Longtime Long Beach Opera artistic and general director, Andreas Mitisek, will leave the company September 2020 following its 2020 season, LBO announced Wednesday. He will have led LBO for 17 years.
Mitisek, who informed the board of his decision on June 29, will continue to work, but as a freelance director on projects in the United States and Europe, and will be invited to collaborate on future LBO productions.
Mitisek became LBO’s principal conductor in ’98, and artistic and general director in 2003, according to the press material. During that time, LBO grew from two to five operas per season, and expanded its budget from $430,000 in 2003 to $1.6 million in 2018, with season subscriptions up 500%.
“My life, my thinking, my work, my relationships have been defined by Long Beach Opera and have also defined LBO,” Mitisek said in a statement. “It’s time now to embark on new adventures, and for LBO to have new artistic leadership as well. I am pleased to be able to leave the company in the very capable and passionate hands of its leadership, including Jennifer Rivera, Executive Director and C.E.O. and Board President Dr. Robert Braun.”
Long Beach Opera’s reputation for putting on some of the most innovative productions around, oftentimes in non-traditional venues, was largely thanks to Mitisek. Works like “Fallujah” and “The Central Park Five” were not staged to make audiences feel good, but to encourage viewers to think about major issues that still permeate society today and how the arts can help encourage those conversations.
Learn all about what went into bringing The Central Park Five to life on Episode #3 of “CAN YOU HEAR ME, LONG BEACH?”, where Mitisek speaks about the lauded production. His background as a young symphony fan growing up in Vienna, to how he championed the growth of the local company, is another story worth reading.
Rivera, Braun and the board have begun their search for the next artistic director. Rivera, who left a 20-year career as a Grammy-nominated opera singer to pursue arts administration in 2017, and, as LBO’s current executive director, will guide the company through this next chapter.
Mitisek will oversee and be artistically involved in all LBO’s productions next year, including Purcell’s “King Arthur,” Peter Maxwell Davies’ “The Lighthouse,” Gavin Bryars’ “Billy the Kid” and Robert X Rodriguez’s “Frida.”
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