Welsh National Opera (WNO) has appointed Aidan Lang as general director. He will leave his current job at Seattle Opera and make the move to Cardiff in July 2019.
At Seattle Opera, where he is the current general director, Lang has made a point of building co-production partnerships with other opera companies, including San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe, Glimmerglass Festival and Opera Queensland. He’s also found a way to get young people interested in opera – under his watch millenial audiences almost quadrupled in Seattle
Lang’s outreach and talent development schemes include the launch of chamber pieces designed to showcase operas in a new light, and the expansion of its youth and adult strands. His drives to increase audience engagement at mainstage performances saw attendance increased from 67,000 in his first season at Seattle, to 85,000 in the season just completed – 40% of Seattle Opera ticket buyers are now under the age of 50. In addition he oversaw the development and fundraising efforts for the company’s new administration and rehearsal home, which is due to open in December 2018.
Lang’s CV is rounded out by artistic roles at Glyndebourne, Buxton Festival and Opera Zuid. It’s also not his first job at WNO, having previously worked as its staff director in the ‘80s.
“It will be a wrench to leave Seattle Opera, as the company is known around the world for its enthusiastic and generous opera community, and the warm and welcoming atmosphere it creates for its artists,” said Lang. “But WNO is where my career in opera really began, and I have always considered it to be my artistic home. It was during my time there in the 1980s that I came to understand the potential for opera to change the way that people view the society they live in, and that insight has been at the core of all my work ever since.”
WNO board hair Mark Molyneux added: “The experience that Aidan brings to WNO will build on the Company’s world-wide reputation for achieving the highest artistic standards, bold and innovative productions and a wide-ranging youth and community programme. As the UK’s largest touring opera company WNO is a resourceful and imaginative company and we believe we have found a leader who embodies these qualities and is equipped to undertake ambitious plans for the future.”