Seattle’s Most Influential People 2019: Former General Director of the Seattle Opera, Aidan Lang

During his five-year tenure, Lang helped grow the opera's audience, especially with younger crowds

This article appears in print in the November 2019 issue, as part of the Most Influential People of the Year feature. Click here to subscribe.

Aidan Lang served as Seattle Opera’s general director for just five years prior to joining the Welsh National Opera, but he left a legacy that promises to set the tone for generations of opera fans. During his tenure, which ended in June with the close of last season, Lang grew the company’s mainstage audience from 67,000 to 85,000 and attracted a younger crop of opera aficionados. As a result, millennial audiences have nearly quadrupled—a notable achievement in a genre typically populated by patrons of a certain age.

Known for taking risks with cutting-edge productions, Lang wanted Seattle Opera to reflect the city in all its tech glory, and last winter, launched the West Coast debut of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs to rave reviews. In addition, Lang generated conversations about race and justice through performances of Aida and last season’s Porgy and Bess.

The sparkling new Opera Center, adjacent to McCaw Hall, embodies Lang’s vision of integrating Seattle Opera and the community. Programming, designed to attract all ages, includes group sing-alongs, talks, the chamber opera series, along with musical storytelling and camps for kids.

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