As the Houston Grand Opera returns to center stage this fall, it will soon have a new leader.

Last week, the prestigious company announced Khori Dastoor as its next general director and CEO. The game-changing director, who has held the same position at Opera San José since 2019, starts in her new role in Houston come January 2022. 

“When we began our search, we knew we were searching for a candidate who would bring groundbreaking ideas to Houston and expand on the wonderful work already underway at HGO,” said Allyn Risley, HGO’s chair of the board of directors, in a statement. “We found that and so much more in Khori Dastoor.”

A California native, Dastoor has always been involved in the operatic world. After studying at the New England Conservatory of Music and the University of California, Los Angeles (she’s also an Los Angeles Children’s Chorus alumna), she worked for 10 years as a freelance soprano soloist before making her way into the administrative side of opera. Dastoor has been credited with revitalizing Opera San José during her time with the company.

The artist-turned-administrator will now use her experience to lead one of the most renowned and innovative operas in the country. She will also be the first woman to hold this role in the company’s 66-year history. In addition, Dastoor, who replaces former Managing Director Perryn Leech, will also hold the Margaret Alkek Williams chair. 

“Houston Grand Opera has long led the way in developing new operatic works that speak to the American experience, as well as to the dynamism and vibrancy of Houston,” Dastoor said in a statement. “I have long admired this storied institution, whose legacy is rich with new commissions, world premieres, acclaimed artists, and stunning, world-class productions.”

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