9 February 2018
SFO Names General Director
By Daniel Zillmann
Susan G. Marineau, President of Santa Fe Opera, announced today the appointment of Robert K. Meya as General Director, effective October 1, 2018. Meya has served as Director of External Affairs at Santa Fe Opera since March of 2012. He will be the fourth General Director in the company’s 62-year history. As General Director, Meya will provide executive leadership, strategic direction, and administrative oversight for Santa Fe Opera.
In accepting his appointment as General Director and assuming the title of General Director Designate, Meya announced that he will name Alexander Neef Santa Fe Opera’s first Artistic Director. Neef will hold this role (subject to INS approval) in addition to his position as General Director of the Canadian Opera Company. Meya will appoint Harry Bicket, Santa Fe Opera’s Chief Conductor since 2013 and Artistic Director of The English Concert, to be the company’s Music Director. Reporting to the General Director and in collaboration with the Music Director, the Artistic Director will ensure the highest possible standard of excellence in every aspect of Santa Fe Opera’s artistic operations. Neef’s and Bicket’s new positions will be effective on October 1, 2018.
“It was no surprise that the pool of candidates for General Director of Santa Fe Opera included some of the most accomplished and highly regarded individuals in the world of opera,” said President of Santa Fe Opera Susan G. Marineau. “We were engaged in this process non-stop for the last six months. Robert Meya is the best qualified successor to Charles MacKay and former General Directors John Crosby and Richard Gaddes.”
“It is truly humbling to be following in the footsteps of giants like Charles MacKay, Richard Gaddes, and John Crosby,” said General Director Designate Robert K. Meya. “I am deeply grateful to Charles, who has been my inspiration and my mentor over the last six years, and am especially thankful that I will have the next eight months to work closely by his side. I am confident that the team that I am creating – a triumvirate of sorts – will be able to rise to the challenges of the future. I am honored to have two leading figures in the field of opera joining me at the helm of this great company: Alexander Neef as Artistic Director and Harry Bicket as Music Director.”
“Robert Meya represents a new generation in top-tier opera management," said General Director Charles MacKay. “It has been a great privilege for me to have collaborated so closely with him over the last six years. Not only does Robert have a stellar record in the industry, he knows our company inside and out, is well-respected by the Board, and understands the community of Santa Fe and the Opera’s unique place in the culture and economy of New Mexico. Like all three general directors who came before him, Robert began his career in opera at SFO. He has had significant experience in fundraising, marketing, Board relations, finance, and other areas fundamental to the operation of a major opera company. With the superb Santa Fe Opera staff and one of the most dedicated, generous, and engaged Boards any opera leader could want, I know the company will be in great hands.”
“Santa Fe Opera is one of the most renowned cultural organizations in North America and I am thrilled to join its team,” said COC General Director and SFO Artistic Director Designate Alexander Neef. “The COC and SFO both share an uncompromising commitment to artistic excellence, as evidenced by the successful co-productions we’ve mounted together in recent years. This role is an exciting opportunity to carry forward the artistic legacy of Santa Fe Opera and continue advancing the operatic art form in one of the most remarkable theaters in the world.”
“I am thrilled with Robert’s appointment, and hugely looking forward to working with him and Alexander Neef on planning for future seasons,” said SFO Chief Conductor, The English Concert Artistic Director, and Music Director Designate Harry Bicket. “Charles’ legacy will continue to grow and expand, and the SFO could not be in safer or more inspirational hands.”
Meya’s appointment follows the announcement in August 2017 that Charles MacKay will step down after the 2018 season when MacKay will have completed ten seasons as General Director and 20 years of cumulative service to Santa Fe Opera. 2018 also marks 50 years since the first engagement of his career in opera. Meya follows MacKay and only two other General Directors in Santa Fe Opera’s 62-year history: Richard Gaddes (2000-2008) and Santa Fe Opera Founder John O’Hea Crosby (1957-2000).
Biographies of General Director Charles MacKay, General Director Designate Robert K. Meya, Artistic Director Designate Alexander Neef, and Music Director Designate Harry Bicket can be found at santafeopera.org/leadership.