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Press Released: 13 Jun 2008

Houston Grand Opera General Director Anthony Freud Elected Chairman of OPERA America

OPERA America, the national service organization for opera, announces the election of Anthony Freud, General Director of Houston Grand Opera, as Chairman of the association’s Board of Directors. Mr. Freud was elected at Opera Conference 2008 in Denver on June 13th. He will serve an initial term of two years and succeeds Charles MacKay, General Director of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

Also elected to the Board were Robert McPhee, General Director of Calgary Opera; James Wright, General Director of Vancouver Opera; Norman Ryan, publisher for Schott Music Corporation and European American Music Distributors, LLC; and Alec Treuhaft of IMG Artists.

“We are extraordinarily grateful to Charles MacKay for four years of outstanding leadership and especially pleased he will remain on the Board,” stated Marc A. Scorca, President & CEO of OPERA America. “During Charles’ tenure as Chairman, OPERA America successfully undertook a dramatic step in its evolution by relocating its office from Washington, D.C. to New York City to more fully realize our mission as a service organization to the field. His leadership and support were unwavering.”

“The election of Anthony Freud as Chairman of the OPERA America Board of Directors reflects the high esteem in which he is held across the entire field,” Scorca continued. “We are fortunate that he will support us with his unique talents and unwavering commitment to the art form in our mission of nurturing the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera. Anthony’s election is also a reflection of the importance and stature of Houston Grand Opera among our colleagues, by whom HGO is considered a leader in innovation and excellence,” he noted, adding that the Annual Conference for 2009 will be held in Houston, with HGO as host company.

Mr. Freud, who was Chairman of the Board of Opera Europa from 2002 – 2005, was head of Welsh National Opera (UK) from 1994 until he was appointed Houston Grand Opera’s third general director and its first CEO in July 2005.

“OPERA America does a tremendous job of encouraging collaboration and promoting best practices throughout the opera sector, and raising awareness of our art form both nationally and internationally,” said Mr. Freud. “I look forward with eager anticipation to contributing to the development of this wonderful organization and am honored to follow in the footsteps of my distinguished colleague, Charles MacKay. I have had the great pleasure of knowing and working closely with Marc Scorca for many years and am excited to be collaborating with him even more closely in my new role.”

OPERA America’s Board of Directors is composed of twenty-seven members who represent the balance and diversity within the field, from leaders of growing companies to heads of well-established companies. Other experts include consultants, artists, philanthropists and trustees of opera companies who assist OPERA America staff in identifying field-wide issues and programs that warrant attention.

Founded in 1970, OPERA America’s worldwide membership network includes nearly 200 Company Members, 300 Associate and Business Members, 2,000 Individual Members and more than 18,000 subscribers to the association’s electronic news service.

OPERA America is dedicated to supporting the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera. The association draws on resources and expertise from within and beyond the opera field to advance a mutually beneficial agenda that serves and strengthens the entire opera community. Artistic services help opera companies and creative and performing artists to improve the quality of productions and increase the creation and presentation of North American works. Information, technical and administrative services to opera companies reflect the need for strengthened leadership among staff, trustees and volunteers. Education, audience development and community services are designed to enhance all forms of opera enjoyment.

Beginning in 1983, a core tenet of OPERA America’s mission has been a commitment to supporting the creation and development of new opera and music-theater works. Since that time, The Opera Fund and its precursor programs have awarded nearly $10.4 million in funds to companies throughout North America in support of their efforts to expand and enrich the repertoire. Recent recipients of The Opera Fund grants include such highly-acclaimed works as John Adams’s Doctor Atomic, Richard Danielpour’s Margaret Garner, Jake Heggie’s The End of the Affair, Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar, Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath and Thomas Pasatieri’s Frau Margot.

Freud’s first two years with HGO have seen the completion of a five year strategic plan, inclusive of a three year business plan; the staging of acclaimed new mainstage productions of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, Rossini’s La Cenerentola and Verdi’s Aida; the world premieres of Christopher Theonfanidis’s The Refuge and Jake Heggie’s Last Acts; and the establishment of a six-year series of performances of the works of Benjamin Britten. A balanced budget and significant growth in subscribers and donors marked the 2007-08 season, along with the creation of HGOco, a radical initiative aiming to deepen HGO’s relevance throughout Houston.

Mr. Freud is an Honorary Fellow of both University of Cardiff and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. In June 2006, Queen Elizabeth II awarded him an OBE (Office of the Order of the British Empire) as part of the 2006 Birthday Honors in honor of his services to music.

OPERA America Board of Directors

Chairman - Anthony Freud, General Director, Houston Grand Opera
Vice Chairman - Peter Gelb, General Manager, Metropolitan Opera
Vice Chairman - Frayda Lindemann, Trustee, Metropolitan Opera
Vice Chairman - Diane Wondisford, Producing Director, Music-Theatre Group
Treasurer - Susan T. Danis, Executive Director, Sarasota Opera
Secretary - Dennis Hanthorn, General Director, The Atlanta Opera
President/CEO - Marc A. Scorca

Brian Dickie, General Director, Chicago Opera Theater
Catherine French, Catherine French Group
Louise Gaylord, Trustee, Opera Santa Barbara
David Gockley, General Director, San Francisco Opera
Robert M. Heuer, General Director and CEO, Florida Grand Opera
Barbara Leirvik, Trustee, Opera Cleveland
Jay Lesenger, Artistic and General Director, Chautauqua Opera
Charles R. MacKay, General Director, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Michael MacLeod, General and Artistic Director, Glimmerglass Opera
Christopher Mattaliano, General Director, Portland Opera
W. R. (Bob) McPhee, General Director/CEO, Calgary Opera Association
Erie Mills, Soprano
Allen Moyer, Scenic Designer
Carol A. Penterman, CEO and Executive Director, Nashville Opera Association
Joel Revzen, General and Artistic Director, Arizona Opera
Norman Ryan, European American Music
Steven Sharpe, General Director, Opera Santa Barbara
Kevin Smith, President and CEO, The Minnesota Opera
Alec Treuhaft, IMG Artists
James Wright, General Director, Vancouver Opera


For more information on OPERA America, visit About Us.

For press inquiries, contact Press@operaamerica.org or 212.796.8628.