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Keith Cerny

The Cerny Effect

Keith Cerny's surprise resignation from the Dallas Opera will have an impact; but his legacy, like the next few seasons, is set.


published Monday, December 18, 2017

Photo: Karen Almond/Dallas Opera
Keith Cerny

Dallas — General Directors of opera companies live in the future. Productions are booked three and even four years in advance. Thus, the surprising resignation of the Dallas Opera’s General Director and CEO, Keith Cerny, however disappointing that may be, has little effect on the next three years, as far as programming goes. Productions are set and casts, as well as crews, are under contract. While we will sorely miss the dynamic leadership of Cerny, his replacement will be on board long before he or she will be needed to program mainstage productions or finalize casts. The job, of course, demands quite a bit more.

Cerny, who is starting a new post at the Calgary Opera, has had a monumental effect on The Dallas Opera. He put it back on a firm financial footing and established the company as one of the most innovative in the business. World and regional premieres, as well as commissions, abounded. Collaborations with other local arts groups were wildly successful. His conducting program for women will have generational impact. His world-class hires will remain and the direction of TDO into the future is firmly set in place. We will miss him, no doubt. But his legacy will remain for decades to come.

TheaterJones reached out to Dallas Opera Board Chairman Holly Mayer, who had this to say:

“Over the past few years the TDO Board has adopted strategies for the creation of the ‘Dallas Model of Opera Production,’ a balance of classical opera, hidden gems, and new works,” which has enabled casting, commissions, and production planning to operate on a much longer timeline—in some cases, as much as five years out. There are no plans to alter any of the already-announced productions or TDO co-commissions. The Dallas Opera’s spring season will go on exactly as anticipated and we will be announcing the 2018-‘19 Season on Jan. 11, 2018. 

The success of the company over the last few years can be credited to a number of factors, including a very talented and professional senior staff and the robust engagement of the Board, as showcased in our recent OPERA America conference last spring. The Dallas Opera also benefits from the leadership and remarkable talent of Music Director Emmanuel Villaume, who is currently conducting at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and will be showcased on HD Live from the Met on Jan. 27, 2018.  Emmanuel, who is well known and respected throughout the industry, is fully engaged. He is active member of the transition team and has accepted an invitation to sit as a member of the search committee.

We are tremendously excited about our upcoming season and the continued success of the ‘Dallas Model.’ We have a terrific transition team in place and hope to announce an Interim General Director soon.

Our mission remains solid:  The Dallas Opera is a world-class performing arts organization producing outstanding main stage and chamber opera repertoire; attracting national and international attention; committed to extensive community outreach and education; and managed to the highest possible standards of artistic excellence, accountability, efficiency, and financial sustainability.”

We look forward to hearing who will replace Cerny’s sizeable shoes. Look for more on Cerny's departure coming on TheaterJones. Thanks For Reading





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The Cerny Effect
Keith Cerny's surprise resignation from the Dallas Opera will have an impact; but his legacy, like the next few seasons, is set.

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