From Development server
28 September 2018

Washington National Opera Appoints Evan Rogister to Newly Created Principal Conductor Role, Renews Contract of Artistic Director Francesca Zambello

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WASHINGTON NATIONAL OPERA announced today that it has renewed the contract of artistic director Francesca Zambello for three years and has also appointed Evan Rogister as the company’s principal conductor through the 2021-22 season. 

Announced by Ellen Berelson, chair of the WNO’s board of trustees, and Timothy O’Leary, the company’s new general director, the renewal of Zambello’s contract and Rogister’s appointment codifies Washington National Opera’s leadership structure and fills a gap following last season’s departure of Philippe Augin, the company’s music director emeritus. According to a release issued today, O’Leary and Zambello—who will lead the company jointly—have also augmented WNO’s new management team with key hires in administrative posts. 

As principal conductor, Rogister, 38, will effectively function in the same capacity as the company’s music director, and will report to O’Leary. The position marks the first company appointment for Rogister, who has previously led high profile performances at companies including the Metropolitan Opera, the Bolshoi Theatre, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Royal Swedish Opera, Malmö Opera, Seattle Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera and LA Opera. This month Rogister will lead the Royal Swedish Opera Orchestra and bass-baritone Bryn Terfel in a Stockholm concert honoring soprano Nina Stemme as the 2018 recipient of the Birgit Nilsson Prize; in November Rogister will lead Gothenburg Opera performances of Das Rheingold that will mark the first quarter of a complete Ring cycle with the companyAt Washington National Opera, Rogister has paced performances of Moby-Dick, Carmen and and Aida. An American who has studied at Indiana University, Juilliard at the Peabody Conservatory, Rogister was appointed to the new WNO post following a unanimous vote by a selection committee made up of leadership from WNO’s board of trustees, the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra and the Washington National Opera Orchestra. He will lead Washington National Opera’s 2019 gala concert on May 19 at the Kennedy Center Opera House, and is scheduled to conduct two WNO productions during the 2019-2020 season. 

“It’s certainly an exciting time to be at the Kennedy Center. I can’t think of two more passionate advocates for our art form than Francesca and Tim and I very much look forward to collaborating with them and being a part of all they have on the horizon for Washington National Opera,” Rogister said in a statement. “Since 2014, when I started coming to WNO as a guest conductor, I’ve felt a real affinity for the entire company’s spirit of music making—the orchestra, the chorus, the music staff, the young artists, the education department—everyone. So I’m thrilled at the opportunity to help shape WNO’s musical endeavors in the next years and communicate their love of opera with the entire community and nation.”

The extension of Zambello’s contract was also confirmed by a unanimous vote of the WNO board of trustees. Since being appointed an artistic advisor to Washington National Opera in July 2011, Zambello has directed more than twenty-five productions at the Kennedy Center, including fourteen new WNO productions and a world premiere. Named as the company’s artistic director in September 2012, Zambello has since spearheaded the creation of WNO’s American Opera Initiative commissioning effort, and programmed the world premiere of Philip Glass’s reconceived version of Appomattox during the 2015-16 season. During her time at WNO, Zambello has staged both chamber and large-scale works, including cycles of her production of Der Ring des Nibelungen, which played at WNO in 2016. 

In the statement issued by WNO, Zambello outlined expanded plans for the company in future seasons. “Tim and I will soon announce specifics of our bold long-term planning initiatives that explore current and relevant civic themes in classic operas and in contemporary works that exemplify the five goals and ideals commonly attributed to President Kennedy: Courage, Freedom, Justice, Service, and Gratitude,” Zambello said in the statement. “When we announce the 2019–2020 season, we will begin exploring these themes across our programming. We also look forward to a cycle of new works that expand WNO’s dedication to world premieres and America’s diverse array of established and next-generation composers and librettists.” spacer 

More information can be found at Washington National Opera.

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