NEWS: Santa Fe Opera Prepares for Leadership Changes

Pictured: Charles MacKay, the General Director of Santa Fe Opera.

Susan G. Marineau, the President of Santa Fe Opera, announced at the company’s August Board of Directors meeting that General Director Charles MacKay has asked the Board to plan for a transition in leadership following the 2018 season.

The Santa Fe Opera Board of Directors has appointed a Search Committee co-chaired by Marineau and Sarah Billinghurst Solomon. The Search Committee has been charged with developing recommendations for selecting Santa Fe Opera’s fourth General Director. Marineau said, “Charles’ tenure at Santa Fe Opera has been remarkable. Considering the company’s unwavering artistic excellence, sound financial stability, vast improvement in facilities, and symbiotic relationship between Board and staff, 2008-2018 will have been a very successful decade for the company. We have a strategic plan and repertory planned through 2020. We have a talented staff and a dedicated Board. We have developed resilience and an organizational depth to handle this change. Change is part of life, part of how we grow and adapt. I have complete confidence in the future of Santa Fe Opera.”

Santa Fe Opera is a seasonally producing opera company with an operating budget of $24 million.

Speaking to the Board and company members, MacKay said, “As you know, I grew up in Santa Fe, and was dazzled by The Santa Fe Opera after my first Youth Night performance of Die Fledermaus. The company has been part of my life for almost as long as I can remember. Starting as a parking lot attendant at 13, becoming an extra horn player and orchestra assistant at 18, and then working backstage and in the business office for the next ten years, I never imagined I’d end up as the General Director. It has been a huge honor to lead this remarkable company and to follow in the footsteps of John Crosby and Richard Gaddes – two giants in our field. But part of the responsibility of a job like this is knowing when to pass the baton. Throughout my career, it has always been my goal to stop while I’m still feeling on top of things. The timing seems right. Fifty years is a nice round number. The Opera is in excellent shape and I look forward to working with the Board to find my successor and ensure a smooth transition.”

The planned transition will take place at the end of Mr. MacKay’s 10th season as General Director of Santa Fe Opera. It will also mark the completion of 20 years of cumulative service to Santa Fe Opera and 50 years since the first engagement of his professional career.