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New Seattle Opera director could bring rugby, humor to McCaw Hall

Speight Jenkins passed Nothung, the magic sword from the RING, to Aidan Lang, our new General Director Designate, and introduced him to the Seattle public. (Photo by Alan Alabastro/Alabastro Photography/courtesy the Seattle Opera Facebook page)

After a two-year search, Seattle Opera announced last week it had found its new general director.

Aidan Lang is director of New Zealand Opera right now and will take over for longtime Seattle Opera head Speight Jenkins next year.

Local opera buffs will no doubt appreciate his love for Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle, a quartet of opera productions that Seattle has staked its reputation on for decades.

But non-opera fans might be encouraged to hear that Lang has a sense of humor about opera as well.

The Seattle Times reports that Lang seriously tried to recruit New Zealand’s comedy musical act “Flight of the Conchords.”

They’re a popular folk parody duo with an HBO sitcom to their credit.

Lang happens to know the mother of Brett Mackenzie, one of the Conchords guys, because she’s a prominent dancer in New Zealand. (I guess the New Zealand arts world is pretty small.) Lang and “Flight of the Conchords” were collaborating on a project titled “Rugaletto,” that’s a play on the name of a Verdi opera, Rigoletto. But that’s not the funny part. “Rugaletto” was supposedly going to combine rugby and opera. The goofy project was abandoned only because “Flight of the Conchords” just got too popular and too busy.

And as crazy as that might sound, it’s not like Opera hasn’t ventured into some pretty strange territory in recent years like “Jerry Springer, the Opera.”

If Aidan Lang really wants to make a splash when he takes over in 2014, he should call up his fellow Kiwis and re-commission “Rugaletto” for Seattle Opera. Maybe HBO would even carry it live!

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