Fisher assumes his new post on May 1, replacing Anthony Freud, the WNO's general director since 1994, who leaves in March to replace David Gockley as the head of Houston Grand Opera. Gockley recently replaced Pamela Rosenberg at San Francisco Opera.
A native of Scotland, Fisher launched his career at the WNO in 1972, serving as music director for the company's Opera for All Project. He has also worked at Brussels' Th_ê¢tre _ la Monnaie, Netherlands Opera, and La Scala, where he was head of music and then artistic administrator. In 1989, he was named artistic director of Venice's La Fenice; five years later, he became director of opera productions for Deutsche Grammophon. He has spent the last nine years at the Met.
"I am very excited to be returning to WNO where I began my career," Fisher said. "I look forward very much to leading this excellent company, whose standards I have always admired, and to working with [music director] Carlo Rizzi, [executive director] Peter Bellingham, and all the members of the WNO team."
Tony Lewis, the company's chair, said, "I am delighted that we have attracted John Fisher, a man with a wonderful reputation with singers, but who also demonstrated to my board the desire and intellect to expand his work into the full general director's role."