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Press Released: 08 Jan 2013

OPERA America Announces Recipients of Its 2013 National Opera Trustee Recognition Awards

Lisa Erdberg (San Francisco Opera), Patricia A. Richards (Utah Symphony | Utah Opera), Cherie Shreck (Des Moines Metro Opera) and Timothy J. Wagg (Opera North) to be Honored in New York in February

Bank of America proudly sponsors the National Opera Trustee Recognition Program

OPERA America, the national service organization for opera, is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2013 National Opera Trustee Recognition Award. In its sixth year, this award honors outstanding trustees of U.S. opera companies for exemplary leadership, generosity and audience-building efforts on behalf of their respective opera companies.

The recipients of the 2013 National Opera Trustee Recognition Award are Lisa Erdberg of San Francisco Opera, Patricia A. Richards of Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, Cherie Shreck of Des Moines Metro Opera and Timothy J. Wagg of Opera North.

“We are delighted to be joined by Bank of America in celebrating the significant and enduring contributions of these devoted trustees,” stated Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. “The National Opera Trustee Recognition Award affords the entire opera community an opportunity to salute 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 professional 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 National Opera Trustee Recognition program is led by OPERA America Board Member Carol F. Henry (chairman of the board of directors’ executive committee, Los Angeles Opera). Committee members include: Elizabeth Eveillard (past chair of the board of trustees, The Glimmerglass Festival), Garry Fredericksen (past president of the board of directors, Indianapolis Opera), Ruth Orth (past chair of the board of trustees, Pensacola Opera) and Fillmore Wood (former vice chairman of the board of directors, Opera Pacific).

“OPERA America’s commitment to recognizing the multi-faceted contributions of opera company trustees is inspiring,” stated Chairman of the Board of Directors Dr. Frayda B. Lindemann, who is also a trustee of the Metropolitan Opera. “As former chairman of the National Opera Trustee Recognition Program and a current opera company trustee, I deeply admire the dedication of all the nominees and am honored to commend their achievements on a national scale.”

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

2013 Award Recipients

Lisa Erdberg
San Francisco Opera (San Francisco, CA)

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

Lisa Erdberg, a subscriber to San Francisco Opera since 1993 and a donor since 1996, has held a number of crucial leadership roles on San Francisco Opera’s Board of Directors, propelling the mission of the organization, including the positions of Executive Committee member, chair of the Directors and Officers Committee and vice president of the Board. Seeing engagement as essential to San Francisco Opera, Ms. Erdberg has been personally responsible for the Next Generation Task Force aimed at developing future audiences and donors. Ms. Erdberg has revolutionized the San Francisco Opera Board. Through her Engagement Initiative, she increased the financial contributions from the Board of Directors and encouraged them to introduce friends and colleagues to the opera, increasing San Francisco Opera’s audience. Ms. Erdberg streamlined the election process and created a smoother transition process for new leaders, making the Board more effective and efficient. Ms. Erdberg is also deeply dedicated to the financial well-being of San Francisco Opera. In 2007, Ms. Erdberg made an early pledge to the Comprehensive Campaign and recently made a significant gift to the Camerata, San Francisco Opera’s group of visionary donors who fund the projects that define the company’s international reputation. Donna Baston, director of foundation and government relations, stated, “Her involvement and financial support is never about personal recognition. Rather, it is always about San Francisco Opera and how she can best help the company be as successful as possible.”

Patricia A. Richards
Utah Symphony | Utah Opera (Salt Lake City, UT)

