Santa Fe Opera chief steps down

Santa Fe Opera chief steps down


norman lebrecht

August 12, 2017

General Director Charles Mackay, 67, has decided to retire after 11 years in the job:

Dear Friends,

Earlier this afternoon during our quarterly meeting, I advised the Santa Fe Opera Board of Directors that I will conclude my tenure as General Director at the end of next September, after our 2018 season. I wanted to let you know immediately of this decision, which I’ve made after a great deal of thought about the timing for such a transition.

Next season marks fifty years for my career in opera, including two decades with The Santa Fe Opera and ten years as General Director here. As I hope you know, this company has been dear to me since my first Youth Night performance of Die Fledermaus at the age of nine. After that unforgettable evening I was hooked, and thus began a lifelong love affair with The Santa Fe Opera, where I started as a 13-year-old parking lot attendant and went on to positions with the orchestra, backstage, and in the business office. Returning home to lead this company was an incredible honor, and I am deeply grateful as I reflect on my years here.

Thanks to your wonderful generosity and friendship, this company is stronger in every way than ever before. So much has been accomplished thanks to so many, and I am excited to watch — from here in Santa Fe! — as The Santa Fe Opera moves forward under new leadership.

As I look ahead, tickets for our exciting 2018 season are on sale and we will soon celebrate the very successful completion of our $45 million Setting the Stage campaign. Beyond this, I am pleased to report that the 2019 season is planned, with the 2020 season nearly set, too. I firmly believe that The Santa Fe Opera is well positioned to build on its tradition of excellence and will work with the Board to ensure a smooth transition.

For now, it is back to work. I look forward to seeing many of you during the remaining weeks of this season — one that I hope you have enjoyed as much as I have.


General Director