Welsh National Opera has announced the appointment of Christopher Barron as interim general director.

He will take up the role in early January.

Christopher has a strong background in arts management and leadership, including an early role as general manager of the Edinburgh International Festival, and throughout his career has worked in drama, opera, dance and music.

He has held significant positions including chief executive of Birmingham Royal Ballet, chief executive of Scottish Opera and Scottish Ballet, and artistic director and chief executive of the Brighton Festival and Dome.

WNO’s current general director, Aidan Lang, is to retire at the end of this year following four years in the role and more than 40 years working in opera globally.

The role of interim general director is to provide stability in leadership and artistic vision for WNO over the next year, delivering the agreed artistic programme and preparing the ground for a new permanent leader.

The search for a successor to Aidan will begin in the new year, and Christopher will remain in the role during the recruitment process.

Christopher said: “I am really delighted to be joining the team now at this important time for WNO.

“My main priority will be to act as guardian to the company, planning for its future whilst continuing to deliver artistic excellence in all it presents including the extensive programme in the community.”

WNO chair Yvette Vaughan-Jones said: “I am delighted to welcome Christopher to WNO and am pleased with the experience he will bring to the company from his work in the wider sector both in the UK and internationally.

“We are at an important stage where we need to ensure that we continue to deliver artistic vibrancy, financial stability and equality of opportunity in all areas of our work, but above all maintain stability within the company.

“The vast experience and skills Christopher will bring during this time will give us this stability and allow us to ensure continuity of our work, offering exceptional experiences both on stage in our concerts and productions, and through our projects and collaborations in the communities we serve.”