Last month, Fort Worth Opera announced the creation of a National Artistic Council led by international opera star Plácido Domingo. The legendary tenor and conductor lends considerable weight to the council — composed of renowned artists, classical musicians and directors — that will advise the Opera as it enters its 72nd year. FWO says the council’s goals include recommending singers and repertoire, acting as a liaison and advocate within the opera community, and assisting in crafting long-range strategic plans. Although Domingo is expected to “advise from afar,” residents can hope to catch a glimpse if he travels to Cowtown on council business. Two men who will be visible are the newly appointed general director, Finnish-born actor, educator, businessman and opera performer Tuomas Hiltunen, and Joe Illick, appointed as the company’s artistic director after having served as music director since 2002. Hiltunen, who was born in the Arctic Circle to a family of reindeer herders, says he feels a strong connection to Fort Worth’s “cowboys and culture” slogan. The general director intends on making FWO’s financial health a top priority. Artistic director Illick says the Opera plans to continue its mission to introduce powerful operas reflecting the diversity of the Americas through its initiatives, Frontiers and Noches de Ópera. “There are plenty of people who want to see their first ‘Carmen’ or ‘Le bohème,’ and we’ll always do those works, but we love finding new pieces and discovering new composers and voices,” he told the Star-Telegram. “How we find new and meaningful works and respond to changes happening around the world will always be a part of our mission.” The 2018 season includes tango opera Maria de Buenos Aires, Wagner’s legendary Das Rheingold, and the sixth season of Frontiers, the highly-acclaimed showcase of new works. For more information about the council or the Opera, visit www.fwopera.org.