The Fort Worth Opera continues to build its management team going forward. Last week, the troupe announced that Plácido Domingo had joined in an administrative capacity. Now comes word that longtime conductor Joe Illick is making the step up to artistic director, while Tuomas Hiltunen comes to Fort Worth as general director.
We know Illick; it’s Hiltunen who’s new to the area. The 45-year-old native of Finland trained as an actor in London’s prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and you may have seen him in the 2009 film Confessions of a Shopaholic as a Nokia executive who gets slapped in the face by Isla Fisher. Actually, check the end of the movie’s trailer:
He has been working at Columbia University as a lecturer on Finnish studies, as well as serving as administrative director of the Barenboim-Said Foundation, an organization in Palestine devoted to promoting Jewish-Arab coexistence through music. In today’s press release, Hiltunen says, “I am honored to be part of the Fort Worth community and Fort Worth Opera. I would like to thank the association for giving me a chance to lead this fine organization in its mission toward excellence. I am looking forward to sharing thrilling experiences of music and theater with the broader Fort Worth community, and to bringing in new and expanded audiences to share our passion for this ever-changing art form.” Presumably, he’ll handle the business end of things while Illick handles the artistic end. We’ll see what this team has for us in the summer of 2018.