The Lyric Opera of Kansas City today announced what it termed a “major artistic reorganization” that eliminates the role of artistic director and brings it in line with some other opera companies where artistic leadership is one of the general director’s key responsibilities.
As previously reported, former artistic director Ward Holmquist is no longer part of the Lyric staff. Holmquist announced his departure last week in response to press queries about his status with the company.
According to today’s announcement, the reorganization followed a yearlong planning process undertaken by the board of directors and staff to restructure management while “remaining committed to artistic excellence.”
Now, according to the statement, Deborah Sandler, general director and CEO, is responsible for creating an artistic vision and will choose the seasons at the Kauffman Center as well as other artistic programming.
“The general director will be responsible for choosing repertoire, stage directors, conductors and all other artists,” the statement says. “Creative consultants with specialized skills and will join the organization as needed on a project-by-project basis of new planned artistic initiatives.”
Sandler, who previously was the general director of Kentucky Opera, became the Lyric’s top executive in 2012. The plan also calls for Sandler to broaden the company’s “community footprint” by partnering with other community organizations, among other things. At this year’s KC Fringe, for example, the Lyric will collaborate with the Coterie’s Young Playwrights Roundtable and the UMKC Conservatory’s Composers in the Schools program to produce a performance called “Words Plus Music.”
Today’s announcement reports that the Lyric currently has $27.4 million in assets, including endowment funds. The Lyric’s 2015-16 season opens with “Don Giovanni” on Sept. 26 at the Kauffman Center.