charles mackay, General Director
Charles MacKay, General Director of The Santa Fe Opera, is only the third individual to hold this title in the Company's 55 year history; the other two being the founder, John Crosby (1957-2000) and Richard Gaddes (2000-2008). Mr. MacKay's tenure began October 1, 2008.
Mr. MacKay's association with The Santa Fe Opera is a long one. Raised in Santa Fe, his first professional involvement in the field of opera was as a French horn player in The Santa Fe Opera Orchestra. Subsequently, he held a number of positions with the Company, including Box Office Manager, Development and Sales Manager, and finally, Business Manager.
He left Santa Fe in 1979 to join the Spoleto Festival U.S.A. in Charleston, South Carolina, and the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, eventually becoming Acting General Manager. In 1984, Mr. MacKay was invited by Richard Gaddes to serve as Executive Director of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (OTSL). He was named General Director the following year, remaining there for 23 years, until 2008. During Mr. MacKay's tenure at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, the company gained national and international acclaim for the presentation of innovative repertory and the discovery of important young singers.
Mr. MacKay served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of OPERA America, the national service organization to the field, for eight years until June, 2008, and remains a member of the Board. A frequent adjudicator for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, he is a member of the Curtis Institute of Music Board of Overseers and the Board of the William M. Sullivan Musical Foundation. He also served as Chairman of the Opera-Music Theater panel of the National Endowment for the Arts. He is the recipient of a Missouri Arts Award in recognition of his contribution to the advancement of the arts in Missouri; a Doctor of Music honoris causa from the University of Missouri-St. Louis; and the St. Louis Arts & Education Council's Excellence in the Arts Award.