Aidan Lang Appointed As Seattle Opera's General Director

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday, 20 June 2013 | 1:58:00 am

Aiden Lang
Aidan Lang will take over from Speight Jenkins as Seattle Opera's General Director in September 2014. Prior to that he will join the company in March 2014 to work together with Jenkins during the transition period.

Beginning immediately, Lang will be included in planning for the 2015/16 season, working towards his first fully programmed season in 2016/17.

Speight Jenkins will continue to oversee this years Seattle Ring cycle right through to 2014's International Wagner Competition, the 50th Anniversary Concert and Speight Celebration in August of that year

British born Lang, who has studied the clarinet since the age of 8, has 25 years experience in opera leadership, which has included 9 years as Principal Associate Director at Glyndebourne Festival OperaDirector of Productions for Glyndebourne Touring Opera, leadership roles at Buxton Festival and Opera Zuid. He has been general director of NBR NZ Opera since 2006.

It was as student at Birmingham University, reading Music and Drama, that he decided upon opera as a career, having studied the work of Welsh National Opera - with whom he then went on to work.

Lang was selected for the position of General Director out of 42 candidates from seven countries. He will relocate to Seattle with his wife of 23 years, the former soprano Linda Kitchen, and their 16-year-old daughter, Eleanor

Discussing his appointment at a company with a long association with Wagner's works (As does Lang. Perhaps most famously producing the first Ring cycle in Brazil.), Lang noted “Seattle is an international city known for both its leading edge technology and world-class arts institutions,. 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.”

Announcing the appointment, John Nesholm, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, said, “On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the search committee, I want to welcome Aidan Lang to Seattle Opera. 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.”

Welcoming his successor Speight Jenkins said, “Seattle Opera has been my life for the last thirty years. As we head into the 50th Anniversary season, my focus will be on the future – working closely with Aidan to transfer leadership of Seattle Opera in a seamless manner. I commend the search committee on their hard work and excellent decision. I embrace and celebrate their choice. I know that Aidan’s breadth and depth of experience, from the artistic to the business side of leadership, will be an unbeatable combination and an invaluable asset to Seattle Opera going forward.”

Photo: Rick Dahms