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UPDATED: CEO and General Director Keith Cerny Resigns From Dallas Opera

by Jerome Weeks 15 Dec 2017 10:29 AM

After seven-and-a-half successful years, he’s headed for Calgary Opera.


Keith Cerny has resigned as the Dallas Opera’s CEO and president to take over the Calgary Opera in Canada.

Under Cerny, Dallas opera presented innovative, contemporary works like ‘Death and the Powers,’ the so-called ‘robot opera.’ He also made opera more accessible, simulcasting it into AT&T Stadium and Klyde Warren Park. He says Calgary is similar to Dallas in its programming and aims.

“So I’m very excited about the Calgary Opera and its plans for the future,” he says. “The opera is very innovative and has had a number of world premieres and regional premieres and it makes a big emphasis on community engagement, and with my background, those are elements that are a very good fit. Why now? Their previous general director retired in the spring, so they’ve been without a general director for a good number of months, and the board feels it needs a leader on ground. As for the TDO, the programming is ready and set, we just need to move into rehearsal in the spring. So it’s a really good time.”

Cerny has been in Dallas for seven and a half years. He got the company through rocky economic times, but he had to cut the number of shows to do that. Eventually, he balanced the budget – five years in a row. But he says he’s most proud of establishing an international institute to encourage female opera conductors.

Cerny starts in Calgary January 10th, and the Dallas Opera has begun an immediate search for his replacement.


Here is the press release:


The Dallas Opera Announces the Resignation of General Director and CEO Keith Cerny

DALLAS, TX, DECEMBER 15, 2017 – After seven-and-a-half years with The Dallas Opera, Keith Cerny, The Kern Wildenthal General Director and CEO, has tendered his resignation.

He has been appointed General Director and CEO of Calgary Opera, where he will assume his duties in January.

Dr. Cerny, who took the helm of The Dallas Opera in the spring of 2010, has presided over five consecutive balanced operating budgets and a host of artistic projects, expansions, and technical innovations. These include a highly-successful simulcast program; regional, U.S. and world premieres; and innovative community outreach programs.
Under his leadership, TDO 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, and hosted the successful 2017 OPERA America Conference, 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, as well as a team of highly-skilled senior staff members.

“Keith has every reason to be proud of his legacy,” notes Dallas Opera Board Chair Holly Mayer. “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.