’s box office, and subsequently held the positions of development and sales manager and business manager. Bicket's appointment as the company's Musical Director proceeds from his 2013 appointment as Santa Fe Opera's chief conductor, which followed the August 2012 resignation of Frédéric Chaslin from that post. 

“It is truly humbling to be following in the footsteps of giants like Charles MacKay, Richard Gaddes, and John Crosby,” said Meya. “I am deeply grateful to Charles, who has been my inspiration and my mentor over the last six years, and am especially thankful that I will have the next eight months to work closely by his side. I am confident that the team that I am creating—a triumvirate of sorts—will be able to rise to the challenges of the future. I am honored to have two leading figures in the field of opera joining me at the helm of this great company: Alexander Neef as Artistic Director and Harry Bicket as Music Director.”

Neef intends to continue in his role as general director of Canadian Opera Company, in addition to the serving in a seasonal role as SFO's artistic director. 

“Santa Fe Opera is one of the most renowned cultural organizations in North America and I am thrilled to join its team,” Neef said in a joint statement issued today by Canadian Opera Company and Santa Fe Opera. “The COC and Santa Fe both share an uncompromising commitment to artistic excellence, as evidenced by the successful co-productions we’ve mounted together in recent years. I look forward to working with Robert Meya and Harry Bicket as we explore the infinite possibilities of opera in the 21st century.”

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Harry Bicket, Santa Fe Opera's Music Director Designate
Photo by Dario Acosta

“I am thrilled with Robert’s appointment, and hugely looking forward to working with him and Alexander Neef on planning for future seasons,” said Bicket. “Charles’ legacy will continue to grow and expand, and the SFO could not be in safer or more inspirational hands.” spacer 

More information can be found at Santa Fe Opera

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