An arts administrator, director, writer and educator, Karl W. Hesser has served in Florida as Executive Director of the Lake Wales Arts Council, seven seasons as Director of Education for Sarasota Opera, and twelve seasons with Florida Grand Opera as Director of Artistic Administration. For the past eight seasons, he has held the position of Vice President of the Wagner Society of Florida.
For St. Petersburg Opera, he has directed recent productions of Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Bizet’s Carmen, after making his debut as the Haushofmeister in Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos.
Mr. Hesser has written and prepared projected English translations for more than fifty operas, which have been used by opera companies and symphony orchestras around the country.
He has lectured extensively on many aspects of opera. In addition to his public talks as Director of Education, Sarasota Opera, he also appeared on programs with the Ringling Museum and has presented audio/visual programs for the Wagner Society of Florida.
He has been a panelist judge for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in Minnesota, South Carolina, Georgia and North Dakota. He has also served as judge for the vocal competitions of the Artists Series of Sarasota and the St. Petersburg Suncoast Opera League.
In 1990-1991 Mr. Hesser was an OPERA America Administrative Fellow working in all phases of opera production at three of the nation’s opera companies.
Before devoting himself primarily to opera, he was active with several of the California regional theaters and spent nine years with two U.S. military community centers in Germany, working in both English and German. He has directed 26 productions including plays, musicals and operas.
Mr. Hesser received his B.A. in Theatre Arts from Loyola University of Chicago and his M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix. In addition to his lectures and seminars, Mr. Hesser has taught both the performing and theatre arts.
Mr. Hesser was married to his wife Debra for 32 years and has two children, Alyxandra, a resident of Safety Harbor, and Mark. Mark, his wife Lauren and their three sons live in Sarasota.