Opera San Antonio is undergoing its second leadership change in recent months, with the hiring of Adam Diegel as artistic director. Diegel replaces Enrique Carreón-Robledo, who had been general and artistic director of the company since October 2016.
“Adam is really going to be a great addition to San Antonio,” said Blair Labatt, Opera San Antonio’s board chair, in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon. Labatt took over leadership of the company late last year after the retirement of its founding director, Mel Weingart.
“I feel like he’s one of us already, based on his previous experiences here,” Labatt said of Diegel, noting that Diegel performed the lead role in the company’s 2015 production of Madama Butterfly, and more recently the role of Don José in 2016’s Carmen.
Labatt said that Carreón-Robledo resigned “to pursue other opportunities,” adding, “Everything we’re doing is just trying to get the Opera to the next level, to be more stable and have the very best people we can.”
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Diegel comes to San Antonio from New York’s Metropolitan Opera, with which he has performed as a tenor since 2006. He spoke to the Rivard Report from rehearsals for a production of Tosca in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he will sing the lead tenor role of Cavaradossi with the Palm Beach Opera.
Of opera in San Antonio, Diegel said “the sky’s the limit,” and that he is excited to come to “a city where the arts are so vibrant and alive, and people are thirsty for artistic outlets.”
“I did not make the decision half-heartedly,” Diegel said. “If I didn’t see the possibilities of us doing something really special and great in San Antonio, I would never even have considered it.”
Diegel will take over the directorial role from Carreón-Robledo for the season-ending production of La bohème in May, and said that he looks forward to planning a grand production of La traviata in September to open the 2018-19 season.
As far as the future direction of the company, Diegel said that the productions will be familiar ones.
“It’s safe to say we’re going to stick with some of the ‘warhorse operas,’ the tried and true, iconic opera productions” like La traviata, Carmen, and The Barber of Seville. “They are as accessible as any of the great pieces of opera in the repertoire,” he said.
Diegel praised Carreón-Robledo as having “an impressive reputation within the community” of opera nationwide. Carreón-Robledo left after nearly 15 months with Opera San Antonio, having previously spent four years in Houston as artistic director of Opera in the Heights.
Now that an artistic director has been hired, Labatt said, the board will look to add an executive director, with details on the position to be discussed next week. “It’s important for the Opera at this stage to have strong, separate general management and artistic direction,” he said, adding, “we hope to be a long-term, stable, nonprofit resource for our city.”
La bohème will be performed at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts on May 17 and 19, and Diegel is currently holding auditions for lead roles.
“We’re really enthusiastic about where we’re going,” Labatt said of Opera San Antonio, “and La bohème is going to be the next step. And it’s going to be a great one.”