THE DALLAS OPERA IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE
CONTRACT EXTENSIONS TO JUNE 30, 2022
FOR KEITH CERNY AND EMMANUEL VILLAUME
DALLAS, NOVEMBER 19, 2015 – The Dallas Opera is pleased and proud to announce contract extensions for its two most senior leaders: General Director & CEO Keith Cerny, and Music Director Emmanuel Villaume. Both contracts have been extended to June 30, 2022.
General Director & CEO Cerny, who joined The Dallas Opera in 2010, will continue to lead the artistic, fund-raising, and operational activities of the company. Working with the Board of Directors, Mr. Cerny will maintain his responsibilities for programming and casting, in addition to the selection of productions, directors, designers, guest artists and conductors.
Music Director Villaume, now beginning his third season with the company, will conduct three productions each year. Maestro Villaume will also continue to work closely with the general director on season planning, as well as their ongoing efforts to bring the world’s finest performing artists to North Texas.
In making today’s announcement, Board Chair Steve Suellentrop noted the following: “Over the past five years, Keith Cerny has demonstrated exemplary leadership. His artistic accomplishments include the commissioning of three world premieres in 2015, the launch of the Robert E. and Jean Ann Titus Art Song Recital Series to fill a vital musical niche in the North Texas performing arts scene, the expansion of The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition to the rank of a major national program, and the creation of the Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors.
“He brought a number of neglected operatic “gems” to North Texas for the first time, including Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers, Korngold’s Die tote Stadt, Peter Maxwell-Davies’s The Lighthouse and Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta.
“Keith has also reimagined the company’s relationship with the community, in all its diversity, by creating a free public simulcast program that has reached over 60,000 patrons in the U.S. and abroad.
“With an eye on the next generation of opera audiences, he led the development of an ambitious education program that presents nearly 100 performances and concerts each year to schools, community centers, and in other non-traditional locations.
“Working closely with the Board, Keith has also played a major role in achieving three consecutive balanced budgets – the first time in fifteen years that The Dallas Opera has achieved this result.”
Mr. Suellentrop went on to say, “Music Director Emmanuel Villaume has accomplished a great deal in his first two years with the company. In addition to conducting several outstanding productions, he has made Dallas his musical home; using his considerable intelligence and charm to forge extremely positive relationships with the community, our Board, and our supporters. We are incredibly fortunate to have Maestro Villaume as our Music Director, considering the constant demand for his services from the world’s leading opera companies and symphonies.”
Keith Cerny commented on the announcement: “Leading the Dallas Opera over the last five years has unquestionably been the highlight of my professional career, and I am greatly looking forward to leading the company in exciting directions in the future.
“As an opera company, we are extraordinarily blessed to have the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House as our musical home; a magnificent, acoustically acclaimed performance space in the AT&T Performing Arts Center that provides us with an opportunity to build on The Dallas Opera’s long and distinguished musical history—and take it to new heights.
“I am equally ecstatic that Maestro Villaume has been willing to make The Dallas Opera a central part of his musical life for the next seven years. With the Board’s strong support, I appointed him as Music Director in 2013, and have been delighted with his work for the company, both on and off the podium. He is a remarkable musician and colleague, and he and I have many ambitious plans for the future of the company.”
Music Director Emmanuel Villaume also responded to the news: “I am absolutely delighted to have extended my commitment to The Dallas Opera. Since the day I began as Music Director, I have been warmly welcomed into this community by everyone I have met. This city has created a remarkable Arts District; we are especially fortunate that Margot and Bill Winspear gave so generously for the design and construction of one of the world’s finest opera houses.
“I look forward to working with the excellent Dallas Opera Orchestra and the Dallas Opera Chorus throughout the coming years, while collaborating closely with Keith to continue to bring significant artistic projects, thrilling performances, and the world’s leading artists to audiences here in North Texas.”
“The promise of a new era in opera,” Mr. Cerny added, “that began with the company’s successful move in 2009 from Fair Park to the purpose-built Winspear Opera House and the creation of the Cultural Renaissance Endowment Fund, is in the process of being fulfilled today.
“When I think back on what we, as a company, have accomplished during the fast-paced years since, it makes me look forward—with greater anticipation than ever—to the innovative and exhilarating seasons to come.”
