Opera Theatre of Saint Louis was founded in the spring of 1976 by a small group of opera lovers determined to bring festival-quality opera to the St. Louis area. With a budget of $135,000, they presented an 11-performance season of familiar and unconventional operas all sung in English by outstanding artists and with the St. Louis Symphony as their orchestra. The Company has grown significantly in the past 45 years, but its dedication to high-quality productions of a varied repertory, sung in English by established and emerging artists, and performed with the St. Louis Symphony, continues to this day. In 2006, the Sally S. Levy Opera Center became home to the Company’s administrative staff and provided excellent rehearsal facilities for productions.
The mission of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, reaffirmed in 2015, is to shape the future of opera and to connect diverse audiences through its power and beauty. To accomplish its mission, Opera Theatre produces a world-class opera festival; champions new works; builds new audiences; educates and engages its community through several unique programs and projects; and nurtures the finest opera artists, artisans, and administrators of each generation. By doing so, Opera Theatre strengthens the cultural and economic vitality of the St. Louis community.
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is highly regarded for its long tradition of discovering and promoting the careers of the finest artists of the next generation. Each year, more than 1,000 aspiring singers apply to join the Gerdine Young Artist and Gaddes Festival Artist programs and fewer than 40 are accepted. Backstage talent is developed through the Emerson Behind the Curtain Program and the Larry & Jinny Browning Technical Fellowships. The annual roster of the Metropolitan Opera regularly includes as many as 60 artists who came to Opera Theatre early in their careers, artists such Jamie Barton, Larry Brownlee, Vinson Cole, Christine Goerke, Susan Graham, Denyce Graves, Thomas Hampson, Patricia Racette, Morris Robinson, and others. The Company’s extensive year-round education programs reach more than 14,000 young people and help develop future audiences for opera. World-renowned artists offer a series of Master Classes during the annual Festival Season.
In the past four decades, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis has presented 28 world premieres and 27 American premieres, which may be the highest percentage of new work in the repertory of any American company. Opera Theatre’s revivals of new American operas such as Emmeline, The Death of Klinghoffer, The Grapes of Wrath, and Nixon in China not only keep Opera Theatre in the world’s musical spotlight, but prove time and again that opera is a living, breathing, American art form.
Over the years, Opera Theatre has developed both a national and an international following. Audiences have included visitors from as many as 48 states and 17 countries and international press coverage has been considerable. As a destination for cultural tourism, Opera Theatre generates more than $17 million in annual indirect revenue for the region.
Although the 2020 Festival was cancelled due to the pandemic, the company produced a robust digital season, with more than 30,000 views. Plans are underway for 2021 programming, including an innovative Festival in the Spring of 2021 adapted as appropriate to respond to the ongoing health situation. As part of the overall opera-going experience offered to their patrons, the Company is optimistic that Opera Theatre audiences will once again be able to share pre-performance picnics in the beautiful gardens surrounding the center and enjoy cocktails with the artists following each performance.
Opera Theatre’s Artistic Leadership: Andrew Jorgensen, General Director; James Robinson, Artistic Director; and Patricia Racette, Artistic Director of Young Artists Programs.
The Director of Artistic Administration is responsible and accountable for all aspects of artistic administration at Opera Theatre. The Director is a central source of artistic information, advancing, implementing, and facilitating artistic plans with the General Director, Artistic Director, Artistic Director of Young Artist Programs, and artists and their representatives. The Director is a member of Opera Theatre’s management team; oversees the artistic department and staff; and is the primary contact in all matters relating to the Company’s creative and performing artists.
Partnering with the General Director and the Artistic Director, the Director of Artistic Administration plans and produces all artistic activities, including the spring festival season; commissions; concerts; the artistic aspects of education and community programs; and all special event and initiatives. The Director oversees the engagement of all creative and performing artists from the initial auditions and/or interviews, to negotiating contracts, through rehearsals and performances. In collaboration with the General Director and the artistic leadership, the Director has administrative responsibility for casting and engaging singers, conductors, and designers as well as contracting of music staff, principal artists, stage management, dancers, and chorus.
