Matthew Shilvock is San Francisco Opera’s seventh General Director, having assumed the role on August 1, 2016. He is responsible for all artistic and business aspects of the organization, overseeing a repertory season of eight productions as well as education and ancillary programming in a company that employs up to 1,000 people a year on a budget of $75 million.
Shilvock is passionate about telling profound stories of humanity through the total art-form of opera, connecting audiences with the emotional core of the repertoire, and empowering the whole Company through a supportive, creative, and fiscally responsible workplace. Now in his third season as General Director, Shilvock has overseen a major restructure of the senior management team, the inception of an endowment campaign in support of the Company’s second century, the production of two world premiere operas: John Adams’ Girls of the Golden West and Bright Sheng’s Dream of the Red Chamber, and the development of a number of programs aimed at highlighting the talents of the Company, including annual concerts of the Opera Chorus and a new side-by-side orchestra program with San Francisco Unified School District schools.
His priorities include replenishing the core repertory productions of San Francisco Opera, creating a dynamic audience experience and community pride, connecting the Company to the fast-growing swirl of new thinking and new technologies in the Bay Area, and developing a stable financial model for large-scale repertory opera in the 21st century.
Shilvock began with San Francisco Opera in 2005 working closely with then-General Director David Gockley with whom he also worked at Houston Grand Opera (2003–2005). Under Gockley’s mentorship, Shilvock worked in a number of roles before being appointed Associate General Director in 2010, overseeing a variety of areas including labor negotiations, board relations, music operations, the San Francisco Opera Center, rehearsal and scheduling, electronic media, and education.
Prior to taking on the general directorship, Shilvock was lead negotiator in contract negotiations with the American Federation of Musicians and the American Guild of Musical Artists; he developed new media paradigms both for the capture and distribution of audio/visual projects; he oversaw the creation of a new education program and strategy for the Company; and he produced a number of key initiatives for Gockley, including the simulcasts to AT&T Park and a number of major community concerts and partnerships.
Shilvock is on the board of OPERA America and is a trustee for the AGMA Retirement Plan and Health Fund. He is a member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO).
Matthew Shilvock was born in 1976 in Kidderminster, England. He read music at Christ Church, Oxford University, writing his thesis on Jean Baptiste Lully. He also holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with a specialization in nonprofit administration. After early work with New Chamber Opera in Oxford, England, and what is now Opera Maine, he became a 2002 Fellow with OPERA America, the national service organization for opera companies in North America, with assignments at Pittsburgh Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Janice Mayer & Associates, and Glimmerglass Opera. Shilvock resides in Marin County with his wife, Kate, and their two children.