Gae Whitener new Director of Development

by Suzanne Calvin

It’s official! The Dallas Opera has announced a new Director of Development for the company, Gae Whitener, and a new Associate Director of Development as well. Get details on these important promotions in the release posted below.

(Photo courtesy of Karen Almond)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Contact: Suzanne Calvin (214.443.1014/suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org)
Or Megan Meister (214.443.1071/megan.meister@dallasopera.org)

THE DALLAS OPERA IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE THE APPOINTMENT OF A NEW
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
Gae Whitener
Formerly Associate Director of Development,
Foundations and Operations for the Dallas Opera
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Eva James Toia Named Associate Director of Development

DALLAS, MAY 31, 2012 – The Dallas Opera is very pleased to announce important promotions within the Department of Development: Gae Whitener has been appointed to serve as the company’s new Director of Development, effective immediately, after fulfilling those responsibilities in an interim capacity for the past year; while Eva James Toia has assumed the role of Associate Director of Development previously held by Ms. Whitener.
With a strong background in communications and marketing, Gae Whitener joined the Dallas Opera in 2004 as Grants Manager and Corporate Associate. In the years since, her energies moved beyond grant writing to handle special projects including OPERAtion HQ, the campaign to construct TDO’s administrative offices in the Winspear Opera House, as well as the three-year, $20 million Cultural Renaissance Endowment Fund initiative.
During her term as Interim Director, Ms. Whitener successfully managed the $8 million General Director’s Circle campaign for multi-year gifts.

“Gae consistently exhibits the outstanding qualities you look for in a leader,” explains Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny. “She is someone who clearly understands TDO’s artistic and financial strategy and can translate that understanding into tangible initiatives; a careful listener who provides thoughtful strategic input and operational planning; a genuine team builder who has earned the respect of her colleagues and her Development team; and an executive who has earned the respect and admiration of the patrons and donors who are vital to this company’s future success.
“In over seven years with the company, Gae has demonstrated real passion for the operatic art form and in-depth knowledge of Dallas Opera operations,” adds Mr. Cerny, “and she is adept at conveying that knowledge and enthusiasm in a manner that translates into successful 21st century fund-raising. Her hands-on involvement in several major campaigns this season proved crucial, and I am delighted she has agreed to accept the position of development director on a more permanent basis.”

Since joining the Dallas Opera in 2010, General Director and CEO Keith Cerny has embarked on a major restructuring plan to preserve and increase the company’s artistic reputation, while at the same time, making extraordinarily deep cuts in its operating budget. The company is expected to achieve a balanced budget during the 2014-15 Season—without any diminishment of artistic excellence or our commitment to new collaborations and thrilling new works.
During the past season, the Dallas Opera launched a new chamber opera series with a critically acclaimed new production of Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse (1980) and announced that the company has commissioned two upcoming world premieres: Everest, a one-act opera about an ill-fated 1996 expedition by British Composer Joby Talbot and American librettist Gene Scheer; and Great Scott, a new opera by American composer Jake Heggie and librettist Terrence McNally.

In addition to the appointment of Gae Whitener, Eva Toia has been tapped for the supporting role of Associate Director of Development for the Dallas Opera. Ms. Toia recently joined the company in the wake of a successful stint for the College of Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas, and, most recently, as Director of Development for the Dallas Wind Symphony. Ms. Toia will focus her energies on major gifts and government and foundation relations, as well as assisting Ms. Whitener in the day-to-day operations of the department.

“I couldn’t be more delighted to have Eva on our team,” says Development Director Gae Whitener. “Her development expertise and arts background, combined with her personal charm, make her a compelling fundraiser. I value her input and look forward to working with her closely on all facets of the department.”

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Full season subscriptions are now on sale (three performances) for the 2012-2013 “Pursuits of Passion” Season range from $75 to $1,020 through the Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or online at www.dallasopera.org. Single tickets will become available September 10th. Student Rush best-available tickets are available for $25 (one per valid Student I.D.) at the Winspear box office, ninety minutes prior to each performance. Inner Circle seating may be higher.
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KEY BIOS:

GAE WHITENER, DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT

A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she earned a degree in business administration, Gae Whitener’s wide-ranging experience has given her a strong business/marketing background in the healthcare, construction, and communications industries (her particular specialty), as well as in the arts. However, from her beginnings as Company Manager for the Pennsylvania Dance Theatre to her later work as a Development Associate for TACA, her interest in the performing arts has remained consistent throughout her career, leading to a position researching and writing grant applications and managing other responsibilities for the Dallas Opera in 2004. The recognition of Ms. Whitener’s leadership and organizational skills resulted in a promotion to Associate Director of Development, Foundations and Operations (which expanded her responsibilities to include a project management role for all development department initiatives) and she assumed the mantle of Interim Director of Development, following the retirement of former Director Cynthia Young in June of 2011.

