Washington National Opera Names New Director of Cafritz Young Artists and American Opera Initiative

By Francisco Salazar

Christopher Cano will join Washington National Opera (WNO) as the Director of the Cafritz Young Artists (CYA) and American Opera Initiative (AOI) in September.

Cano, who recently held positions of Head of Music and Director of Artistic Operations of Arizona Opera’s Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio between 2017-2022, will work closely with General Director Timothy O’Leary and Artistic Director Francesca Zambello to lead the programs dedicated to advancing opera by training and giving voice to the next generation of singers, pianists/coaches, composers, and librettists.

In a statement, O’Leary said, “Chris is one of the most dynamic and respected musicians in the opera industry. He has built an international career as a pianist, coach, and mentor to many of today’s greatest singers. More than that, he is known for his passion for creating meaningful opera through extraordinary craft, and by championing an opera world that is inclusive, diverse, and forward-looking. We are excited to welcome him to the WNO and Kennedy Center family.”

Cano is a recitalist, orchestra soloist, and collaborative pianist who has performed throughout the U.S., Mexico, Israel, Europe, and Asia. He is a coach who has prepared vocalists for appearances at the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Chicago Lyric Opera, and orchestral appearances with the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, and Berlin Philharmonic among others.