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Press Released: 15 Dec 2010

OPERA America Announces Recipients of Its 2011 National Opera Trustee Recognition Awards

OPERA America, the national service organization for opera, is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2011 National Opera Trustee Recognition Award. In its fourth year, this award honors trustees of U.S. opera companies for exemplary leadership, generosity and audience-building efforts on behalf of their respective opera companies.

The 2011 National Opera Trustee Recognition honorees are Lynn Wyatt of Houston Grand Opera, Eleanor Caulkins of Opera Colorado, Jackie Lockwood of Dayton Opera and John I. Riddle of PORTopera (Portland, ME).

OPERA America is committed to recognizing strong trustee leaders, acknowledging the pivotal role they play in the success of opera companies and the vitality of the communities they serve. By celebrating the dedication of board members at the national level, the National Opera Trustee Recognition Program seeks to inspire as well as celebrate exemplary service to opera companies and to strengthen the relationships between opera companies and their trustees across the U.S.

"We are delighted to be joined by Bank of America in celebrating the significant, enduring contributions of these devoted trustees in a national forum," stated Marc A. Scorca, president and CEO of OPERA America. "The National Opera Trustee Recognition Award affords the entire opera community with an opportunity to recognize and learn from those who have been so generous in their passion for the art form, vision and support of their opera companies."

Each year, OPERA America member companies are invited to nominate one of their trustees for this award. Honorees from each of the four OPERA America budget levels are chosen by an adjudication committee through a competitive selection process.

The honorees represent a significant range of accomplishments, generosity and a deep commitment to promoting opera in their communities. The following profiles illustrate just a few examples of the dedication of these trustees.

OPERA America's commitment to recognizing excellence in governance is shared by its sister organization Opera.ca, the Canadian national association for opera. Opera.ca honors Monica Sloan, past-chair of the Calgary Opera Association Board of Directors as the 2011 recipient of its National Opera Directors Recognition Program.

2011 Award Recipients

Lynn Wyatt
Houston Grand Opera (Houston, TX)

Level 1 Honoree
(Annual Company Budget Over $10M)

An international leader in raising support and awareness for worthy causes, and one of Houston’s most active philanthropists, Lynn Wyatt has made it her mission to bring Houston Grand Opera (HGO) to its maximum artistic potential, and to ensure that HGO will continue to innovate the opera world for future generations. A devoted wife, mother, grandmother and an active philanthropist, Mrs. Wyatt has been the vice chairman of the HGO Board since 1984 and is a longtime member of HGO’s marketing committee, where she has provided valuable guidance on ways to attract new audiences and expand the demographic of the company’s reach. She is a strong proponent of HGO’s community collaborations, such as The Refuge (2007), an original work highlighting the stories of seven immigrant communities in Houston; and the fall 2010 production, To Cross the Face of the Moon / Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, the world’s first mariachi opera. Mrs. Wyatt’s prowess in the area of special events is legendary and has resulted in some of the most successful fundraising events in the city’s history. In 2005, she chaired the organization’s 50th anniversary Golden Jubilee Gala, which raised a record-breaking $2.5 million dollars for HGO. Recently, Mrs. Wyatt’s husband, Oscar, announced a $1 million donation to create the Lynn Wyatt Great Artist Fund, an endowed fund dedicated to bringing the very best talent to HGO.

Eleanor Caulkins
Opera Colorado (Denver, CO)

Level 2 Honoree
(Annual Company Budget $3M – $10M)

Mrs. Eleanor “Ellie” Caulkins has spent more than half of her life as an advocate for opera performance and education, and for the past 28 years her greatest cause has been helping to establish and nurture Opera Colorado. Through Mrs. Caulkins’ tireless efforts as a leader, advocate and contributor, Opera Colorado has grown in stature regionally and nationally. Mrs. Caulkins’ interest in opera began after attending an adult opera education class, but soon blossomed into a lifelong passion. Her devotion to the art form inspired her to become a key figure in the founding of Opera Colorado in 1983 and to serve on numerous committees and as chairman of the Board. Through her strong leadership and position in the company and community, she has been named a Lifetime Honorary Chairman of the Opera Colorado Board of Directors. In addition to her tireless volunteerism, Mrs. Caulkins’ stalwart commitment to the financial and artistic health of Opera Colorado has been key to the high level of artistic excellence and recognition achieved by the company today. For most Colorado citizens, Mrs. Caulkins is best known for the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, a permanent home for Opera Colorado in Denver. The naming of the opera house was a gift from her husband and five children, and is a fitting tribute to a woman who has devoted so much of her time and resources to ensuring that opera is an integral part of the Denver artistic community. In addition, Mrs. Caulkins has had a leadership role for many years with the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council and as a member of the company’s Board of Directors.

