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Weinstein to take helm at Opera

Tuesday, May 04, 1999

By Robert Croan, Post-Gazette Music Critic

Mark Weinstein, Pittsburgh Opera's executive director since July 1997, has been named the company's general director, effective July 1, with a contract that will keep him here until 2004.

The decision, which was made at a meeting of the opera's board of directors in December but was not made public at the time, was confirmed yesterday by Stanley G. Russell Jr., current president of the board of directors; and Joseph A. Massaro Jr., who will replace Russell as president on July 1.

Also at the December board meeting, Tito Capobianco was offered an extension of his present contract as artistic director, which runs through June 2000. Last month, however, Capobianco announced that he would not renew his contract.

How this would have worked had Capobianco elected to stay on is a bit ambiguous. General director is the title Capobianco held from 1983-97, signifying duties that included both the business and artistic side. But Capobianco announced his decision to retire as general director in 1994, then one year later came back as artistic director, with Weinstein named executive director, to handle the business and administrative work.

As executive director and artistic director, respectively, Weinstein and Capobianco each report individually to the board. With his new title and dual responsibilities -- overseeing both business and artistic matters -- Weinstein will continue to report to the board. Capobianco's replacement would report to Weinstein.

Russell and Massaro said that Weinstein had been interested in attaining the general directorship from the start of his tenure here.

Weinstein said he would like to expand the season by adding a fifth opera, and the training programs and outreach and education remain priorities. But foremost in his mind are the performances.

"I think opera is about voice, voice, voice," he said. "I want to have better and better singers come to Pittsburgh."

Weinstein came to Pittsburgh with 12 years of administrative experience at New York City Opera. His most recent job was with National Artists and Management Company, a Broadway theatrical producing company that brought the successful revival of "Chicago" to New York.

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