General Director

Canadian Opera Company


The Canadian Opera Company (COC) invites nominations and applications for the position of General Director, available in July 2021.

The Company

Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest and most successful opera companies in North America. The Company enjoys a national and international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation. Each season features singers, directors, designers, and conductors of international stature in six fully staged productions at the COC’s acoustically superb and visually stunning home, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. The Company has an annual operating budget of $40 million (CAD) and employs more than 200 artistic and administrative personnel, including the COC Orchestra and the COC Chorus. The talents of emerging Canadian artists are nurtured and developed through its Ensemble Studio, Orchestra Academy, and the Company’s Director/Dramaturg/Composer-in-Residence programs.

The Opportunity

The next General Director will take the helm of a company that has experienced unprecedented artistic growth and success over the past decade and is widely regarded among the leading opera companies of the world.

The General Director will join a Company that owns and operates the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, considered by many to be the finest acoustical theatre for opera in North America, as well as including the COC’s administrative and rehearsal headquarters at the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre. The next General Director will have the opportunity to utilize the Company’s assets to attract new business, to engage a wider community, and to enhance the patron experience for all who come to the Centre.

The next General Director’s transition to leadership of the Canadian Opera Company in a post-Covid-19 environment will offer great opportunity to innovate and reimagine the way the Company presents opera and engages audiences. The strength of the COC’s assets, its highly skilled artistic and administrative team, and its location in the vibrant, diverse, and ever-growing city of Toronto offer creative opportunities unique to the Canadian Opera Company.

The Position

The General Director is the chief executive officer of the Canadian Opera Company and reports to the Board of Directors. Consistent with the goals and objectives established by the Board, the General Director provides leadership and vision that ensure the artistic, financial, and organizational success of the Company while heightening the Company’s artistic profile and reputation for excellence and innovation locally, nationally and internationally.

The General Director is responsible and accountable for the overall management of the COC’s $40 million business, which encompasses the Canadian Opera Company, the Canadian Opera House Corporation, and the real estate assets of the COC. S/he/they ensures that the Company operates on a sustainable basis, consistent with approved annual and multi-year budget guidelines established by the Board.

The General Director is responsible and accountable for the artistic planning and strategic direction of the Canadian Opera Company. Working closely with a talented senior leadership team, the General Director oversees all aspects of COC operations. S/he/they ensures that the COC continues to advance its reputation for excellence as a leading international opera company. S/he/they develops creative projects and fosters a supportive environment that attracts artists of the highest caliber as collaborators with COC and allows all artists to do their best work.

Recognizing the critical importance of fundraising and audience development to the future of the Company, the General Director devotes significant time and energy to both. The General Director is the visible representative, primary spokesperson, and advocate for the COC in greater Toronto, throughout the Province of Ontario, across Canada, and internationally. As a full-time resident of Toronto, s/he/they takes an active part in the many aspects of community life both personally and professionally.

RequirementsCandidate Profile

The successful candidate for the position of General Director will be a visionary and dynamic leader with the demonstrated ability to inspire both internal and external constituencies. S/he/they will be a passionate advocate and articulate public spokesperson for the value and importance of opera in general and for the Canadian Opera Company in particular. The successful candidate will have a thorough working knowledge of opera as a multi-disciplinary art form.

The successful candidate will have significant executive management experience with the knowledge, skills, and experience required to provide leadership and direction to a $40 million (CAD) business that owns and operates three venues and employs more than 200 artistic and administrative personnel. S/he/they will have substantial, demonstrable experience in financial management and administration.

The successful candidate will be an enthusiastic fundraiser who is willing to devote substantial time and energy to donor cultivation and solicitation. S/he/they will have creative ideas for expanding the COC’s audience base and developing patron loyalty.

The Canadian Opera Company faces the challenges confronting all performing arts organizations in North America and across the world as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The next General Director must have the ability to lead in a climate of uncertainty, to innovate quickly, to recognize opportunities as they arise, and to be nimble in adjusting to changing circumstances.

The next General Director must be a person of integrity and high ethical standards with a strong personal commitment to transparency. The successful candidate will be a problem solver with a collaborative management style that focuses on accomplishment and success. The successful candidate will have the maturity, grace, and gravitas to assume the leadership of a major international performing arts organization with confidence and enthusiasm.

Compensation, including a comprehensive package of benefits, is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience


The General Director Succession Committee has engaged the Catherine French Group to assist with this search and to develop a candidate pool that reflects the rich diversity of the greater Toronto community.

Applicants are invited to submit a letter that describes specific interest in the Canadian Opera Company and outlines experience and qualifications that align with the candidate profile. Please send with a resumé and contact information for at least three professional references. All applications will be considered confidential and references will not contacted without the candidate’s prior knowledge and agreement.

Please send materials electronically in Adobe PDF or Microsoft Word format only to:

Upload your CV/resume or any other relevant file. Max. file size: 32 MB.

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