Jackie Lockwood
Dayton Opera (Dayton, OH)

Level 3 Honoree
(Annual Company Budget $1M – $3M)

Jackie Lockwood’s nearly 40-year involvement with Dayton Opera has significantly shaped the company into what it is today. Since the early 1970’s, Ms. Lockwood has been highly involved in Dayton Opera, as a subscriber, member of the Opera Guild of Dayton and its Board, the company’s marketing director and a member of the opera’s Board of Trustees. In June, the board voted unanimously to confer upon Ms. Lockwood the title of Honorary Trustee. Today, Ms. Lockwood continues to be a vital, enthusiastic participant in all things related to opera, continuing to provide her keen insights on marketing and audience development. Ms. Lockwood has contributed significantly of her time throughout her leadership as a trustee, her guidance as a past staff member and her patronage as a sponsor of numerous opera productions. Beyond this, she and her husband have invested in the success of Dayton Opera through significant personal and foundation gifts. She has been able to use her example of generous giving, as well as her passion and love for opera and specifically Dayton Opera, as a means to leverage and encourage giving by others. She has also provided in-kind support through home hospitality for Dayton Opera artists, underwritten the production of archival recordings of Dayton Opera productions, which otherwise would have been cut from the budget, and advanced Dayton Opera into the technological age by underwriting new electronic marketing efforts.

John I. Riddle
PORTopera (Portland, ME)

Level 4/5 Honoree
(Annual Company Budget Under $1M)

In 1994, John I. (Jack) Riddle founded PORTopera (formerly Portland Opera Repertory Theatre) to provide high-quality opera productions in Maine. A former president of Portland Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Riddle had the contacts necessary to identify the right people to involve when creating an opera company. He knew what, where and when the new opera company would perform, and he knew how to market the arts in New England. He is a strong advocate for high production values, yet maintains a sharp eye on budget and unexpected expenses. Mr. Riddle has been at the forefront of the company’s efforts in audience development, He supported a special ticket price for children a 2007 production of Il barbiere di Siviglia and for a 2010 production of Hansel and Gretel on the theory that these family-friendly operas would convert children into future opera aficionados. Mr. Riddle has also worked intensively on PORTopera’s Young Artists Program which tours Maine and New Hampshire to bring opera to rural areas. Always a major financial supporter, Mr. Riddle was the first to contribute money when the company was founded. He has been the principal fundraiser over the last 10 years and he has worked on the corporate support campaigns, efforts at securing funding from foundations and wooing major contributors.

Monica Sloan
Calgary Opera Association (Calgary, AB)

Opera.ca Honoree

Monica Sloan is the managing director of JKS Holdings, past managing director of Intervera Data and is also the vice-chair of Opera.ca.

OPERA America will pay tribute to these 2011 honorees and celebrate their remarkable achievements at a February dinner and reception in New York City.

The National Opera Trustee Recognition Program is chaired by OPERA America Vice Chairman Frayda B. Lindemann (New York, NY); committee members include: Elizabeth Eveillard (New York, NY), Fred Good (Cincinnati, OH), Ruth Orth (Pensacola, FL) and Fillmore Wood (Corona del Mar, CA).

The National Opera Trustee Recognition Program is made possible by the generous support of Bank of America.

Bank of America and the Arts
As one of the world's largest financial institutions and a major supporter of arts and culture, Bank of America has a vested interest and plays a meaningful role in the international dialogue on cultural understanding. As a global company, Bank of America demonstrates its commitment to the arts by supporting such efforts as after-school arts programs, grants to help expand libraries, programs to conserve artistic heritage as well as a campaign to encourage museum attendance. Bank of America’s unique program offers customers free access to more than 120 of the nation’s finest cultural institutions through its acclaimed Museums on Us® program, while Art in our Communities® shares exhibits from the company’s corporate collection with communities across the country through local museum partners. The Bank of America Charitable Foundation also provides philanthropic support to museums, theaters and other arts-related nonprofits to expand their services and offerings to schools and communities. Bank of America partners with more than 6,000 arts institutions worldwide.

Previous Award Recipients

Jeffrey A. Evershed, Portland Opera
Benjamin Keaton, Long Leaf Opera Company
Fred and Eve Simon, Opera Omaha
Marc I. Stern, Los Angeles Opera

John T. Cody Jr., The Dallas Opera
Richard Holland, Opera Omaha
Beth Ingram, Lyric Opera of Kansas City
C. Guy Rudisill III, Piedmont Opera

Betty W. Healey, Opera Birmingham
Sally S. Levy, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
Jane A. Robinson, Florida Grand Opera
G. Whitney Smith, Fort Worth Opera


For more information on OPERA America, visit About Us.

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