Your Salute to David

In his career as impresario, composer, and civic leader, David DiChiera has had, and continues to have, a profound affect on many people.  If you are reading this, there’s a good chance that you are among them. Michigan Opera Theatre invites you to share your personal salute to David.


Steven Mercurio, conductor

David is one of the last great impresarios, someone who dedicates their life and soul to creating opera.


Marian Pop, baritone

David never has to raise his voice, he directs only by his kindness and smile; his words lift you up. He doesn’t focus on what you did wrong.


Suzanne Hanna, MOT costume director

He loved Detroit when most people didn’t, and loved it in a gentle, kind and contagious way.


Rock Monroe, MOT director of safety and security

David just pulls you in. I’ve never met anyone with so much passion and drive for the arts. From the moment I met David, his total concern was how much he wanted to make this opera house a success.


David Osborne, MOT director of production

David has the knack of keeping morale high enough so people will march into battle, like an officer keeping his troops going.


Elizabeth Anderson, MOT production coordinator

David has this magic that reaches the individual. Not many people carry the spark that allows you to feel like a friend, as well as an employee — and feel it immediately. It’s instant.


Margarete von Vaight

What a lovely opportunity to say THANK YOU to “Dr. D”! I auditioned for Dr. Di Chiera a few years ago. Initially auditioning for a chorus part, I was later brought in for my first main stage audition. As discussed with Jean Schneider, Wagner’s, “Du Bist Der Lenz” was my audition piece. “Dr. D” piped up and requested “Dich Teure Halle” instead. Jean and I never rehearsed it. It was one of the most nerve wracking performances of my life, as page 19 of the score was missing. We pulled it off! In our brief conversation thereafter Dr. D posed the question “You need to sing. You’re the real thing. A real Dramatic Soprano. What are you going to do about it?” These words have stuck with me since and shaped my path forward. I thank you sincerely for establishing the company that became my haven on the other side of the lake. I am looking forward to Friday evening!



We appreciate all you have done for us in Detroit, Dr. D. Let us enjoy it all now, celebrate it all now, and prepare to hand it all over to generations to come in the future to enrich their lives as it has enriched our lives!!


Andrey Ilyasov

David is a living legend! A pillar of intellect, talent, and great passion for all things art. It is an honor to know this gifted soul!
Andrey Ilyasov, a lifelong fan



I am lucky that my first exposure to the MOT was under a director who understands the importance of diversity in his productions. I have been a season ticket holder for the last 4 years and plan continue for many more. Not only because the intriguing dramatic stories of the production but also because of the diversity of the performers. #representationmatters


Ann and Norman Katz

We salute you and thank you for enriching our lives by bringing opera and dance of the highest quality to our city. We are truly grateful to have had you in our lives and we will treasure the memories you have given us in the years to come



Dr. D had given his life to his loves, and thousands of us are the better for it. As an audience member, I cherish the love, wisdom, art, and excellence in every production. I can never voice sufficient thanks.


Martha & Peter Blom

There is no way to sufficiently thank you for all of the years of effort which has made this community such an important part of the Art world! But we try. THANK YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Philip Hadley

Dr. D has brought art, joy, and music to Detroit and southeast Michigan, not to mention, the world!. His vision, passion, and leadership have left a wonderful mark on this community, and we are all better for having him here. And you can’t find a nicer man when you meet him in the hallway! What a gift he is to our community.
Thank you!


Professor Karl D. Gregory

I met you when you first came to the Detroit area to be interviewed for a job at Oakland University where you performed excellently as the head of its performing arts programs. While there you discovered the opportunity for launching a permanent opera in Detroit and pursued it with a great passion. We at Oakland missed you but applauded your continued excellence and accomplishing diversity.


Michael Goler

David is a cultural treasure for Detroit. His impact on the quality of life and cultural affairs cannot be overstated. Anyone with a love of opera can only bow and thank you for all you have done for that art form. Thank you!!


Linda and Tom Klein

To David, what an amazing and fruitful career. Your contributions to the cultural and social life of Detroit has been immeasurable. So sorry we cannot be at your well deserved celebration.


Robert DiGiovanni

Maestro, grazie mille for your lifelong efforts to support and develop opera.
Few people can claim a legacy more important and enduring than a beautifully restored opera house and a thriving opera company.
Robert DiGiovanni and Judith Steeh


Aimee Ergas & Tor Shwayder

We salute a master who has brought art, creativity and joy to so many people. Bravo, David, and thank you!


John Dreifus

Thanks for creating and sustaining a wonderful opera company as well as having the foresight to acquire a first class venue.


