Lotfi Mansouri

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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. [1] In 1992 he became a Chevalier of France's Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and the subject of a 1998 biography. [2]

Iran Country in Western Asia

Iran, also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. The country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center.

Canadian Opera Company opera company and producer

The Canadian Opera Company (COC) is an opera company in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is the largest opera company in Canada and one of the largest producers of opera in North America. The COC performs in its own opera house, the Four Seasons Centre. For forty years until April 2006, the COC had performed at the O'Keefe Centre.

San Francisco Opera opera company based in San Francisco, United States, performing in the War Memorial Opera House

San Francisco Opera (SFO) is an American opera company, based in San Francisco, California.


He introduced opera surtitles—projected subtitles above the stage that allow the audience to follow the libretto during the performance of an opera. [3]

Surtitles, also known as supertitles, are translated or transcribed lyrics/dialogue projected above a stage or displayed on a screen, commonly used in opera or other musical performances. The word "surtitle" comes from the French language "sur", meaning "over" or "on", and the English language word "title", formed in a similar way to the related subtitle. The word Surtitle is a trademark of the Canadian Opera Company.

Libretto text used for an extended musical work

A libretto is the text used in, or intended for, an extended musical work such as an opera, operetta, masque, oratorio, cantata or musical. The term libretto is also sometimes used to refer to the text of major liturgical works, such as the Mass, requiem and sacred cantata, or the story line of a ballet.


He was born in Tehran, Iran, the son of Hassan and Mehri (Jalili) Mansouri. He married Marjorie Anne Thompson, Sept. 18, 1954; he has a daughter Shireen Melinda. [3]

Tehran City in Iran

Tehran is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With a population of around 8.7 million in the city and 15 million in the larger metropolitan area of Greater Tehran, Tehran is the most populous city in Iran and Western Asia, and has the second-largest metropolitan area in the Middle East. It is ranked 24th in the world by the population of its metropolitan area.

Mansouri studied psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles (A.B., 1953) and was assistant professor there (1957–60). [2] 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.

Psychology is the science of behavior and mind. Psychology includes the study of conscious and unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. It is an academic discipline of immense scope. Psychologists seek an understanding of the emergent properties of brains, and all the variety of phenomena linked to those emergent properties. As a social science it aims to understand individuals and groups by establishing general principles and researching specific cases.

University of California, Los Angeles Public research university in Los Angeles, California

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public research university in Los Angeles. It became the Southern Branch of the University of California in 1919, making it the third-oldest undergraduate campus of the 10-campus University of California system. It offers 337 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a wide range of disciplines. UCLA enrolls about 31,000 undergraduate and 13,000 graduate students and had 119,000 applicants for Fall 2016, including transfer applicants, making the school the most applied-to of any American university.

A Bachelor of Arts is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, sciences, or both. Bachelor of Arts programs generally take three to four years depending on the country, institution, and specific specializations, majors, or minors. The word baccalaureus should not be confused with baccalaureatus, which refers to the one- to two-year postgraduate Bachelor of Arts with Honors degree in some countries.

Among his productions available on DVD, are La fille du régiment (with Beverly Sills, 1974) and L'africaine (with Shirley Verrett and Plácido Domingo, 1988).

<i>La fille du régiment</i> Opéra-comique in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti

La fille du régiment is an opéra comique in two acts by Gaetano Donizetti, set to a French libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Jean-François Bayard. It was first performed on 11 February 1840 by the Paris Opéra-Comique at the Salle de la Bourse.

Beverly Sills opera soprano

Beverly Sills was an American operatic soprano whose peak career was between the 1950s and 1970s.

Shirley Verrett American opera singer, educator and writer

Shirley Verrett was an African-American operatic mezzo-soprano who successfully transitioned into soprano roles, i.e. soprano sfogato. Verrett enjoyed great fame from the late 1960s through the 1990s, particularly well known for singing the works of Verdi and Donizetti.

His other works include Royal Opera House Premiere of Massenet's Esclarmonde in 1983.

Royal Opera House opera house and major performing arts venue in Covent Garden, central London

The Royal Opera House (ROH) is an opera house and major performing arts venue in Covent Garden, central London. The large building is often referred to as simply "Covent Garden", after a previous use of the site of the opera house's original construction in 1732. It is the home of The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet, and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Originally called the Theatre Royal, it served primarily as a playhouse for the first hundred years of its history. In 1734, the first ballet was presented. A year later, Handel's first season of operas began. Many of his operas and oratorios were specifically written for Covent Garden and had their premieres there.

Jules Massenet 19th and 20th-century French composer

Jules Émile Frédéric Massenet was a French composer of the Romantic era best known for his operas, of which he wrote more than thirty. The two most frequently staged are Manon (1884) and Werther (1892). He also composed oratorios, ballets, orchestral works, incidental music, piano pieces, songs and other music.

<i>Esclarmonde</i> opera by Jules Massenet

Esclarmonde is an opéra in four acts and eight tableaux, with prologue and epilogue, by Jules Massenet, to a French libretto by Alfred Blau and Louis Ferdinand de Gramont. It was first performed on 15 May 1889 by the Opéra-Comique at the Théâtre Lyrique on the Place du Châtelet in Paris.

Canadian Opera Company

From 1976 through 1988 Mansouri worked as the general director of the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto, Ontario. 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. [4]

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

  1. Joshua Kosman (31 August 2013). "Lotfi Mansouri, S.F. Opera director 13 years, dies". SFGate. Retrieved 2013-08-31.
  2. 1 2 "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.
  3. 1 2 "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.
  4. "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.

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