Casting manager at the world’s top opera houses

Casting manager at the world’s top opera houses

Ilias Tzempetonidis has worked as casting manager at the most famous opera houses around the world.

Tzempetonidis was raised in Thessaloniki, Greece. He studied Law, Contact Management and ART at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich.

His first contact with classical music and opera was in 1994 when he participated in Nafplio’s festival.

From 1996 until 2000 he worked with the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich.

When he returned to Greece, he was engaged as artistic coordinator at the Megaron Theatre in Thessaloniki where he was responsible for casting, programming and production budgeting (2000-2006).

In 2006, Tzempetonidis was appointed director of artistic planning and casting at the Greek National Opera.

From 2010 until 2013, he was the casting director at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan.

It is worth noting that it is the first time in the long history of Milan’s La Scala, where a young and not Italian man is in charge for castings. Ilias Tzempetonidis was the personal choice of the general manager of La Scala, Frenchman Stephane Lisner.

According to an interview that he gave in December 2009 at the Greek newspaper “Ta Nea”, for a year and a half the Italians have been closely following his development. When he received a phone-call in July 2008, he firstly thought that a friend was playing a joke on him. But a week later, he was in Milan where he had a discussion for the position.

He considers the post assigned to him as a casting director at Teatro alla Scala very critical, given the fact that this is world’s most difficult theatre, with an audience always having increasing demands and without moral scruples to even barracking, if the final show does not satisfy them.

In 2014, Tzempetonidis decided to accept one more major professional challenge, ie to work as a casting director at Palais Garnier in Paris and at Opera Bastille in France.

In terms of opera in Greece, Ilias Tzempetonidis argues that “Greece can stand high, cause there is a capable labour of opera singers. However, there is a need of better organization and work from the right people, in the right places” and “high term financial support from the government.”