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Opera Theatre of St. Louis names D.C. opera’s Andrew Jorgensen as general director

Opera Theatre of St. Louis premiered Champion by Terence Blanchard and Michael Cristofer in 2013.
Opera Theatre of St. Louis

Opera Theatre of St. Louis’ departing general director and his replacement may very well pass each other on the way to their new jobs.

The St. Louis organization has announced that Andrew Jorgensen will become its new general director. Jorgensen comes to St. Louis from the Washington National Opera in Washington, D.C., where he directs artistic planning and operations. It’s the same organization where current Opera Theatre general director Timothy O’Leary is heading July 1 to become general director there.

“It’s certainly an ironic twist of fate,” Jorgensen said. “I think the opera world is small and many people know each other.”

Opera: ‘The ultimate team sport’

Jorgensen looks forward to collaborating with everyone in St. Louis, from musicians to donors.

“I really think of opera as the ultimate team sport,” Jorgensen said.

Newly named general director Andrew Jorgensen has been coming to see Opera Theatre of St. Louis' performances every summer since 2013.
Credit Opera Theatre of St. Louis
Newly named general director Andrew Jorgensen has been coming to see Opera Theatre of St. Louis performances every summer since 2013.

Jorgensen has worked at the Washington National Opera for six years. He will move to St. Louis this summer with his husband Mark Stuart-Smith.

Before joining the Washington organization, Jorgensen was an associate director on the artistic staff at the New York Metropolitan Opera.

O’Leary is leaving Opera Theatre of St. Louis after 10 years. Under his guidance, the local organization hit a fundraising milestone in 2016, raising $6.3 million, an increase of 15 percent from the previous fiscal year. It also drew a younger and more racially diverse audience.

During O’Leary’s tenure, the company performed world premieres of “Champion,” “27” and “Shalimar the Clown.” It also staged the controversial “The Death of Klinghoffer” and debuted a new abbreviated version of “Grapes of Wrath.”

“I want to continue to ensure that the opera-going experience is fun and joyful,” Jorgensen said. “There’s nothing wrong with opera being fun.”

Follow Nancy on Twitter: @NancyFowlerSTL

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.

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