San Francisco Opera appoint Shilvock as general director

Matthew Shilvock has been appointed as the new general director of San Francisco Opera (SFO), taking over from David Gockley who will retire in July next year. By that time Gockley will have been an opera director for a staggering 44 years, the last 10 spent at SFO.

‘[Shilvock] understands this Company’s complex operations, has strong artistic and management credentials and is perfectly positioned to build upon the success of David Gockley’s tenure,’ said SFO president Keith Geeslin.

Shilvock has been considered Gockley’s protégé since he joined the company in 2005. He has been associate general director since 2010.

‘San Francisco Opera has a long tradition of finding, nurturing and celebrating the very finest talents…I am committed to ensuring that we remain on the forefront of artistic excellence and innovation,’ said Shilvock. He also praised the work of outgoing Gockley, describing him as ‘One of the greatest American opera impresarios.’

Indeed, Gockley’s era has been a period of sustained artistic success, with world premieres of works like Philip Glass’ Appomattox. On the financial side, SFO revenue increased 4.4 per cent in 2014 on the previous year, with a USD37m (€33.2m) income, while its endowment grew by 11 per cent to USD164.7m over the same period.

Gockley praised the SFO board’s selection of Shilvock, saying that ‘Matthew Shilvock is not only the best choice to succeed me, he is the ideal choice,’ and added that, ‘He has been at my right hand every step of the way through critical production, planning and budget meetings, and taken on more authority as time has gone by.’

As associate general director Shilvock already leads the music operations, electronic media, education, artist training and rehearsal departments at SFO.

Gockley’s final season includes productions of Sweeney Todd, Lucia Di Lammermoor and The Magic Flute in 2015, followed by Carmen, Don Carlo and Jenufa in 2016.


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