Portland Opera Announces Executive Leadership Transition
Portland Opera announces an executive leadership transition, with General Director Christopher Mattaliano, who has led the company for 16 years, transitioning to the role of Artistic Consultant beginning with the 2019-20 season. Sue Dixon, current Director of External Affairs will serve as Interim General Director as of July 15. Dixon joined the company in May 2014 as Director of Development and was named Director of External of Affairs in 2017.
"I was incredibly fortunate to become Portland Opera's General Director in 2003, and the past 16 years have been among the most satisfying and meaningful years of my life," says Mattaliano. "I have formed deep, lifelong friendships within the Portland community, and have been very blessed to work with a great staff and extraordinary artists. Completing the framework for a new strategic plan that will build Portland Opera's future created the right time for me to step aside."
Mattaliano's relationship with Portland Opera began in 1990 as a guest artist, directing Massenet's Manon. After numerous other celebrated collaborations as a guest artist, he was named General Director in July of 2003. Among many highlights during Mattaliano's tenure, the company saw the creation of the Portland Opera Resident Artist Program in 2005, which has grown into one of the nation's most competitive young artist programs in the country; an expansion of the company's repertoire, including over 30 Portland Opera premieres; and an expansion of performance venues beyond the Keller Auditorium to include the Newmark Theatre and the newly created Gregory K. and Mary Chomenko Hinckley Studio Theatre. In addition, under Mattaliano's leadership the company produced its first two commercial recordings, Galileo Galilei and Orphée by Philip Glass; collaborated with composer John Adams in co-producing Nixon in China in 2005, and produced the work of American composers such as Philip Glass, David Lang, and Laura Kaminsky. Mattaliano's artistic leadership also included presenting works by major visual artists such as David Hockney, Maurice Sendak, and John Frame; and collaborating with a wide range of Portland organizations, including BodyVox, Portland Art Museum, Chamber Music Northwest, Third Angle, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Oregon Symphony, PHAME, and Portland State University. Mattaliano's vision for the company included a focus on connection to community, through programs including free performance simulcasts, post-show conversations, the creation of the Opera a la Cart program, a free Portland Opera Resident Artist recital series at the Portland Art Museum, and a bilingual Spanish and English production of The Barber of Seville, for Portland Opera to Go's educational programming.
"The Board of Directors is exceedingly grateful to Christopher Mattaliano for his 16 years of leadership and vision at Portland Opera," says President of the Board of Directors, Curtis T. Thompson, MD. "Chris has led our company through a period of artistic excellence during his tenure, and created wonderful community programs and unforgettable productions. We are looking forward to building upon his work with this next chapter for Portland Opera, and with Sue Dixon's leadership, vision, and commitment to community."
Dixon, who currently oversees all aspects of fundraising, marketing, sales, communications, and special events, will serve as Interim General Director effective immediately. "In my first five years with Portland Opera, I had a chance to work closely with Chris, our senior team, and the Board of Directors to better serve our wonderful opera patrons, and to connect them with the artistic mission of our company," says Dixon. "I know first-hand that we have realized many great accomplishments, and also that we have great work ahead of us. As we look toward creating the future, we celebrate Chris's legacy at Portland Opera. I am honored to be able to build upon a strong artistic and community-based foundation for the company."