Picture: New Opera Queensland Artistic Director – Lindy Hume
Submitted on 2011/11/10 at 7:18 am
In a move designed to reposition one of Queensland’s flagship companies within the state’s increasingly dynamic cultural landscape, Opera Queensland has appointed a new executive team of acclaimed director Lindy Hume as Artistic Director and industry veteran Russell Mitchell as General Manager.
This new executive arrangement splits the dual roles played by outgoing Chief Executive and Artistic Director Chris Mangin.
Lindy Hume is one of Australia’s leading artistic directors and an internationally-recognised opera director. She is currently Festival Director of Australia’s largest annual arts festival, Sydney Festival 2010-2012, following her tenure at Perth International Arts Festival 2004-2007.
Russell Mitchell is a performing arts professional with extensive experience in all aspects of theatrical presentation. Most recently, Russell was Director, Operations at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) following 22 years in senior management roles with Opera Australia.
Russell takes up his position in January, while Lindy will join Opera Queensland in February next year following the completion of the 2012 Sydney Festival.
Opera Queensland Chairman Martin Kriewaldt said the appointments were a coup for the company and the state’s performing arts.
He said Lindy and Russell were highly-respected leaders within Australia’s arts industry who would forge a dynamic foundation for the future of the company.
“Over the last few years Lindy has grown the cultural profile, audience numbers and achieved box office success for both Perth and Sydney Festivals, in parallel with her distinguished career as a director. At the same time, Russell has managed the operations of the nation’s leading performing arts training institution, NIDA, following extensive senior management experience at Opera Australia. They will be renewing a successful relationship from when they both had similar roles with OzOpera for Opera Australia over four years from 1997.
“In 2012 we arrive at the 30 year mark in Opera Queensland’s history, and we recognize that we are at a crossroads. As ever, we will seek to enrich the lives of Queenslanders by delivering excellent opera and music theatre experiences to audiences across the state. In parallel, as we look toward the future sustainability of the company and the opera art form, it’s time to refresh our vision to take advantage of new creative opportunities and the new dynamism in the Queensland opera landscape.
“Under the guidance of the new executive team, Opera Queensland is set to embark on the next stage in its evolution.”
Ms Hume said she was looking forward to developing new creative collaborations with local arts colleagues and engaging audiences in new and exciting ways.
“I’m excited to be returning to the world of opera, emboldened and with a fresh perspective borne of a decade of global festival experiences, yet also with a sense of coming home to a genre that I grew up in and have always been passionate about. Opera Queensland is a terrific company, and this is simply an exciting time for the arts in Queensland. As a great admirer of contemporary Queensland’s cultural boldness and aspiration, I am thrilled to be part of this progressive and enlightened arts community.”
Mr Mitchell said: “It is a great privilege to be given the leadership of a company that is so important to cultural life of communities all over the State. Since moving to Queensland I have been excited by the energy and ambition of the cultural environment and by an enthusiasm to embrace a variety of creative experiences. I am also delighted to be working in opera once again and I look forward to contributing to the next thrilling chapter in the history of Opera Queensland.”
Reaction from other leaders in Australia’s performing arts industry
Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini:
“I think the appointment of Lindy and Russell signals a wonderful new future for Opera Queensland. Personally, and on behalf of Opera Australia, we look forward to working with Opera Queensland in the future.”
Brisbane Festival Artistic Director Noel Staunton”
“How great it is to have two great opera practitioners to be leading Queensland opera into the future. This is a great coup for the arts community of Queensland.”
Queensland Theatre Company Artistic Director Wesley Enoch:
“Lindy represents a generational shift in opera and she is a practising artist of the highest calibre with a national and international reputation – not just for festival direction but also opera direction. Russell has an incredible track record of running large organisations like NIDA. It’s a fantastic team which will bring a new vision and a new way of looking at opera. It will also bring an air of collaboration and sense of generational change. I look forward to working with them.”
Queensland Ballet Chief Executive Anna Marsden:
“The appointment of Lindy and Russell to Opera Queensland are two really exciting appointments and will certainly grab everyone’s attention in the arts community across the state and the country. In particular, Lindy is a very exciting and interesting arts manager and there will certainly be a sense of anticipation for what her vision for the organisation will be.”
Queensland Performing Arts Complex Chief Executive John Kotzas:
“I would like to congratulate the Board of Opera Queensland on these two outstanding appointments and extend a warm welcome to Lindy Hume and Russell Mitchell in their new positions. I have no doubt that their combined expertise and proven artistic experience both in Australia and internationally will build on Opera Queensland’s success.”
Queensland Symphony Orchestra Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pickett:
“I wish the outgoing CEO well and look forward to the opportunity to further enhance our relationship and support to Opera Queensland.”
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