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Job Vacancy at Cape Town Opera (CTO), Artistic Director

Full Time

Website Cape Town Opera (CTO)

Cape Town Opera (CTO) provides a stage that allows local talent to launch international careers and attracts international talent to South Africa.

Job Vacancy at Cape Town Opera (CTO), Artistic Director. Cape Town Opera (CTO) invites applicants to apply for Artistic Director job at Artscape Theatre Centre, Cape Town, South Africa.

Cape Town Opera (CTO) provides a stage that allows local talent to launch international careers and attracts international talent to South Africa. As South Africa’s largest permanent non-profit performing arts organization, CTO provides permanent employment to 35 young singers and 32 opera practitioners, instructors and administrators. In addition, annually the company issues an average of 150 ad hoc contracts to artists ranging from choreographers, musicians, directors, conductors, designers and technicians.

Applicant requirements:

The ideal applicant possesses the following qualifications:


  1. Outstanding abilities and strong track record as a director, producer, conductor and/or performing artist of opera, demonstrated by a commitment to, creation of, or participation in, quality opera productions;
  2. Documented professional directing/conducting/producing/performing experience within opera companies, university opera programs and/or coaching a range of operatic repertoire;
  3. Hands-on, nuts and bolts experience overseeing and implementing the production of opera and the key artistic personnel required to do so; including but not limited to casting roles, vocal preparation, technical and rehearsal scheduling, working with orchestras, design (scenic, lighting, costume and audio-visual), etc;
  4. Sensitivity to the dynamics of working within a multicultural, multilinguistic South African context, and experience and/or demonstrable potential to engage with and reflect South African musical culture in CTO programming;
  5. Ability to work with singers of varying ages and operatic experience; in particular, should be a mentor to singers in the Young Artist Programme;
  6. An international reputation and extensive record of mounting opera productions, or the demonstrable potential to build such a reputation;
  7. Comprehensive knowledge of local and international opera scene and excellent sectoral awareness, including best national and international practices;
  8. Possessing a deep network of relationships in the opera industry (e.g., artist managers, singers, directors, designers, artistic leaders in other opera companies);
  9. Ability to diversify, capitalize on and/or increase the number and quality of productions and projects undertaken by CTO in South Africa and abroad;
  10. Ability to think and plan efficiently and creatively to maximise CTO’s visibility and quality while working within strict financial constraints;
  11. Ability to adapt quickly and creatively to changing circumstances;
  12. Knowledge and experience with non-opera performing arts (e.g., musical theatre) desirable;


  1. Strong skills as an organisational and cultural leader;
  2. Proven ability and a demonstrable track record in leading and working with teams in a flexible, meticulous and consultative manner within a production context, with organisational staff and across partner companies and institutions;
  3. Excellent interpersonal skills and a high level of empathy, fully embracing CTO’s Code of Ethics and Company Values;
  4. Decision-making capabilities that balance artistic aims with financial plans and funding challenges;
  5. High level of negotiation skills;
  6. Coordination and implementation of activities with the Managing Director and department heads;
  7. Excellent written and spoken communication skills in English in a range of professional contexts;
  8. Excellent organisational skills, including time, project and budget management;
  9. Demonstrable experience building and maintaining relationships with funders, artistic partners, community leaders and other stakeholders;

Applicant responsibilities:

The key responsibilities of the Artistic Director are:

  1. Reporting to the Managing Director;
  2. Serving as custodian of artistic standards of the company;
  3. Developing the annual artistic and educational programme and budget in collaboration with and approval of the Managing Director, across opera, choral and other mediums;
  4. Initiating proposals for new productions and repertoire, including remounting existing productions;
  5. Sourcing, hiring, supervising and evaluating artistic personnel, with support from CTO staff and within approved budgets, in the following departments: Young Artist Programme, Chorus and Youth Development and Education, including relevant ad hoc positions;
  6. Conceiving an artistic vision aligned with CTO’s Vision, Mission, Code of Ethics and Company Values and implementing and evaluating the relevant programmes for the year, both locally and internationally;
  7. Fostering the development of good relations with other cultural organisations, including the University of Cape Town College of Music, by participating in meetings and implementing joint activities;
  8. Sharing artistic oversight of CTO/University of Cape Town College of Music collaborations with the Director of the UCT Opera School;
  9. Serving as a strong ambassador for CTO, animating and extending the societal value, relevance and impact of the company, its productions and its educational and outreach activities;
  10. Leading the resourcing of its productions and leveraging national and international networks for the development of opera in South Africa;
  11. Acting as a spokesperson for CTO’s artistic purpose via speaking engagements, public and media appearances, fundraising events and opportunities for stakeholder engagement;
  12. Providing conceptual briefs, artistic input and narrative content as needed for marketing and publicity of CTO productions and artistic endeavours;
  13. Reporting to the Board of Directors on a quarterly basis, providing an update on artistic activity and supervision of artistic staff;

Additional requirements

  1. Must have appropriate tertiary qualification;
  2. Ability and willingness to work nights, weekends and holidays as required;
  3. Willingness to travel nationally and internationally for auditions, performances, networking and advocating on behalf of CTO;
  4. Proficiency in MS Office and use of databases;
  5. Must be resident in Cape Town working on CTO productions during the period of engagement as Artistic Director;
  6. Must have a valid South African work visa.

Key performance indicators

The successful applicant will fulfil the following:

  1. Achieve artistic excellence in all CTO artistic activities, both locally and internationally;
  2. Complete the calendar of activities within the agreed/approved production budgets;
  3. Maintain healthy, productive relationships with staff, ad hoc personnel and company stakeholders;

Compensation, application procedure and start date

Applications will be accepted from 20 July – 31 August 2021. CVs and a list of four contactable references should be sent via email to [email protected]; all information will be kept confidential. Compensation information will be provided to selected applicants as decided by the Artistic Director search committee. References will be contacted only on prior notification to the applicant. Cape Town Opera aims to complete the new Artistic Director search by 31 October 2021. The anticipated start date is January 2022. CTO reserves the right not to make an appointment.

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