Houston picks ex-soprano as general director

Houston picks ex-soprano as general director


norman lebrecht

June 30, 2021

Houston Grand Opera has gone outside the magic circle of opera chiefs to name Khori Dastoor as general director.

Dastoor, 40, has risen at Opera San Jose from resident soprano to artistic advisor to general director. From next January, she will have a big stage on which to put her revivalism into practice.

“The problem I want to solve is how my children come to opera,” she said. “What they learn about it, what they think it is, how they consume it. The digital revolution has changed how they will interact with arts and culture. My interest is being on the front of how arts and culture institutions prepare for that. You can have your opinion about it, you can bemoan it, you can embrace it. I don’t judge it — I just see that it’s happening.”


  • MWnyc says:

    Wow. She only became general director in San Jose in the fall of 2019.

    • Knowing Clam says:

      You hit the nail on the head. Has she even had a–not COVID-adjusted–season there of her own doing?

      • Il Dottore says:

        Production history as General Director prior to HGO announcement:
        *Hansel and Gretel (revival programed by preceding GD)
        * Il trovatore (revival programed by preceding GD)
        * 2 Chamber Opera productions (recorded for streaming)
        There will be another recorded production for streaming and a live production of Dido and Aeneas prior to starting her new position in January 2022.

        An interesting interview by San Francisco Classical Voice: https://www.sfcv.org/articles/artist-spotlight/khori-dastoor-brings-opera-san-jose-forefront

        “I was naïve about the number of people who would engage with our content. I thought a larger number of people would be open to this, but I think there has been such a wave of stuff online that it’s overwhelming and the cost of marketing something in the digital space is a hundred times more. Our donors have been standing by us, but many of them don’t want to watch. I was naïve about how much you have to hustle for every click and every view. But I also undervalued our production team; they’ve had to adapt their entire artform to the camera. All of a sudden, the props have to be real, they can’t just look real, and the hair can’t just be a wig. And it’s only now that we’ve gone through this that I really do bow down to those people for their ability to pivot and continue to produce at such a high level. It’s a steep learning curve and we’re just at the beginning of it.”

  • James says:

    I think it’s a very forward-thinking choice. HGO has always taken chances and it mostly pays off. I wish them the best and look forward to seeing what happens.

  • Larry says:

    A giant leap for her, no question. In FY 2018-19, Opera San Jose had total income of $4 million. Houston Grand’s was $23 million. We wish her well.

    • Monsoon says:

      The raw numbers overstate just how much of a leap it is. Houston only does 6 productions a year, with 4 to 8 performances per production. San Jose does 4 productions and it looks like 6 performances each.

      Yeah, she’s going to have to raise a lot more money, but it’s not like she’s going to an opera house that is doing 5 to 6 productions a week between October and May.

    • Alphonse says:

      “We”? Do you have a mouse in your pocket?

  • John Kelly says:

    Interesting. I wonder how long it will be before Renee Fleming gets Peter Gelb’s job? (Suggestion = tomorrow morning). With a strong COO that should work a lot better than what we have now at the Met. Can you imagine donors (and I mean people with real money who haven’t been asked yet by Gelb) turning down Renee?

  • William Lansbury says:

    Say what you want but here we have an example of how it should be: a director who was/is a singer themselves and has an understanding of the business