26 Apr 2012

Christopher Koelsch Tapped by LA Opera

Christopher Koelsch has been tapped Wednesday as the new president and chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Opera. Koelsch, 41, was the opera’s chief financial officer and will take the new post September 15.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “he will report to tenor Pl├ícido Domingo, who serves as L.A. Opera’s general director.” Mr. Domingo, an international star, spends only a small percentage of his time in Los Angeles and his term is set to expire next year.

“For the first time in five years, Los Angeles Opera will have one person overseeing both the company’s artistic efforts and finances on a daily basis.” continues the Los Angeles Times, while clearly suggesting that only Domingo has decision-making authority. Mr. Koelsch, who has held positions with the Spoleto Festival in South Carolina and, briefly, Opera Pacific, has little experience directing an opera company.

Koelsch replaces Stephen Rountree who was dividing his time between co-directing the Opera with Mr. Domingo and heading up the Los Angeles Music Center complex. He indicated that he will combine the desks of CEO and COO so his former position will not be filled.

The Los Angeles Opera received an emergency grant from the county in 2009 in order to avoid closing. Since that time, economies have been made and half the loan has been repaid. Now presenting only six operas per year, Koelsch suggested that for the season after next, there might be seven on the Los Angeles Opera schedule.

Frank Cadenhead