After a year-long search, snazzy and chic Opera in the Heights, better known as Oh!, has finally honed in on its new artistic director.
Mexican-born Enrique Carreón-Robledo will be the new maestro charged with taking the company to new heights and continuing to meet its mission of presenting fab works in a historic setting. Oh! is known for giving young and emerging opera singers a forum to grow and showcase their talents.
A year may seem like a long time to search, but it is customary for a decision of this magnitude to drag on as guest conductors grace the stage, one by one, month after month. William Weibel, Oh!'s former artistic director, served for 11 years.
Artistic directors of performing arts organizations the size of Oh! carry a daunting responsibility. Aside from choosing the season's repertoire and serving as principal conductor, Carreón-Robledo will also select each cast and guide the company's artistic journey.
Two candidates were up for the job, but ultimately it was Carreón-Robledo's superior focus that lured the board of directors into offering him the spot.
His first and only engagement with Oh! was earlier this year in a production of Verdi's Don Carlo.
"The orchestra loved him and the singers loved him," Fred Nevill, chairman of the board, said. "Everyone involved in the production gave positive feedback."
"He has a lot of excellent international experience in conducting both opera and ballet," Nevill continued. "He is a consummate musician, and knows where he wants to take Opera in the Heights. His vision for us matches our own view. We both envision growth of the company through pursuing greater excellence in artistry."
As the company continues to give young singers a place to begin their operatic careers, it was imperative for the board of directors to find a candidate that shared a similar passion.
"I embrace its mission and I shall continue, as I have done all through my professional life, to devote my talents, abilities, expertise and artistic efforts to the discovery and support of outstanding emerging talent," Carreón-Robledo said in a statement.
Having completed two doctoral degrees at the University of Texas at Austin (stage directing and conducting), Carreón-Robledo is familiar with Texas culture, especially as it relates to classical arts and music education.
Currently residing in London, he plans on moving to Houston with his wife Audrey over the summer.
Watch Enrique Carreón-Robledo conducting Hong Kong Philharmonic in Tosca: