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Lesley Koenig returned to the Metropolitan Opera to serve as Assistant Manager of the Company and Director of Production. In that position, she was “they eyes of the Met,” responsible for the aesthetics and logistics of mounting eight new productions and twenty revivals per year. Managing a staff numbering in the hundreds, Lesley was also the point person for all creative teams – director and designers – enabling them to realize their concepts inside a highly complex repertory theater. She speaks German, Italian, and French, which helped non-English speaking directors and designers be comfortable creating works for the Met. In her role, she also created new means of transparent budgeting and tracking of production-related costs.
But Lesley dreamed of running her own company. When the opportunity arose, she first accepted a Fellowship at Stanford University to study philanthropy, and then became General Director of Opera Boston, a highly innovative company that produced only rarely-heard or newly commissioned operas.
In this role, Lesley employed many of the same skills as she had to make the San Francisco Ballet a success. She negotiated a new union contract for the orchestra. In addition, she spearheaded innovative online marketing initiatives complete with customized media buys. This served to raise the profile of Opera Boston in international markets. Furthermore, she strove to create collaborative partnerships with other educational and arts organizations in the greater Boston area. An equally impressive accomplishment was Lesley’s ability develop programming and casting to lead it into the 2015 and 2016 calendar years.
Within a few months, Lesley Koenig was offered and accepted the General Manager position with the organization. For San Francisco Ballet, she was essentially responsible for managing a budget ranging from $38 to $45 million. In addition, she oversaw the production, information technology, facilities, company management, and medical departments.
Lesley put her business expertise to use in managing the financial aspects of the company. Her work allowed the organization to experience budget surpluses in each year.
Lesley holds both a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Education. Her focus area for this latter degree was Administration and Policy Analysis. Upon earning her graduate degrees, Lesley worked briefly as an educational and a management consultant. For Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, she also served as a teaching assistant in business strategy courses for nonprofit organizations and authored two case studies that continue to be widely taught at Stanford, Harvard, and Yale.
Lesley also accepted the opportunity to serve as the Interim Executive Director at the Quest Scholars Program in Palo Alto, California. This program strives to bridge the gap between high school and college that many disadvantaged students face. In a slight twist of irony, Lesley Koenig also managed the long-range planning initiative of dSan Francisco Ballet. As a young girl, the ballet was always an afterthought to the opera. Accordingly, Lesley had never before considered working in this area of the arts. Her opera background gave her a unique viewpoint with which to experience, and ultimately come to love, the ballet.
Today, Lesley Koenig is a Stage Director for the San Diego Opera, which is presently featuring Samson et Dalila. She is set to direct two additional productions for the company, one each in 2014 and 2015. Anyone interested in taking in a beautiful opera performance would do well to take in a Lesley Koenig production.
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