Thursday, September 6, 2018

A letter to the Community From Aidan

Aidan Lang; photo by Philip Newton.
To the Seattle Opera community,

I am writing to share some bittersweet news. My time with you in Seattle will come to an end this June 2019, as I have been appointed as General Director of Welsh National Opera. This decision has not come lightly as I love dearly both this community and opera company. Coming to Seattle Opera was one of the greatest honors of my life and I am still absolutely thrilled to have had created opera with you. Seattle Opera is known around the world for its enthusiastic and generous opera community, for its warmth and welcoming atmosphere for artists, and more recently, for our commitment to racial equity.

Some of you know that Welsh National Opera holds a special place in my heart. It is where my career in opera began. I consider WNO to be my artistic home—the only company for which I would even consider departing the Pacific Northwest.

We have accomplished much at Seattle Opera in the past five years, and I’m so very grateful to you. With your help, Seattle Opera has increased its audiences, particularly, young people, created a new civic home for opera at Seattle Center, introduced new chamber opera productions in locations around the city, and spurred complex conversations surrounding race, justice, and representation.

Many people who are new to Seattle or people visiting the area stop me at McCaw Hall to say how well we have done with bringing younger audiences into the opera house. They assure me (and I agree), this is not the case elsewhere in the US, and they worry about the future of opera in their cities. Young people in this city want to see opera and we should be proud of the fact that 40 percent of our ticket buyers are younger than age 50, a huge increase in the last four years. The future of opera in Seattle is bright.

In the meantime, the Seattle Opera Board of Trustees will soon appoint a search committee to identify the next General Director, who will carry out our mission and vision. Following my departure, Seattle Opera will will continue its commitment to being an equity leader in the opera industry, and among arts institutions in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

I look forward to greeting you at McCaw Hall again soon, and enjoying the next ten months in this great city.

With gratitude,