Ron Bola

Years ago I told Dr. DiChiera about taking my partner Julie to see “Aida” at MOT. I told him she fell in love with opera then she fell in love with me! We ran into him at the performance of “The Girl of the Golden West” on his birthday. I introduced him to Julie, and reminded him of our story. He smiled, and said to her “Well, you have your priorities in order!” Such great humor!


Bud Liebler

There will never be another like you, David. You are a giant in the world of opera, in Detroit, and in our hearts. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You for your friendship and for all you’ve done, and godspeed in the future.


Frederic McCoy

The unexpected opportunity to serve as managing architect for the Detroit Opera House Elevator Tower and Stagehouse Addition was the most fortuitous event of my career. Only Dr. D could have looked at the crumbling hulk of the Capitol Theater in a half-dead downtown and foreseen its transformation into what it is today with such limited funds. Working with David and his team was such a pleasure.


Marty Collica

Hi, Dr. David. It has been my honor to get to know you over the past nine years. I want to thank you for the many invites to your home for family gatherings. These times were precious because they gave more insight into the man you are. You spurred my interest in opera. I’ve seen a variety of performances from Grand Opera to more modern cutting edge performances. Enjoy your retirement.

Pamela Sikorski

David is a wonderful , wonderful man of the arts! If he hadn’t personally (almost single handedly) brought opera to Detroit, I would have missed out on so many wonderful evenings at the opera. First with my mother, and then many years with my husband. I don’t want to sound overly dramatic, but going to the opera has added so much to my life. God bless you, David.


Karen Williams, Friend

The man who discovered so many stars is the brightest one of all! Thank you Dr. D. for being a force for good in our city for half a century.


Conrad L. Donakowski

He is an encyclopedia of skills–moral, musical, and managerial. Let us live up to his legacy.


Barbara Fisher

The Opera Cruise with you and your daughters was one of the best trips I have ever taken. You will be sorely missed.


Marianne and Alan Schwartz

Alan and I wish we could be with you on this special occasion. We cherish many memories that occurred over past decades…starting at the Masonic Temple, or even prior to that location. You are ‘The Grand Gentleman’ of Grand Opera!
Thank you for being who you are.


Fall Lakatos Family

Thank you, Dr. D, for sharing your brilliance, appreciation, and passion with our family, particularly our 9 year old daughter, a subscriber of four years. Each performance fills her with joy and she is THRILLED every time she sees you in the building. You’ve inspired all of us time and again and we look forward to many more years appreciating this gift that you have given.


Sally Bernard

I am so glad you took a chance on opera in detroit. Times were bad and you went ahead anyway. Look at the state of opera today thanks to you. I have been an opera lover for a long time and i am so happy I can see and hear it in my neighborhood. Thank you Mr DiChiera.


Lynne Metty

Thank you for bringing quality live opera to Detroit and Michigan. Thank you for our beautiful opera house. Thank you for your class, your modesty and your wonderful sense of humor. You have been a wonderful gift to our community.


Alice L. Johnson

Dear Dr. DiChiera, Thank you, THANK YOU! for lifting our city up to the Realm by anointing us with the gift of grand opera. Your superb passion and enduring persistence for excellence has enriched us beyond measure. We are eternally grateful.


Charlotte Merkerson, concertmaster emeritus

I love you Dr D
All the years we have worked together. Some Of those I have cried many nights.
Your Cyrano is one of those. I can no longer look at the stage or the prompter. Especially during the last act. I always start crying and have to stop playing for at least 30 seconds to wipe away tears from my eyes.
I will always love you and your love of the arts. You will always be admired..x0


Andy Levin

David, my own family represents your impact on Detroit, for you have meant so much to three generations — Dad, Mom, Uncle Carl and Aunt Barbara; Mary and me ; and Molly, whose tween years have been transformed by the MOT Children’s Chorus. Your devotion to city life and your insistence that art is its beating heart has shaped our lives — and our whole region.


Kate and Randy Safford

Seven years ago we became first-time subscribers! We have loved the Opera ever since. Your story, magic, love for the opera, Detroit, and the history of this building are phenomenal! Thanks for bringing more culture to our great City! We love you!


Vera Magee

David has been a great gift to Detroit. I would love to see a bronze bust or statue in the lobby of the MOT that will shout to future visitors that this is the house that David DiChiera built. He deserves no less.


Jon Krueger

When I was a fledgling pianist I worked briefly for Karen DC and met David, and was amazed at the level of professionalism at MOT and his kindness, too. I was always regretful that my time involved with MOT was too short.


Theodore (“Ted”) St. Antoine

For me you stand for all that one single person can accomplish, regardless of the odds, with imagination, dedication, persistence, and skill. The Detroit music scene will be forever in your debt. Personally, I treasure my few brief exchanges with you. You were quiet, thoughtful, attentive — one would hardly have recognized the storied impresario you actually are.


