After serving as the Company's Artistic Director for eight years, Christopher Hahn was appointed General Director of Pittsburgh Opera on June 26, 2008.
Classically trained as a stage director and actor in his native South Africa, Mr. Hahn began his opera career with San Francisco Opera as a Rehearsal Assistant, moving up through the ranks to Rehearsal Administrator and ultimately Director of the San Francisco Opera Center. During his 13-year tenure with San Francisco Opera, Mr. Hahn directed numerous productions; managed the world-renowned Merola Opera Program; and instituted the first company Education programs, integrating them into the Adler Fellowship Program. He also led a tour of Puccini's La bohème to Japan and the annual Singer Tours to the Pacific Rim region.
In 1996, Mr. Hahn became Artistic Administrator for Los Angeles Opera, working with Placido Domingo and founding director Peter Hemmings. There he worked extensively with singers, conductors, stage directors, stage and costume designers and lighting designers as well as managed the company's Resident Artist program.
In 2000, Mr. Hahn came to Pittsburgh Opera as Artistic Director and immediately began to make his mark – introducing Baroque and contemporary operas presented in a variety of production styles and presenting some of the most groundbreaking operas in North America. The many artistic triumphs under Mr. Hahn's leadership include the critically-acclaimed Dead Man Walking and the contemporary work Street Scene, as well as the premier of the newly revised operatic version of Steinbeck's epic The Grapes of Wrath. To complement his innovative acumen, Mr. Hahn has also overseen several acclaimed period productions. This range of artistic intellect will be seen in the 2009-10 season productions of Eugene Onegin, Falstaff, The Rape of Lucretia, Carmen and The Marriage of Figaro.
Known for his expertise in recognizing new vocal talent and his ability to cultivate emerging professional singers, Mr. Hahn has overseen the Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist Program as both Artistic and General Director. Today, the program is hailed as one of the country's leading training programs for young professional singers and Mr. Hahn continues to advance the Resident Artist Program by expanding the program's repertoire to include works ranging from Monteverdi to Britten. Recent graduates of the Resident Artist Program have won several major competitions including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Awards, the George London Awards and the National Opera Association Vocal Competition; and have performed with major national and international opera companies.
In addition to his cultivation of Pittsburgh Opera's Resident Artists, Mr. Hahn is also a frequent jury member on various voice competitions and auditions, including the Heinz Awards, the Bernstein Competition in Jerusalem, the Francisco Viñas Competition in Barcelona, Plácido Domingo's Operalia Competition in Puerto Rico, the McAllister Awards, the Tucker Awards and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
As General Director, Mr. Hahn has overseen the Company's move in April 2008 to the historic George Westinghouse Air Brake Factory in Pittsburgh's Strip District and is leading the charge for a green initiative in the new headquarters. With a commitment to environmental stewardship and ongoing sustainability, the Company plans to obtain a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Existing Building Certification from the US Green Building Council, making Pittsburgh Opera's headquarters the oldest building certified in Pittsburgh and the Company the first opera company in the United States to obtain certification.
General Director Christopher Hahn has had a profound artistic and professional impact on the community, the city of Pittsburgh and the tri-state area, making Pittsburgh Opera a vital, active center of culture, stewardship and sustainability.