Houston Grand Opera (HGO) invites applications for the position of General Director, available in the Spring of 2021. The General Director of Houston Grand Opera will be the chief executive officer, providing artistic vision and executive leadership to one of the most highly acclaimed professional opera companies in North America and throughout the world.
The General Director of Houston Grand Opera will have the opportunity to lead a vibrant international opera company in determining the repertoire, formats, venues, and platforms that reimagine opera in Houston and reimagine the possibilities for opera everywhere. The General Director will design the future for a company that is widely recognized for creativity, innovation, resilience, and adaptability. They will join a $30 million company governed by a Board whose foresight in financial planning will allow HGO to move ahead with strength and security.
HGO aspires to be a global leader in the evolution of opera. The next General Director will build on the significant accomplishments of Houston Grand Opera and develop a company that defines the future of opera for the most diverse major city in America.
The new General Director will have the opportunity to develop the extraordinary assets of Houston Grand Opera:
International acclaim for presentation of classic opera masterworks in stunning main stage productions at the highest international level of artistry;
Decades-long commitment to a living American repertoire through world premieres and a commissioning program with an impressive history of creating important work;
The ability to connect Houstonians to opera through HGOco, a unique program for sharing community stories, experiences, and learning that celebrate the city’s rich cultural diversity;
Unparalleled support for HGO Studio artists from early professional development and through major operatic careers;
A new dimension to experiencing opera with HGO Digital and its ability to reach audiences worldwide;
Superb artistic resources in the HGO Chorus, HGO Orchestra, and HGO technical personnel;
The Wortham Theater Center in the heart of Houston’s downtown theatre district with the 2,400-seat Brown Theater and the 1,000-seat Cullen Theater.
The new General Director will take the helm of a company that is governed by a Board of 47, all of whom share a deep love for opera and a strong commitment to the Houston community. The company has an administrative, artistic, and technical staff of 94, a professional chorus, and a 49-member core orchestra. Additional information is available at: www.houstongrandopera.org
The General Director is the chief executive officer of Houston Grand Opera and reports to the Board of Directors. The General Director provides leadership and vision to ensure that the Company fulfills its mission “to advance the operatic art, to serve the entire Houston community, and to be a global leader in the future of opera.” Within the strategic framework established by the Board of Directors, the General Director ensures that the Company achieves its goals for artistic, financial, and organizational success. As the visible spokesperson for Houston Grand Opera, the General Director builds public awareness and appreciation for the Company within and beyond the greater Houston community.
The General Director is responsible and accountable for the artistic success of Houston Grand Opera. They provide leadership, direction, and oversight to the Company’s artistic personnel in choosing repertoire, productions, singers, conductors, stage directors, designers, and composers for the Company’s main stage productions as well as HGOco and the HGO Studio. The General Director heightens the artistic profile and reputation of HGO as a company where artists want to be engaged and where opera professionals and patrons come to see and hear work.
The General Director is responsible for the overall management of HGO’s $30 million business, ensuring the Company’s long-term sustainability. They oversee all aspects of the Company’s operations. The General Director provides direction, management, and oversight to the Artistic and Music Director and to a leadership team that includes the Chief Financial Officer, Chief Advancement Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Director of Production, Director of Artistic Operations and Chorus Master, Director of HGOco, Director of HGO Studio, and Directors of Human Resources, Senior Director of Development, and Director of Marketing and Communications.
The General Director manages the Company’s human resources in a safe and supportive work environment. They maintain a culture that celebrates diversity and instills the values of equity, inclusion, and belonging throughout the Company. They empower and inspire both artistic and administrative personnel. They encourage teamwork within and across operating departments. The General Director ensures effective communication and promotes transparency throughout the company.
Working with the Board Chair, the General Director provides impetus and support to the efforts of the Board and its committees. The General Director devotes significant time and energy to fundraising and audience development. They play a major role in the identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of gifts. The General Director works with Board members and staff to develop innovative ways to welcome new audiences to HGO and HGOco programs and to provide experiences that compel them to return.
The General Director is the visible representative and spokesperson for HGO. As a full-time resident of Houston, they are an active participant in the business and cultural life of the greater Houston metropolitan community.
The successful candidate for the position of General Director of Houston Grand Opera will be a visionary leader with the demonstrated ability to innovate, collaborate, and inspire both internal and external stakeholders They will be a passionate advocate and spokesperson for the value and importance of Houston Grand Opera in service to the diverse community of Houston and in service to the art of opera. The successful candidate will embrace the Houston Grand Opera’s strategic plan and build upon the plan to design and articulate a new vision to guide HGO through the next decade.
The candidate will have a thorough working knowledge of opera and successful experience producing opera at a high international level of excellence. They will be able to work comfortably and effectively whether presenting opera to live audiences in real time or to viewers everywhere who choose to enjoy opera through digital platforms.
The next General Director of Houston Grand Opera will have substantial and successful experience in the business and financial management of a not-for-profit organization. They will be a strategic thinker and decisive leader with the proven ability to anticipate challenges, recognize opportunities, and respond with resilience to unexpected changes that may have an impact on the immediate and long-term success of the Company.
The successful candidate will have significant experience working with creative and performing artists. They will have the proven ability to lead and collaborate with an artistic team to develop programs that expand and diversify audiences throughout the Houston community and attract opera lovers worldwide through HGO’s digital presence. The successful candidate will have the ability to foster an environment that allows creative and performing artists to do their best work. They will be thoroughly knowledgeable about media, performing rights, commissioning, and production agreements. They will have successful experience negotiating and administering collective bargaining agreements.
The successful candidate will be an enthusiastic and effective fundraiser. They will be willing to devote substantial time and energy to the cultivation and solicitation of current donors and to expanding the Company’s patron base from both individual and institutional philanthropy throughout the greater Houston community. Prior experience with endowment fundraising and capital campaigns will be considered an asset.
The next General Director of Houston Grand Opera will be an excellent listener and a superb communicator. They will be person of integrity, self-confidence, and high ethical standards. They will have the ability to work effectively with artists and administrators, both volunteers and professionals. The successful candidate will be creative, curious, flexible, persistent, and kind.
The most diverse big city in the nation, Houston is home to 2.3 million people residing within the city limits and more than 6.9 million living within the greater metropolitan area. Houston is a city that values and celebrates diversity, innovation, risk-taking, and entrepreneurial spirit. The successful candidate will welcome the opportunity to be an active participant both personally and professionally in the overall Houston community, and a significant leader for arts and culture with city government and the business community.
Houston Grand Opera is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion in all facets of the organization and welcomes recommendations, nominations, and applications from all qualified candidates. The Transition Committee seeks to develop an international candidate pool.
Applicants for the position of General Director are asked to submit a letter that describes specific interest in Houston Grand Opera and outlines experience and qualifications for the position. Please send with a resume of no more than four pages and contact information for at least three professional references. Please do not include work samples, repertoire lists, or press materials at this time. Electronic submissions are requested. All applications will be treated as confidential and references will not be contacted without the candidate’s knowledge and agreement.
Additional Salary Information: Compensation and benefits are competitive and commensurate with experience.
About Houston Grand Opera
Formed in 1998, the Catherine French Group works with symphony orchestras, opera companies, performing arts presenters, music festivals, schools of music, and other music and arts organizations as they recruit chief executives, senior management, and artistic personnel. The Catherine French Group is based in Washington, DC. Catherine French is founder and principal. Musician, administrator, and educator Christopher Wingert joined CFG in 2005 and is Managing Director. Henry Fogel, former CEO of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and former Dean of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, collaborates on projects that have a special focus on music directors and artistic directors.
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