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

Upon being appointed vice chair of the newly merged Utah Symphony | Utah Opera (USUO) in 2004, a position she has called “the hardest assignment of her life,” Patricia A. Richards now serves as the chair of the USUO Board of Trustees. A visionary from the inception of the 2002 USUO merger, Ms. Richards led a special task force early in the merger and again in 2012 to acquire a better understanding of what has worked, what hasn’t worked, and how to improve on cooperative internal operations and relationships moving forward. Ms. Richards served as an instrumental force in locating a new CEO in 2007, as well as a new music director in 2009, demonstrating her deep commitment to the leadership and personnel of USUO. She is willing to lead as a fundraiser, government advocacy representative in the State Legislature, and personally recruits friends, neighbors and strangers to attend and support USUO. Additionally, Ms. Richards sought to focus the work of the Board of Trustees on real governance and strategic issues and aided the negotiation of the collective bargaining agreement with the Utah Symphony Musicians and Local 104 on five occasions. After retiring from her career as a banking professional for Wells Fargo in the Intermountain West, Ms. Richards and her husband, Bill Nichols, set the tone for USUO’s comprehensive campaign by donating $1 million dollars, saying that she “cannot ask others to make such a sacrificial gift without leading first as board chair.” Since that time, almost $25 million in additional support has been raised. “Pat Richards has been a pillar of strength for USUO. She has far exceeded any expectation of what a board chair should do for a nonprofit organization,” stated USUO President & CEO Melia P. Tourangeau.

Cherie Shreck
Des Moines Metro Opera (Indianola, IA)

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

Cherie Shreck’s lifetime contributions to Des Moines Metro Opera have been so significant that the organization recently named her an honorary member of its Board of Directors. She was a member the Board for a total of 14 years between 1989 and 2007, including serving as president of the Board of Directors, Executive Committee member and guild president. Ms. Shreck has demonstrated dedication to the financial well-being of Des Moines Metro Opera by organizing the first Salisbury Challenge to raise $1 million and establishing the Des Moines Metro Opera Foundation over 20 years ago. The Challenge ended up raising more than $4 million. Additionally, Ms. Shreck helped to lead the Apprentice Artist Endowment Campaign, the second Salisbury Challenge and the Robert L. Larsen Legacy Campaign. Her leadership has resulted in the Des Moines Metro Opera Foundation making an annual disbursement of nearly 25% of the annual company operating costs. Keenly aware of the importance of exposing individuals of all ages to the joys of live theater, Ms. Shreck brings new patrons to opera performances each year and has been a member of the Des Moines Metro Opera Guild since its inception. Stated Artistic Director Michael Egel, “Any compliment given, award lauded or applause rendered for the company is in part similarly accorded for Cherie…[she] is the epitome of an active and vibrant Board member who believes that the arts help define who we are not only as a community, but as a society as a whole.”

Timothy J. Wagg
Opera North (Lebanon, NH)

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

Timothy Wagg has been an Opera North volunteer continuously since 1996 after retiring from a career with Consolidated-Bathurst in Canada. Since that time, Mr. Wagg has served on the Board of Trustees, the Advisory Committee and chaired the Finance Committee. He has created a new revenue source for Opera North by managing sponsors and underwriters for the season playbill, securing $25,000 for the company annually. Mr. Wagg works tirelessly to make opera more accessible to larger audiences. In addition to attending all Opera North performances and recruiting newcomers, he analyzed Opera North’s demographic data, resulting in a 6% ticket sales increase. Mr. Wagg has obtained recognition and support for Opera North through his many corporate and nonprofit relationships. As Executive Director Pamela Pantos noted, “While the funds are vital to Opera North’s bottom line, the bonds that have developed have solidified Opera North’s reputation as a willing community partner.” Mr. Wagg revolutionized the accounting and financial practices of Opera North by updating protocols, securing a payroll system and managing reporting networks. Mr. Wagg also prepares the Opera North annual audit. After 16 years of dedicated service, Mr. Wagg is “a permanent fixture” at Opera North and a board member who exemplifies the generosity and commitment of an award-winning trustee.

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 Arthur R.A. Scace, Q.C., a long-time volunteer leader and past president and chairman of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Opera Company, as the 2013 recipient of its National Opera Directors Recognition Award.

OPERA America will pay tribute to these 2013 honorees and celebrate their remarkable achievements at a dinner and reception on Friday, February 22, in New York City.

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

Previous Award Recipients

Elizabeth Eveillard, The Glimmerglass Festival
Joseph Barker and Judy Liff-Barker, Nashville Opera
Susan F. Morris, The Santa Fe Opera
William C. Morris, The Metropolitan Opera
Dr. George R. White, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh

Eleanor “Ellie” Caulkins, Opera Colorado
Jackie Lockwood, Dayton Opera
John I. (Jack) Riddle, PORTopera
Lynn Wyatt, Houston Grand Opera

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.