LBO chief Andreas Mitisek announces he’s heading out in 2020

Long Beach Opera announced today that Andreas Mitisek (pictured), their longtime artistic director, will be stepping down from that post at the end of the coming season. The innovative director has built LBO into a bastion of contemporary opera, with many years of new productions and new works creating a norm of their own that is based on edgy staging and a devoted following.

Mitisek leaves this post so he can focus more on directing and less on arts administration. He’s leaving with a bang, as the coming 2020 line-up features four unusual works (including one reprise from two seasons ago) that should combine into an intriguing final season for the maestro. The company’s search for a replacement is underway, and we’ll keep you posted as more information becomes available.

Press release follows.

Artistic and General Director Andreas Mitisek departing Long Beach Opera in September 2020

Long Beach, CA | July 10, 2019 — Andreas Mitisek announced that he will depart from his position as Long Beach Opera (LBO) Artistic and General Director in September 2020, following LBO’s 2020 season.  Mitisek informed the board of his decision not to renew his contract at a board meeting on June 29.

At that time, Mitisek will have led the company for 17 years.  Following his departure, he will continue his career as a freelance director and conductor, with engagements throughout the United States and Europe.  The Board confirmed that Mitisek will be invited to collaborate on future LBO productions as a freelance artist.

Andreas Mitisek became LBO’s principal conductor in 1998 and Artistic and General Director in 2003. Under Mitisek’s leadership, LBO grew from 2 to 5 operas per season, and the supporting operating budget has expanded from $430,000 in 2003, to $1.6M in 2018, and season subscriptions have increased by over 500%. By exploring unorthodox venues, he has been able to attract new audiences for opera and uphold LBO’s artistic vision by presenting 20th century and rare works.

Mitisek said, “My life, my thinking, my work, my relationships have been defined by Long Beach Opera and have also defined LBO.  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.”

Board President Braun said, “Long Beach Opera has an international reputation for being an unusually innovative arts organization thanks, in large part, to Andreas’ brilliant artistic leadership. We at LBO are so grateful for his years of service to the organization and are also thrilled that in Jennifer Rivera we have an Executive leader with a strong artistic background that will help shepherd us into the next era of excellence for LBO.”

Rivera, Braun and the Long Beach Opera Board have commenced a search to find the next Artistic Director for the company. After a two decade career as a Grammy nominated opera singer, Rivera left her performing career to become an Arts Administrator in May of 2017, first as Development Director and then as Executive Director for Long Beach Opera.

Rivera said, “Andreas Mitisek’s impact on the Long Beach Opera, and the entire opera industry, has been profound. He has worked to push the boundaries of opera, expanding the way people produce opera all around the country with his innovative, bold artistic choices. Long Beach Opera has grown tremendously under his leadership.”

Mitisek will oversee and be artistically involved in all four of LBO’s 2020 season productions, which include Purcell’s King Arthur, Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse, Gavin Bryars’ Billy the Kid and Robert X Rodriguez’s Frida.

Long Beach Opera just completed its highly successful 2019 season by presenting the world premiere of Anthony Davis’ The Central Park Five, which LBO commissioned and produced to full houses and coast to coast recognition. The season also included Steve Reich’s Three Tales, Bach/Sylvian’s The Black Cat and Philip Glass’ In The Penal Colony.”

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