Superstars of the Boardroom
OPERA America’s 11th annual National Opera Trustee Recognition Awards Dinner, held February 23 in New York City, honored four U.S. trustees for exceptional leadership: Carol F. Henry of LA Opera, R. Jamison Williams of Michigan Opera Theatre, Henry Fogel of Chicago Opera Theater and John Serrage of Opera Maine. Opera.ca, OA’s Canadian sister organization, presented its National Opera Directors Recognition Awards to Bruce Munro Wright of Vancouver Opera and Richard Cook of Edmonton Opera. The event, supported by Bank of America, also featured excerpts from Jack Perla and Rajiv Joseph’s 2016 Shalimar the Clown, performed by soprano Anush Avetisyan, tenor Joshua Blue and baritone Robert Mellon.
The evening was a highlight of OA’s February 21–24 National Trustee Weekend. During those four days, members of the National Trustee Forum, a peer learning group of opera-company board members, delved into topics such as the audience experience, board member engagement, and equity, diversity and inclusion. Members of OA’s own Board of Directors, its National Opera Center Board of Overseers and its philanthropic Ambassador Circle joined the trustees for outings around the city, including Semiramide at the Metropolitan Opera, Farinelli and the King on Broadway and a showcase of new works at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust. The group also attended a conversation between Marc A. Scorca, OA’s president/CEO, and composer Huang Ruo, whose new version of An America Soldier will bow this spring at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.
An especially meaningful event marked the last day of the gathering. The glass-walled alcove that hangs over the National Opera Center’s central staircase was dedicated as the David DiChiera Overlook, honoring the composer, former OA board chairman and founding general director of Michigan Opera Theatre. Funding for the tribute came from MOT colleagues and board members who have worked with DiChiera over the past five decades, many of them in attendance for the dedication, along with DiChiera himself.