The Director of Artistic Administration serves as the Company’s principal talent scout, keeping abreast of emerging talent and partnering with the Artistic Director of Young Artist Programs to identify potential participants. The Director oversees the contracting of all performing artists and stage managers; leads negotiations with artistic unions; and serves as the Company’s primary liaison with the St. Louis Symphony, negotiating and overseeing the execution of all agreements with the Orchestra.
The Director of Artistic Administration ensures that the Artistic Director and Artistic Director of Young Artist Programs have appropriate management and administrative support. The Director fosters a safe and positive environment that supports creativity and allows performing artists to do their best work.
The Director of Artistic Administration reports to the General Director. They supervise a high caliber team that includes the Manager of Artistic Operations, the Artistic Coordinator, and the music staff. The Director works in close collaboration with the Artistic Director of Young Artist Programs. Working with the General Director and Artistic Director, the Director of Artistic Administration provides the administrative leadership and management to realize Opera Theatre’s vision and fulfill the Company’s mission to shape the future of opera and to connect diverse audiences through its power and beauty.
The ideal candidate will be a highly skilled manager of people and projects who has a thorough working knowledge of the operatic voice, artists, and repertoire and a passion for connecting opera with the widest possible audience. They will have the ability to assess the working potential of stage directors, conductors, designers, singers, dancers, coach accompanists, stage managers, and instrumentalists. They will be knowledgeable about the business of music, including budgeting, contracts, negotiations, performance rights, and media agreements.
They will have successful experience working in a professional or collegiate performing arts environment and a thorough understanding of the trends, challenges, and opportunities facing all arts organizations and opera companies in particular in the current environment. They will be guided by a deep personal commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion and creating a workplace where those principles are reflected on the stage, behind the stage, and in the offices.
The successful candidate will have the ability to work collaboratively with colleagues in all areas of artistic operations and across all administrative departments as well, serving as a resource for patron development and education programs. They will have superb communication skills. They will have excellent supervisory skills and the willingness to mentor and develop both permanent and seasonal staff. They will have the ability to anticipate the needs of their artist colleagues and provide administrative support as needed.
The successful candidate will have a deep respect for artists and the creative process. They will have the proven ability to develop and maintain an environment that helps young singers to develop their artistry in a nurturing and supportive environment and allows all artists to do their best work. They will work effectively in a collective bargaining environment, will have the ability to work and communicate with artists’ agents and personal representatives.
The successful candidate will be positive, optimistic, and persistent. They will be a person of integrity and high ethical standards. They will have superb organizational skills and the ability to balance multiple priorities and competing deadlines with efficiency, grace, and good humor.
Compensation, including benefits, is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience.
Opera Theatre Saint Louis is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion in all facets of the organization and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates.
Please submit a cover letter that describes your specific interest in Opera Theatre of St. Louis and your qualifications for the position. Kindly send with a resume and salary expectations. Please also include the names of several references. All applications will be treated as confidential and references will not be contacted without the applicant’s agreement. Electronic submissions are requested.
Please send materials to:
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis – Director of Artistic Administration
c/o Catherine French Group
2500 Q Street, NW, Suite 623
Washington, DC 20007
MS Word or Adobe Acrobat attachments only, please
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis values diversity and is committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. Opera Theatre is committed to being an equal employment/engagement opportunity workplace, and will not discriminate against employees or applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, physical or mental disability, genetic information or characteristics, protected veteran status, or any other protected class under federal, state, or local law.
Please let us know if you require reasonable accommodation in completing this application, interviewing, or otherwise participating in the employee selection process.
Additional Salary Information: Compensation, including benefits, is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience.
About Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Catherine French Group works with not-for-profit performing arts organizations in recruitment of executive and senior leadership. For more information, please contact Christopher Wingert at email@example.com.
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