New Yorker Joseph Colaneri takes up the baton for Madama Butterfly in July.

Joseph Colaneri has been named artistic director of the West Australian Opera following an extensive international search. Colaneri, who lives in New York and has conducted regularly at The Metropolitan Opera and The New York City Opera, will succeed Richard Mills AM, who has held the position of artistic director since 1997. “It’s an honour,” says Colaneri. “I look forward to building on the wonderful relationship.”

Colaneri has worked with WAO several times as a visiting conductor. According to the company’s chairman Warwick Hemsley, he “brings new ideas, international networks and a new perspective on developing singers and audiences”.

The incoming artistic director will continue conduct with international opera companies during his tenure, and says he looks forward to expanding the WAO’s repertoire and contributing to the cultural life of Perth. He commences his appointment in July with Madama Butterfly, and will be in residence to conduct two operas each year for the company.

Colaneri succeeds Richard Mills, who held the position for more than 15 years and leaves to take up directorship of Victorian Opera.