19 Jun 2013
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New Zealand Opera’s Chairman, Sir David Gascoigne, announced today that Aidan Lang, General Director of New Zealand Opera, will be leaving the company in March 2014 to take up the position of General Director of Seattle Opera.
Sir David said that Aidan Lang, who has been the General Director of New Zealand Opera since 2006, has led the company with his own particular blend of infectious enthusiasm, good humour, and a deep and extensive knowledge of the opera world and of the body of operatic works.
“During his time with us,” Sir David said, “Aidan has, along with his team, been responsible for a remarkable range of lively opera productions. All of them have been of a very high standard. All have been dramatically credible, wonderfully well sung, and superbly staged. A fine example is our most recent, and successful, production of Madame Butterfly. He has helped in many other ways, such as the establishment of a production facility which, in addition to enabling New Zealand Opera to build its own new productions, also now constructs for other southern hemisphere opera companies – five, at last count. And he has been instrumental in expanding the reach of the company here, so that it has bases in Auckland, Wellington and, now, Christchurch.”
Commenting on his departure, Aidan Lang said that the decision to move on is always a difficult one to make. “My family and I have had a wonderful time in this country,” he said, “and it will be truly hard to say farewell to so many close colleagues and friends in eight months’ time, when it is time to go. But the golden rule in the arts is that things should never stand still – both for the individuals involved and also for arts organisations. Opera here is currently in a very buoyant phase. The standard of the performances that we put on at New Zealand Opera has attracted distinguished artists of great calibre and has made us an extremely attractive production partner to sister companies overseas. So this is an ideal moment for someone new to come in to New Zealand Opera and to bring with them some fresh thoughts and ideas.”
Sir David added, “Aidan’s new role will be a great and well merited step forward for him. For our part, we thank him greatly – and we will miss him.”
The New Zealand Opera Board will now begin the process of locating and engaging a suitable successor (the company’s fourth General Director), anticipating that the new appointee will be able to work with Aidan Lang during a hand-over period.