Welsh National Opera’s new General Director Aidan Lang has arrived in Wales from Seattle to take up the role at the head of the company, reporting directly to the WNO Chair and Board and based at WNO’s home at Wales Millennium Centre.
British-born Lang is no stranger to WNO, having been a staff director for the Company in the 1980s and early 1990s. He takes up this new role following his position as General Director of Seattle Opera, a role he has occupied since 2014. He has relocated to Wales with his wife, the singer and director Linda Kitchen, and their daughter, Eleanor.
Lang’s tenure at Seattle Opera saw him increase audiences for mainstage performances from 67,000 in his first season to 85,000 in the season just completed. He has been a driving force in encouraging younger audiences to opera in Seattle, with millennial audiences nearly quadrupling during his time there, and 40% of Seattle Opera ticket buyers now under the age of 50. He has achieved this through a range of means including extensive education and engagement programmes, commissioning the first of several critically-acclaimed chamber operas in locations around the city, and by using opera to facilitate conversations around themes relevant to society today including race, justice and representation.
In his six years in the Pacific Northwest, Lang also had oversight of the creation of a new state-of-the-art civic home for Seattle Opera in the heart of Seattle Center which includes a 20,000 sq ft dedicated space for community programming and education. He has also forged new partnerships across the opera industry, including co-productions with Washington National Opera, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, Opera Philadelphia, Opera Queensland and New Zealand Opera.
Prior to his role at Seattle Opera, Lang was General Director of New Zealand Opera from 2006 to 2013. During Lang's tenure, New Zealand Opera benefitted from a period of sustained growth and innovation despite global financial challenges. He expanded the company to include performances in Christchurch for the first time and created New Zealand's first opera production workshop, establishing new partnerships and collaborative ways of working.
On arriving in the Welsh capital, Aidan Lang said: “I am delighted to be back in Wales, and with the Company where my opera career really began. The values and vision for opera that WNO holds have been the bedrock of my entire career, and I am hugely looking forward to working with the Board and the Company to create work that speaks to the lives of people living and working in the many and varied communities throughout Wales and England.”
Notes to Editors
- Welsh National Opera is the national opera company for Wales. WNO is funded by the Arts Councils of Wales and England to provide large scale opera across Wales and to major cities in the English regions.
- WNO production images are available for download at http://www.wno.org.uk/press