Fort Worth — Tuomas Hiltunen, the Finn with a background in theater and opera who was appointed General Director of the Fort Worth Opera in 2017, resigned on Tuesday, Jan. 21. In an email to TheaterJones, Hiltunen only says that he stepped down "because of different visions of the direction and goals of the company."
A statement by the Fort Worth Opera was released late Friday night. The organization's 2020 festival begins in 2020, and includes the world premiere of the opera Zorro. Until a successor is appointed, board president Nelson E. Claytor, Ph.D. will take over the General Director duties.
The news release from FWO is below:
Fort Worth Opera’s Board of Trustees announced today that they have accepted the submitted resignation of General Director Tuomas Hiltunen. Mr. Hiltunen joined Fort Worth Opera in July of 2017. During his tenure, he established security and growth by streamlining expenditures, reducing administrative costs and overhead, and maintaining a balanced operating budget.
“Fort Worth Opera is grateful for Tuomas’ leadership over the past two seasons and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” said Nelson E. Claytor, Ph.D., Chair of the Board of Trustees. “As we move forward, our top priority is, and always has been, ensuring that the financial health of the company is secure for decades to come.”
Building upon his prior experience in the world of theater, Mr. Hiltunen was instrumental in establishing Fort Worth Opera’s Relaxed Performances program, which created a welcoming opera environment for audience members with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and learning disabilities. Presented in tandem with Fort Worth Opera’s Children’s Opera Theatre program, these modified performances offered a friendly, calming, and supportive environment for children with sensory differences to enjoy opera with their families. The company will continue to work with the Fort Worth ISD and local organizations throughout Tarrant County as this inspiring program evolves.
Preparations for Fort Worth Opera’s thrilling 2020 Festival (April 17 - May 3) are well underway. This season features star-studded performances of Puccini’s romantic masterpiece La Bohème, a riotous Roaring Twenties comedy, Revenge of the Bat (Die Fledermaus), and the world premiere of swashbuckling adventure Zorro. The company is eager to announce the 2021 line-up for its exhilarating 75th anniversary season in the months ahead. Fort Worth Opera looks towards a bright future as it proudly forges ahead as the oldest continually operating opera company in the state of Texas.
Until a successor is appointed, Nelson E. Claytor, Ph.D., has assumed the role and duties of Acting General Director. www.fwopera.org.