Final Bow

The search is on as Dallas Opera CEO departs for Canada

The search is on as Dallas Opera CEO departs for Canada

Keith Cerny, Jennifer Cerny, Don Winspear, Ellen Winspear
Keith Cerny, Jennifer Cerny, Don Winspear, Ellen Winspear Photo by Celeste Hart

Another shake-up has hit the Dallas classical music community. After more than seven years with the Dallas Opera, CEO and general director Keith Cerny has resigned.

He has accepted a new post in a new country: general director and CEO of Calgary Opera, where he will assume his duties in January. Around that same time, the DO will be announcing its new season.

Cerny, who took the helm of the Dallas Opera in spring 2010, has presided over a host of artistic and technical innovations, including the highly successful simulcast program. Regional, U.S., and world premieres have also been part of his legacy, along with community outreach programs.

Under his leadership, the DO launched one of the very few programs for women opera conductors and administrators: The Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors at The Dallas Opera. He also oversaw the organization's hosting of the 2017 OPERA America Conference, which has been extolled as one of the most productive and thought-provoking gatherings of the opera community in recent years.

His eye for talent led him to recruit both music director Emmanuel Villaume (currently preparing for Tosca at the Metropolitan Opera) and principal guest conductor Nicole Paiement.

"Keith has every reason to be proud of his legacy," says Dallas Opera board chair Holly Mayer in a statement. "We wish him every success with his new responsibilities as we turn our efforts to maintaining this company's impressive forward momentum and strengthening the collaborations with other arts organizations that have marked Keith's tenure here in Dallas."

The search for Cerny's successor will begin immediately. Longtime Dallas Opera board member, executive committee member, and former board chairman Kern Wildenthal will serve as volunteer interim general director and CEO until a new leader is hired.