Thursday, September 8, 2011

New chiefs at Virginia Opera

Russell P. Allen, who served as the administrative chief of Virginia Opera from 1994 to 2000, will return to the company as its chief executive officer, succeeding Paul A. “Gus” Stuhlreyer III in the post as of Sept. 19.

Allen has managed a number of arts organizations, including Atlanta Opera, the Phoenix Symphony and the ballet companies of Orlando and Washington. He also has served as an independent arts consultant and with programs of the National Endowment for the Arts and OPERA America.

“When Russell last served as our chief executive, we reached unprecedented heights in subscription and ticket sales and contributed revenues,” Alan D. Albert, president of the Virginia Opera board, said in a prepared statement, adding that under Allen’s leadership the company “seek[s] to repeat those successes.”

Virginia Opera also announced that John Kennelly, the company’s producing director since 2000, will become its interim artistic director. Kennelly has held production management posts with Michigan Opera Theatre, Central City Opera in Colorado, Pennsylvania Opera Theatre of Philadelphia and other entities.

Robin Thompson, named artistic advisor of Virginia Opera last year after the dismissal of longtime artistic chief Peter Mark, will continue in that post as the company runs an international search for an artistic director and music director.

Albert said the search will be conducted over the next year, with appointments expected to be made in time for the 2013-14 season.

Stuhlreyer will maintain an affiliation with Virginia Opera as a consultant on its endowment-fund campaign, Teresa Annas reports in The Virginian-Pilot: