L.A. Opera shuffles top leadership positions


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Just days after renewing Plácido Domingo’s contract as general director through 2013, Los Angeles Opera has announced a shuffling of its top leadership roles.

Stephen Rountree, the president of L.A.'s Music Center, will add on the title of chief executive of L.A. Opera, taking over from Marc I. Stern, who will stay on as chairman of the board. Rountree has been filling in as chief operating officer for L.A. Opera since 2008.


Taking over the COO role will be Christopher Koelsch, who will juggle his new job with his current one as L.A. Opera’s vice president of artistic planning.

Both Rountree and Koelsch will report to Domingo, who remains the company’s top man.

In a brief interview between meetings, Rountree said that L.A. Opera is working on a path toward financial recovery. Last season, the company received a $14-million emergency loan, approved by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, to help cover costs.

Rountree said the company decided it didn’t want to shake up the leadership structure too much given its current financial health.

L.A. Opera said that it had recently laid off Jean Oelrich, its former director of marketing. ‘We had duplicative people and we were trying to cut costs,’ Rountree said. ‘Jean did a good job... but we felt we could handle that without her salary and position.’

The company kicks off its 25th-anniversary season Thursday with the world premiere production of Daniel Catan’s ‘Il Postino,’ starring Domingo, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

-- David Ng