The Trustees Gather
OPERA America played host in February to opera trustees and patrons from around the country for National Trustee Weekend: four days of discussions, performances and social events. The annual New York City assemblage, held this year from February 22 to 25, featured the National Trustee Forum, a peer learning group of opera-company board members who discussed topics such as fundraising strategies, leadership transitions and production budgeting. They were joined by members of OPERA America’s own Board of Directors, its National Opera Center Board of Overseers and its philanthropic Ambassador Circle for an array of activities, including performances at the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall and The Juilliard School, as well as a trip to The Frick Collection.
The centerpiece of the weekend was the 10th annual National Opera Trustee Recognition Awards Dinner, supported by Bank of America and honoring four American trustees for their exceptional leadership: Jerry Clack of Pittsburgh Festival Opera, R. Marsh Gibson of Opera Memphis, Carol Lazier of San Diego Opera and Holly Mayer of The Dallas Opera. The evening also recognized Evan Hazell of Calgary Opera, who received the National Opera Directors Recognition Award from Opera.ca, OPERA America’s sister organization in Canada.
As a tribute to Bank of America for its 10 years of program support, OPERA America commissioned the song cycle Fierce Grace: Jeannette Rankin, with music by Kitty Brazelton, Laura Kaminsky, Laura Karpman and Ellen Reid, set to texts by Kimberly Reed. During the dinner, mezzo-soprano Heather Johnson and pianist Mila Henry performed a selection from the cycle, a treatment of the life of Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress. The event also featured soprano Michelle Bradley and tenor Kang Wang from the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.
The final day of the gathering included the dedication of the Leontyne Price Service Desk, located on the eighth floor of the National Opera Center. The occasion was marked by an interview with Ms. Price’s brother, Brigadier General (Ret.) George B. Price, who spoke about growing up with his sister in Laurel, Mississipi.