EVA TOIA, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT

Eva James Toia joined the Dallas Opera in April 2012, bringing more than a decade of advancement experience in arts and education settings. Eva began her development career in 1998 at her alma mater, North Carolina School of the Arts, where she served as Director of Alumni, Career Services and Outreach for 13 years. In 2009, she returned to her hometown of Dallas to join the University of North Texas as Director of Development for the College of Visual Arts and Design, where she was responsible for fundraising programs and activities for the college. Most recently, she served as Director of Development for the Dallas Wind Symphony, where she led the fundraising and special event efforts since October 2010. Also a professional lighting designer, Eva is proud to combine her lifelong love of the arts with her experience and skill as a development and event professional with the Dallas Opera.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT “JUNE AT THE DALLAS OPERA”
IS CONVENIENTLY AVAILABLE ONLINE, 24/7
VISIT WWW.DALLASOPERA.ORG AND CHECK THE CALENDAR LISTINGS

For high-resolution, digital photographs suitable for print
To arrange an interview
Or for additional information
Please contact Suzanne Calvin, Manager/Director Media & PR
214.443.1014 or suzanne.calvin@dallasopera.org

THE DALLAS OPERA WISHES TO EXPRESS ITS GRATITUDE TO OUR EXCLUSIVE PARTNERS:

AMERICAN AIRLINES – OFFICIAL AIRLINE OF THE DALLAS OPERA
LEXUS – OFFICIAL VEHICLE OF THE DALLAS OPERA
CARTIER – OFFICIAL JEWELER & WATCHMAKER OF THE DALLAS OPERA
ROSEWOOD CRESCENT HOTEL – OFFICIAL HOTEL OF THE DALLAS OPERA

Ticket Information for the 2012-2013 Dallas Opera Season

All performances are in the new Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. Subscriptions start at just $75 and are on sale now. For more information, contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online at www.dallasopera.org.

THE DALLAS OPERA 2012-2013 SEASON INFORMATION
The Dallas Opera celebrates its Fifty-Sixth International Season in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in downtown Dallas. Evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees will begin at 2:00 p.m. English translations will be projected above the stage at every performance. Assistance is available for the hearing impaired.

AIDA by Giuseppe Verdi
October 26, 28(m), 31, November 3, 9, 11(m), 2012
Verdi’s Complex and Intimate Love Story Set in Spectacular Ancient Egypt!
An opera in four acts first performed at Khedivial Opera House, Cairo on December 24, 1871.
Text by Antonio Ghislanzoni, based on a scenario written by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette.
Time: Old Kingdom
Place: Egypt
Conductor: Graeme Jenkins
Stage Director: John Copley
Costume Design: Peter J. Hall
Lighting Design: TBD
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Latonia Moore (Aida), Antonello Palombi (Radames), Nadia Krasteva* (Amneris), Lester Lynch (Amonasro), Orlin Anastassov* (Ramfis), Ben Wager (The King of Egypt), Jonathan Yarrington* (Messenger), and NaGuanda Nobles* (Priestess).

TURANDOT by Giacomo Puccini
April 5, 7(m), 10, 13, 19 & 21(m), 2013
Puccini’s Last Masterpiece—Riddled with Passionate Romance and Unforgettable Music!
An opera in three acts first performed in Milan at La Scala, April 25, 1926
Text by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni, based on Carlo Gozzi’s fable, Turandot.
Time: Legendary times
Place: Peking, China
Conductor: Marco Zambelli
Stage Director: Garnett Bruce
Production Design: Allen Charles Klein
Lighting Design: TBD
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Lise Lindstrom* (Princess Turandot), Antonello Palombi (Calaf), Hei-Kyung Hong (Liu), Christian Van Horn* (Timur), Jonathan Beyer (Ping), Joseph Hu (Pang), Daniel Montenegrio* (Pong), Ryan Kuster* (A Mandarin), Steven Haal (Emperor Altoum).

THE ASPERN PAPERS by Dominick Argento
April 12, 14(m), 17, 20, 28(m), 2013
The Games People Play—Both Young and Old—To Achieve Their Twisted Desires!
An opera in two acts first performed in Dallas, November 19, 1988.
Text by Dominick Argento, based on Henry James novel.
Time: Legendary
Place: Venice, Italy
Conductor: Graeme Jenkins
Stage Director: Tim Albery
Scenic Design: Andrew Lieberman*
Costume Design: Constance Hoffman*
Lighting Design: Thomas Hase
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Assistant Director: Michael Mori
Starring: Susan Graham* (Tina), Nathan Gunn (The Lodger), Joseph Kaiser* (Aspern), Dean Peterson (Barelli), Sasha Cooke* (Sonia), Eric Jordan* (A painter), Jennifer Youngs* (Olimpia).

* Dallas Opera Debut
** American Debut

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The Dallas Opera is supported, in part, by funds from: City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs; TACA; the Texas Commission on the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). American Airlines is the official airline of The Dallas Opera. Lexus is the official vehicle of The Dallas Opera. Cartier is the official jeweler and watchmaker of The Dallas Opera. Rosewood Crescent Hotel is the official hotel of The Dallas Opera. Advertising support from The Dallas Morning News. The T. Boone Pickens YMCA, Smartwater and Stephen Pyles Restaurant--supporting partners. A special thanks to Mrs. William W. Winspear and the Elsa von Seggern Foundation for their continuing support.

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