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Tobias Picker Appointed As Artistic Director of Tulsa Opera

Tulsa Opera, one of the nation's most veteran regional opera companies and an historic incubator of rising vocal talent, has appointed Tobias Picker as its new Artistic Director effective June 1, 2016. Picker, who has been hailed by The Wall Street Journal as "our finest composer for the lyric stage," will collaborate with General Director/CEO Greg Weber on overall artistic vision for the company, selection of repertoire and production teams, and casting of singers.

Tobias Picker's internationally acclaimed compositions span five decades and a multiplicity of genres including opera, dance, and symphonic works. His work has been commissioned and presented by producers around the world including the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Covent Garden ROH2, New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, Glimmerglass, Santa Fe Opera, San Diego Opera, Dallas Opera, the BBC Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic, L'Orchestre de Paris, Munich Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and the Zurich Tonhalle, among many others.

Picker's most recent opera, Dolores Claiborne, based on the Stephen King novel, starred Patricia Racette at its world premiere presented by San Francisco Opera in September 2013. Dolores Claiborne was hailed as "a triumph" (Opera News), "a brilliant musical incarnation" (The Huffington Post), and "an unflinching addition to the repertoire" (San Francisco Chronicle). In addition to his work as a composer, Picker served as Artistic Advisor to New York's Dicapo Opera Theatre (2006-2009). He is founding Artistic Director of OPERA San Antonio, directing the company from 2009-2015. Concurrent with his position in Tulsa he serves as an artistic advisor to the General Director of the newly revived, New York City Opera in its new home at the Rose Theater at Lincoln Center. New York City Opera recently announced it commissioned Picker to compose his sixth opera titled "American Venus" for the company's 75th anniversary in 2019. The opera will be based on Audrey Munson, an early 20th century figure considered by some to be the first U.S. supermodel.

Greg Weber, General Director and CEO of Tulsa Opera (formerly of San Francisco Opera and Houston Grand Opera), commented: "I am thrilled to have the international talents of Tobias Picker join Tulsa Opera. Tobias is one of the most important composers I've worked with, and his passion for connecting audiences with opera surpasses any other artist I've known. His artistic leadership blended with his sublime skills with audience and artist cultivation promises to make Tulsa one of the most exciting opera cities in coming years."

Picker noted: "I am honored to have been asked to work with Greg Weber and the Tulsa Opera whose glorious past is well known throughout the opera world. I am extremely excited to become part of the Tulsa Opera family as we look down the road together toward a stellar future."

Now closing its 68th season, Tulsa Opera's mission is to produce professional opera of artistic integrity and enrich its region through innovative education and outreach programs. The company presents four productions annually at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. Its presence at TPAC, its Resident Artist Program (which draws young talent from across the U.S.), its accomplished Tulsa Youth Opera, as well as having the most extensive arts education program in Oklahoma, have established Tulsa Opera as a cornerstone arts organization in the southern central U.S. The company touches in excess of 30,000 people annually, drawing audiences from a five-state region.

Photo credit: Harry Heleotis

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