Artistic Director

Date Posted: January 25, 2021
Application Deadline: Applications will be accepted until this position is filled.
Position Status: Full-Time / Regular / Exempt

Portland Opera is looking for an innovative Artistic Director who believes that the performing arts play a major role in bringing communities together; a leader who wants to uplift the Portland Opera community at a time when many citizens feel a need for healing as a result of effects from the pandemic, civil unrest, and social isolation. The ideal Artistic Director candidate will complement and contrast the current leadership team’s professional experience and cultural background, while participating in the strategic growth and fiscal sustainability of the organization.


The Artistic Director works in collaboration with the General Director, Artistic Advisors, and Producing Director to establish and carry out Portland Opera’s artistic vision and all related artistic activities, including direction for Portland Opera’s Resident Artist Program.

The Artistic Director oversees all permanent and seasonal artistic and production staff, artists, and projects, and is responsible for planning, casting, preparation, coordination, management and supervision of all artistic operations, including financial oversight and budgeting of all artistic-related elements, as well as artistic participation in education and community engagement programs.

The Artistic Director is part of Portland Opera’s Senior Management Team and works in close collaboration with, in addition to the positions mentioned above, the CFO, Director of Development, Director of Marketing, and General Manager Broadway.


  • An innovative, enthusiastic opera lover who wants to share their passion with the Portland Opera community.
  • An inspiring leader who can articulate an artistic vision and excite various constituents around a common goal.
  • A bold curator of artistic programs that invite community engagement and conversations, not afraid to tackle important current issues, while finding ways to reenergize and contextualize traditional operatic works.
  • An inclusive trailblazer who understands that empowering others is part of achieving our best work.
  • A mindful collaborator who believes in Portland Opera’s values, fosters an inclusive workspace and treats everybody with respect. Egos need not apply!


  • An artistic vision to add to Portland Opera’s future—with a proven track record of artistic and production collaboration in the meeting space, rehearsal room, and theatre.
  • A solid knowledge of operatic repertoire, including canonic and current works from a broad range of creators.
  • A commitment to looking at story telling through a diverse and equitable lens with a desire to amplify a variety of voices to help inspire our audiences and community.
  • A curiosity to expand your network and create new cross-disciplinary collaborations locally and nationally.
  • A strong sense of artist training and vocal development, with a desire to empower the next generation of artists.
  • An ability to negotiate a variety of contracts fairly yet steadfastly with the best outcome for all in mind.
  • A sensitivity to anticipating what people may need, where concerns may arise, and how to solve challenges with emotional intelligence and empathy.


 Artistic Planning & Casting

  • Plan repertoire in collaboration with General Director, Artistic Advisors, and Producing Director.
  • Make creative team and casting decisions for all productions and programs together with General Director and Artistic Advisors.
  • Initiate, execute, and oversee video content creation and other digital artistic projects in collaboration with Producing Director.
  • Attend and organize national and local auditions as well as performances to scout and evaluate talent and productions.
  • Negotiate guest artist and artistic project contracts with artist managers, and other external artistic organizations.
  • Participate in/lead AGMA, AFM, IATSE union conversations and negotiations with General Director and Producing Director.
  • Ensure that artistic and company ethics standards are upheld in rehearsals and performances.
  • Act as spokesperson for Portland Opera and present artistic information to public, Board, etc.

Portland Opera Resident Artist Program (PORA)

  • Direct and oversee all activities of the Portland Opera Resident Artist Program (PORA), including mainstage participation, recital planning, development department activities, community engagement activities, etc.
  • Establish annual roster of artists and their individual assignments in collaboration with Artistic Advisors and Producing Director based on national and local auditions and seasonal Portland Opera needs.
  • Organize PORA auditions in Portland and other cities.
  • Negotiate PORA contracts with participants.
  • Establish artistic goals for each participant and oversee artistic development.
  • Approve Lieber Award distribution for professional development.
  • Establish curriculum for PORA in collaboration with Artistic Advisors and Producing Director.
  • Ensure that artistic and company ethics standards are upheld in rehearsals and performances.

Department Administration

  • Establish multi-year artistic and PORA plans and budgets in collaboration with Producing Director and others, and ensure budgets are adhered to.
  • Oversee artistic department staff in processing of all contracts and procedures.
  • Oversee logistics for visiting guest artists and PORA participants.

Interdepartmental responsibilities

  • Act as spokesperson for Portland Opera.
  • Participate in fundraising activities, meetings, and events with the General Director and/or Director of Development.
  • Collaborate with the Development department for grant proposals by providing requested artistic-related information and materials as needed.
  • Collaborate with the Marketing department in creation of marketing materials by providing information about the current/upcoming season and artists, offering input and feedback as materials are being developed, and proofreading for accuracy of artist/cast information.
  • Provide in-depth information about upcoming seasons to Portland Opera staff.

(Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.)

Please note, this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice.



  • Expertise in operatic repertoire, programming, company creation, casting, etc.
  • Understanding of AFM and AGMA unions
  • Personal commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion practices
  • Personnel management and diplomatic conflict resolution skills
  • Understanding of young artist vocal and artistic development
  • Understanding of general HR expectations in today’s performing arts world
  • Excellent written and verbal communication
  • Public speaking facility


  • Experience producing commissions and/or premieres
  • Knowledge of other languages (It, Fr, Ge, Sp in particular)
  • Hiring and personnel management


This job requires creating and maintaining paper and computer files, as well as communicating using e-mail and telephone. Roughly 75% of the workday is spent working at a computer workstation. The workstation is lit with a combination of fluorescent and task lighting, as well as natural light.

In addition to computer workstation and telephone, the Artistic Director uses reproduction devices and office tools typical of an office environment.

Position requires extended periods of sitting. Some concentrated data entry using computer keyboard and mouse is required. Phone work is intermittent and usually not for prolonged periods of the workday. Occasional lifting tasks are required and are limited to 40 pounds or less without assistance. The Artistic Director’s desk, computer and seating are not shared and can be adjusted to make them more ergonomically comfortable.

Salary is competitive, based on experience. Benefit package available. Immediate opening until filled. Qualified candidates should forward a cover letter, including a paragraph about why you seek this position specifically in the Portland, OR market, as well as an outline of your “dream” season programming. Please also include your resume or C/V, and three references. Application materials should be submitted directly to Sue Dixon, General Director, No phone calls please.

Portland Opera offers productions of the highest artistic quality, bringing the world of opera to the region.  Over the past 55 years, the company has presented more than 200 operas, including world premieres. In addition to its annual season, the company is also renowned for its outreach and educational initiatives, including Portland Opera-To-Go, Opera a la Cart, and its Resident Artists Program, which supports the next generation of opera singers.

Throughout the past year, Portland Opera staff, board, and company members have worked to redefine and articulate a new vision, mission, and values for the company.  These will be made public in early March.

At Portland Opera, we are committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace and we are an equal opportunity employer.  Portland Opera Association will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment based on race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability, protected veteran status, or other characteristics protected by law. We are committed to eliminating barriers to access and equity and see a diverse workforce as a key step toward this goal. We invite you to join us on our journey.

Portland Opera is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization and an Equal Opportunity Employer.