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Anthony Roth Costanzo

Anthony Roth Costanzo appointed General Director and President of Opera Philadelphia

The countertenor and producer who “exists to transform opera” will lead the company known as “a hotbed of operatic innovation”

The Opera Philadelphia Board of Directors has unanimously approved the appointment of Anthony Roth Costanzo as General Director and President effective June 1, 2024. A GRAMMY-winning countertenor and creative producer who ”exists to transform opera” (The New York Times), Costanzo will shape the future of a company known as “a hotbed of operatic innovation” (The New York Times), overseeing fundraising and business strategies, audience development, community initiatives, and artistic planning.

He will continue his singing career, which has taken him to the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, English National Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Philadelphia, the New York Philharmonic, and The Philadelphia Orchestra, among many others. Costanzo has also thrived as a producer and curator, creating and producing the New York Philharmonic’s celebrated Bandwagon initiative during the Covid-19 pandemic, deepening community relationships through pop-up neighborhood concerts. He premiered the operatic art installation Glass Handel at Opera Philadelphia’s second Festival O in 2018. The large-scale performance attracted stars from visual art, film, fashion, and dance, sold out three performances at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, and went on to sold-out runs in New York and London. He most recently performed with Opera Philadelphia in 2022, leading the fundraising concert Only an Octave Apart with Justin Vivian Bond, based on their studio album of the same name.

“We set the goal of finding a new, creative leader who would be capable of taking Opera Philadelphia to even greater levels of artistic and business success. Of the nearly 40 impressive candidates reviewed, Anthony Roth Costanzo rose to the top and emerged as the ideal leader at this important time in our history,” said Stephen K. Klasko, Chair of Opera Philadelphia’s Board of Directors. “Anthony is a visionary, innovative, and strategic thinker, and an artist of unsurpassed quality. It is unprecedented for an opera singer in the prime of his performing career to take on this type of CEO role at a major opera company. He will set a new paradigm for our industry as a working artist running the business side of an organization.”

The leadership role at Opera Philadelphia is an artistic homecoming for Costanzo, who began performing professionally at the age of 11 and has since appeared in opera, concert, recital, film, and on Broadway.

“Opera Philadelphia makes art at the highest level, and this incredible company has been a part of my artistic life for the past 30 years,” said Costanzo. “I distinctly remember standing behind the curtain at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia listening to the audience roar. It was 1996, and I had just finished singing the shepherd boy in Tosca starring Luciano Pavarotti. Before he went in front of the curtain to take his bow, he extended his hand for me to come with him. As I stood beside that lion of opera, looking out at an audience that he had single-handedly introduced to this art form, I knew that I not only wanted to be a part of this tradition, but I also wanted to be part of carrying it forward in an impactful way. Little did I know that I would return to the same stage to star in an opera myself with Opera Philadelphia some twenty-odd years later. But singing in operas has only been part of my journey as an artist. I have found that perhaps the greatest impact I can have comes in what I produce, create, imagine, and what stories I can help find a voice.”

Costanzo will be the seventh General Director since the company was founded in 1975, succeeding David B. Devan, whose 18-year tenure with the company, including 13 years as General Director, concludes on May 31, 2024.

“I want to thank everyone who contributed to the rigorous and equitable search for Opera Philadelphia’s next General Director, especially the members of the search committee alongside Chartise Clark and Stephen Milbauer of Koya Partners, who skillfully managed the process,” said Opera Philadelphia Board member David Ferguson, who served as search committee chair. “We met with an incredibly impressive pool of talented candidates who recognize the important standing Opera Philadelphia holds in our city and on a world stage. In Anthony Roth Costanzo, we have identified a leader who will build on the company’s practices of artistic achievement, new work development, inclusion, and community service.”

“Anthony Roth Costanzo is one of the most gifted and intelligent artists to ever perform with Opera Philadelphia, and he is the ideal choice to lead the company as we enter our upcoming 50th season,” said Corrado Rovaris, the company’s Jack Mulroney Music Director, who served on the search committee. “I look forward to partnering with Anthony and the talented staff and artists who make Opera Philadelphia such a special and vital place.”

Read the full press release.