Keith Cerny, General Director and CEO
Keith Cerny’s career spans music, technology and business. He began studying piano at the age of 10, and performed extensively in his teens as a solo pianist and accompanist. He subsequently studied Music and Physics at the University of California at Berkeley. After graduating with highest honors in both degrees, he won a Fulbright Scholarship to London. There he studied at the English National Opera and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and performed and coached regularly for four years. Following his return from London, he worked for two years for the accounting firm Touche Ross & Co. in San Francisco before attending Harvard Business School. While living in Boston, Keith also accompanied voice students in the studio in the Chair of the Voice department at New England Conservatory. After graduating with honors from HBS, Keith spent nearly 15 years in management consulting, working first for McKinsey & Co. in London and Atlanta, and then as a telecom and high tech Partner with Accenture in San Francisco. During this period, Keith also completed a Ph.D. in Econometrics and Economic Development Policy from the Open University in the U.K. As a consultant, he worked on numerous pro bono projects for opera companies in parallel with his paid consulting work, including the San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera and Spoleto Festival USA. He was hired by the Board of the San Francisco Opera in 2004 as the Executive Director (COO) and CFO. During his tenure at SF Opera, the company achieved three years of balanced operating results, following an institution-threatening downturn prior to his arrival. He then worked for Russell Reynolds in San Francisco, recruiting CEOs and senior executives for non-profits, before taking over as CEO of SheetMusicPlus.com – the largest online retailer of sheet music.
Keith joined The Dallas Opera in 2010 as General Director & CEO. There, he has worked with the Dallas Opera’s Board of Directors and opera staff to stabilize the company’s finances and grow the endowment, leading to the first three consecutive balanced operating results in 15 years; recruited an accomplished new Music Director with an international reputation, Emmanuel Villaume, and a Principal Guest Conductor, Nicole Paiement; commissioned three world premieres by Joby Talbot and Gene Scheer, Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally, and Mark Adamo; launched the company’s free public simulcast series including an international simulcast of Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers to 9 locations in the U.S., U.K. and Continental Europe; and forged new artistic collaborations with the Dallas Theater Center, the Dallas Children’s Theater, University of North Texas, the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, and Dallas Museum of Art. In 2011, he was elected to the Board of Directors of Opera America, where he also serves as Chair of the Strategy Committee. In 2015 he was elected to the Board of Tessitura.
Emmanuel Villaume, Music Director
Now in his third season as Music Director of The Dallas Opera where he recently conducted Tosca, Iolanta and Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. He made his debut with the company in 1998 conducting Faust and returned to conduct The Marriage of Figaro in 2002. He is a frequent guest conductor at the world’s leading opera companies, including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, the Washington National Opera, Santa Fe Opera, London’s Royal Opera, the Paris Opera, Monte Carlo Opera, Venice’s La Fenice, the Munich Staatsoper, Berlin’s Deutsche Oper, the Hamburg Staatsoper, Madrid’s Teatro Real, and Buenos Aires’ Teatro Colón. He has led the Montreal Symphony in Montreal and at Carnegie Hall, the Chicago Symphony, the Boston Symphony, the orchestras of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, St. Louis, Detroit, Minnesota, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Beethovenhalle Orchestra of Bonn, and the China National Opera Orchestra for the 2008 Olympic Games. He is currently Chief Conductor of the National Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra. He served as the Spoleto Festival USA’s Music Director for Opera and Orchestra from 2001 to 2010. Maestro Villaume has recorded for Deutsche Grammophon (including Iolanta featuring Anna Netrebko), Decca and EMI. He recently assumed a new post as Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Prague Philharmonia, in addition to his work in Dallas.
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TEXAS INSTRUMENTS, 2015-2016 SEASON SPONSOR FOR THE DALLAS OPERA’S “SEEKING THE HUMAN ELEMENT” SEASON
Ticket Information for the 2015-2016 Dallas Opera Season
All performances are in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center unless otherwise described. Single Tickets range from $19 to $275. Flex Subscriptions are on sale now starting at $75. Family performance tickets are just $5. For more information or to make your purchase, contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online, 24/7, at www.dallasopera.org.