Appointment of new Artistic Director

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MICHAEL HUNT has been appointed as CTO’s new artistic director from April 2021.

Cape Town Opera is delighted to announce the highly accomplished opera and theatre director and producer Michael Hunt as its new Artistic Director. Hunt’s appointment follows an extensive search with applications received from around the world as well as from within South Africa. He will take up the position with the company by April 2021.

Hunt’s work in opera started as Staff Director at the English National Opera where he worked with a number of distinguished directors. He has directed new productions for Perm State Opera; Opera North; Scottish Opera; Opera Ireland; Wexford Festival; Las Palmas Festival; Portland Opera; Faroe Islands Festival; Cannes; Saumur; Le Mans; Bolzano and Operadagen Rotterdam.

Based in the United Kingdom, he has worked as an Artistic Director at the Cheltenham Arts Centre, Co-Opera Ireland and Theatre Royal Waterford. He also served as the Chief Executive of Wexford Opera Festival in Ireland.

Hunt also enjoys an international reputation for directing and producing cultural programmes and has been honoured by both the Russian and Irish Governments for his work in the field. His expertise in site-specific work has seen him directing the world’s largest, Fidelio in the Gulag in Russia with a cast of more than 600; Der Freischutz in 10 English Heritage properties; and Tosca in Waterford’s Cathedral, Bishop’s Palace and Theatre Royal.

Michael Hunt said: “Cape Town Opera’s 21 year history as one of the most important performing arts companies in the country is inspiring. South Africa and Cape Town itself has always had an exceptional level of creativity and innovation, and has a unique and world-class cultural ecology. I’m tremendously honoured to be invited to contribute to that, and to have been appointed Artistic Director at this ground-breaking opera company. I have no family in South Africa and my first visit will hopefully be this year the moment a flight becomes available from the UK. I am delighted to take over from Matthew Wild, who enjoys a high reputation as an interesting director and to joining the Cape Town Opera team, led by Chairperson Susan Smith, a very dynamic Board and CTO’s Interim MD Africa Melane, as we look forward to the future of this unique company in building an extraordinary powerhouse for opera in Cape Town, South Africa and the World.”

Chairperson of the Cape Town Opera Board of Directors, Mrs Susan Smith, said: “We are very excited to welcome Michael Hunt who brings to CTO his rich knowledge, breadth of experience and deep love of opera together with his keen desire to share this with young South African artists looking to make their career in this vibrant art form.”

In March 2021, Cape Town Opera will bid a sad farewell to its current Artistic Director, Matthew Wild, whose dynamic six year tenure at the company has been marked by a highly successful expansion of the company’s artistic horizons, while cementing the company’s reputation as a nurturing ground for outstanding young South African talent.

“Matthew’s artistic leadership of Cape Town Opera has been distinguished by his clarity of vision coupled with the finely-tuned creative intuition and intelligence with which he probes sensitive social issues on the opera stage. We bid farewell to a good friend and wish him continued success in his exploration of major operatic works.” says Mrs Smith.

Wild will depart from CTO to dedicate more time to his increasingly demanding international directing career, with new productions of Macbeth at the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, Parsifal at Konzert Theater Bern, and Königskinder at the Tiroler Festspiele Erl following in quick succession in 2021.