Lotfollah "Lotfi" Mansouri (15 June 1929 – 30 August 2013) was an Iranian-born opera director and manager. He was an opera director from about 1960 onwards, and is best known for being the General Director of the Canadian Opera Company and of the San Francisco Opera from 1988 through 2001. In 1992 he became a Chevalier of France's Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and the subject of a 1998 biography.
Mansouri studied psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles (A.B., 1953) and was assistant professor there (1957–60). He began his directorial career with a production of Cosi fan tutte at Los Angeles City College, and several musical theater productions at Marymount College. From 1960 to 1966, he worked as a resident stage director at the Zurich Opera. In his first year there, he staged new productions of Amahl and the Night Visitors, La traviata, Don Pasquale, and Samson et Dalila. From 1966 through 1976 he worked as the head stage director at the Geneva Opera. Throughout this period, he occasionally worked at numerous U.S. opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera and many smaller companies.
Canadian Opera Company
From 1971 through 1988 Mansouri worked as the general director of the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto. Mansouri introduced surtitles for the January 1983 staging of Elektra, and this is generally regarded as the first use of such a translation system.
San Francisco Opera
In 1988, Mansouri become the fourth general director of the San Francisco Opera, replacing Terence A. McEwen.
Mansouri led the company in commissioning several new works which have received critical acclaim, including John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer (1992), Conrad Susa's The Dangerous Liaisons (Fall 1994), Stewart Wallace's Harvey Milk (1996) (co-commissioned with Houston Grand Opera and New York City Opera), André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire (Fall 1998), and Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking (Fall 2000). This move has helped build the house's reputation as one of the leading innovators in the United States, a reputation which is still held today.
Towards the end of the 2001 season, Mansouri announced his resignation and was succeeded by Pamela Rosenberg, formerly of the Stuttgart Opera.
Mansouri was born in Iran and lived in Zurich, Geneva, Toronto and San Francisco. He died at home in Pacific Heights area of San Francisco and survived by his wife Marjorie Thompson and daughter, Shireen.
References and sources
- Joshua Kosman (31 August 2013). "Lotfi Mansouri, S.F. Opera director 13 years, dies". SFGate. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
- "Lotfi Mansouri." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Centennial Edition. Nicolas Slonimsky, Editor Emeritus. Schirmer, 2001. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC Document Number: K2420007556. Fee. Retrieved 27 December 2008.
- "Lotfollah Mansouri." Marquis Who's Who TM. Marquis Who's Who, 2008. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC Document Number: K2013018226. Fee. Retrieved 27 December 2008.
- "Lotfi Mansouri." Almanac of Famous People, 9th ed. Thomson Gale, 2007. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC Document Number: K1601048353. Fee. Retrieved 27 December 2008. Updated 08/17/2007.
- Chatfield-Taylor, Joan (1997). San Francisco Opera: The First Seventy-Five Years. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. ISBN 0-8118-1368-1.
- Chatfield-Taylor, Joan (1998). An Operatic Odyssey: Lotfi Mansouri and San Francisco Opera. San Francisco: Performing Arts Network. OCLC 44534470.
- Joshua Kosman (5 August 2001). "Two views of Mansouri's S.F. era: Opera director was gambling man". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 11 August 2007.
- Current Biography Yearbook. 1990 edition. New York: H. W. Wilson Co., 1990.
- Who's Who in Opera. An international biographical directory of singers, conductors, directors, designers, and administrators. Also including profiles of 101 opera companies. Edited by Maria F. Rich. New York: Arno Press, 1976.
- The Metropolitan Opera Encyclopedia. A comprehensive guide to the world of opera. Edited by David Hamilton. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987.
- The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. Four volumes. Edited by Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan Press, 1992.
- The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. Four volumes. Edited by Stanley Sadie. New York: Grove's Dictionaries of Music, (n.d.).
- Baker's Dictionary of Opera. Edited by Laura Kuhn. New York: Schirmer Books, 2000
- Lotfi Mansouri official website
- Lotfi Mansouri at the Internet Movie Database
- Interview with Lotfi Mansouri by Bruce Duffie, May 11, 1982