Portland Opera hires Priti Gandhi as artistic director
After a lengthy search, Portland Opera has announced the hiring of its new artistic director.
Following the departure of Christopher Mattaliano a couple years ago, the Opera went in another direction, as Sue Dixon, the general manager, took over artistic leadership and guided the organization through the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday, Portland Opera named Priti Gandhi the company's new artistic director.
"She is an inspiring artistic leader, and I am excited to work with her as a collaborative partner to move the company forward — as we continue to realize Portland Opera's mission the community," Dixon said.
Gandhi will work with Dixon, as well as artistic advisors Karen Slack and Damien Geter, to guide the company as an artistic and strategic leader. It's a role that will include artistic and repertoire planning, casting, developing the resident artist program and directing the artistic department, which includes oversight of the company's community engagement and educational programs.
"It is clear to me that the company is committed to charting a course for meaningful change in our field, while honoring the very best of our art form," Gandhi said. "Portland Opera has a history of great artistic vision — presenting grand, traditional works—as well as those that push the boundaries of tradition. My first priority will be to listen to the staff and board, to our artists and community, to our patrons and stakeholders — in order to gain insight and further develop our work from a foundation of inclusion, respect, and joy."
Portland Opera, like most arts organizations, had to cancel its 2020-21 season, but it did produce online content and then put on some outdoor productions this year. It plans a full 2021-22 season, starting with "Tosca" in October.
Gandhi joins Portland Opera from Minnesota Opera, where she was named chief artistic officer in 2018. "Priti has been an extraordinary team leader for Minnesota Opera for the last three years," says Ryan Taylor, president and general director of Minnesota Opera. "At a time of critical change for our company, she has been guided by a steady focus to build a healthy creative environment for all artists and team members. While it's always difficult to lose a valued leader, I am excited to watch her career continue to grow and flourish, and for Portland Opera to start a new chapter with the benefit of her expertise and spirit."
She has sung with the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, Seattle Opera, Theatre du Chatelet, the Royal Opera House, Prague Estates Theatre, New York City Opera, Philadelphia Orchestra, and San Francisco Opera, among others.
Gandhi graduated with a bachelor of arts in communications and a minor in theatre from the University of California, San Diego, and has served as a published weekly columnist with the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper about life backstage and on the road.
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