Welsh National Opera (WNO) has announced that Aidan Lang will retire from his role as general director at the end of this year, following four years in the role and more than 40 working in opera internationally.

Lang began his opera career at Glyndebourne, before joining WNO in the 1980s as staff director, directing the small tour productions of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville (1816) and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel (1893).

In 1990 he was appointed the first artistic director of Opera Zuid, a then newly created touring company based in Maastricht in the Netherlands. He also worked as artistic director of the Buxton Festival, general director of New Zealand Opera and general director of Seattle Opera, where he oversaw the development of a new $60m opera centre.

He returned to Wales’s national opera company in July 2019 to take up the role of general director. He will remain in the role until Christmas, when WNO’s current programming comes to an end. He plans to spend more time with his wife, the former opera singer, vocal coach and director, Linda Kitchen.

“For me, like so many others, WNO is where my opera career truly began, and it has been an enormous privilege to head up this wonderful company,” Lang commented.

“Having worked in opera in different roles continuously for over 40 years, I feel the time is now right for me to enjoy more time with my family and for someone else to take WNO to its next chapter. My love for opera was ignited as a student in Birmingham watching WNO productions, and I am thoroughly looking forward to returning as an audience member.”

During his time as general director at WNO, Aidan Lang steered the company through some testing times. He oversaw a new digital programme during the Covid lockdown which included programming a digital version of Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine (The Human Voice, 1959), and led the company towards its first live performances following lockdown with a revival of Will Todd’s family opera Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (2013), which also launched the company’s 75th anniversary year.

Artistic successes during his tenure have included new commissions such as the 2023 world premiere of Blaze of Glory!, by composer David Hackbridge Johnson with a libretto by Emma Jenkins, and critically acclaimed new productions of Janáček’s The Makropoulos Affair (1926) and Bernstein’s Candide (1956).

WNO chair Yvette Vaughan-Jones said: “I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the board, the company and opera audiences in Wales and beyond to thank Aidan for his exemplary contribution to WNO during his tenure.

“Aidan’s artistic credentials are second to none and, despite the unprecedented challenges of the last four years and the impact these have had on the arts sector, his artistic leadership has ensured that WNO remains ambitious and relevant and will continue to do so into the future.”

WNO is yet to announce Aidan Lang’s replacement.



Aiden Lang will retire from his role as general director of Welsh National Opera, the company has announced.