Richard de Bear

Thank you for singlehandedly bringing opera to Detroit and thank you for your many kindnesses when I was helping design and plan the Dance Library.. You have made a huge positive difference in the cultural life of the entire community.


Roger and Rosette Ajluni

We met when MOT was just a twinkle in our eyes’ Dear David enjoy your “retirement” Thank you for putting us on the culture map.


Dick Landback

We thank you for the survival of opera in Detroit and Michigan.


Bunny and Jan Homan

David has brought such beauty to our city. How lucky we are to have him. We are there every opening night in seats we picked when the opera house was under construction and the only heat in the building was the tent on the main floor.


Anne Smith

Dear Dr. DiChiera, We started going to the Opera House just three years ago. What an experience. We take our grandchildren when possible. Our grandaughter Cate met you at Wayne County Comm College for one of the performances. She is a teen who loves theatre and song. You’ve made an impression that will last. Thank God for special people like you and your company. Sincerely Anne Smith


James Tyler

David, I will never forget and forever be grateful for the time you spent showing me around the Opera House and telling me about the history of the building. You have been a wonderful friend and quite an inspiration over the years. I had the pleasure of enjoying Cyrano last weekend and look forward to seeing you tonight! All the best!


Denise and Thomas

As relative newcomers to Detroit, it didn’t take us long to discover MOT and the wonderful work which David DiChiera did for this city– reviving beautiful architecture and securing a home for opera perfomances. Followed by guiding MOT over the years with a high level vision, and leaving an amazing cultural legacy. Thank you for giving us opportunities to love this city as much as you do!


Monica Celizic

Thank you for everything. You made a difference.


Mary Howarth

Feel so blessed to have been able to experience quality live opera over the past 30 years. The MET on radio was an introduction, live at the MOT has been a gift.


John Keene

It was a great pleasure and honor to help produce “Cyrano” at Florida Grand Opera, and serve as Chorus Master. David DiChiera is a national treasure and one of the most generous colleagues imaginable, everyone I know has felt his warmth and kindness and support. And of course, his legendary and inspiring love for creating fine opera that has lifted us all up.


Paul and Lee Blizman

David saw a ruin of a building and transformed it into a place for music, dance, and operatic masterpieces in downtown Detroit. He has been a visionary advocate and indefatigable fundraiser for the opera house and the music it provides. We have always been amazed that such a “star” spoke to, remembered, was so cordial and interested in what we had to say. It has been our honor to know him.


Juliette Okotie-Eboh

BRAVO, Dr. DiChiera, BRAVO!!


Marjorie Fisher Furman

David without you the opera in Detroit would not exist! I remember when it was a dream in your mind and look what you have created. You have enhanced the culture of Detroit and brought the magic of opera to us all. I personally am so grateful to know and have seen your vision become a reality.


Pamela and Van Momon

David, we still remember your grand vision as we toured the Opera House under construction. There were no seats, just a lot of construction equipment and a gaping hole to the outside where the stage would be. You said this would be a nice place to sit and we have enjoyed that same spot since the Opera House opened. Thank you for all that you have done for us and the City of Detroit.


Ross Smith

Thanks for all you have done for Detroit and all the folks who live here! I know of no greater man. You are the best!!! Good luck on all your future adventures.


Jack Cederquis

Thank you, Dr. DiChiera, for bringing opera into my and my families life. You gave our son the chance to perform as a child with Joan Sutherland in Norma. That experience must have had an influence on that young person as he is now an opera director in Chicago. You have influenced and enriched the lives of many more than you may realize!


Eileen Evans

Thank you for many years of enriching our lives. Enjoy your retirement.


Barbara Nickles

David, I appreciated so much your encouragement to all efforts to bring classical music radio back to Detroit. You championed a failed AM effort , but when we finally got it all together with WRCJ, you were the first to host a joint meeting of the many interested parties at the Opera House. Thank you!
I loved being “on the air” with you on WRCJ twice. xx , Barbara Nickles


David Potter

Thank you for your visionary leadership in the arts by creating this wonderful company, your creative programming and your support for superb young talent in opera. Thank you also for your belief in Detroit, the decision to recreate the theater idowntown was inspired and has helped revitalize the community. You have made this wonderful art form a community possession.


Lois Norman

After the Salute last night I was thinking of what I would have missed if Dr. Dichiera had not come to Michigan. Forty plus years of wonderful music and drama have certainly enriched my life, as have the friends I have made through going to the operas. Many, many thanks Dr. Chiera.


Monica Jackson, former Asst. to Dir. of Production

As part of the Prod’n Dept., I recall returning from our very 1st tour of the building that would eventually become DOH convinced that Dr. D was certifiably crazyy! 20+ yrs later, I am convinced he is a brilliant visionary who loves the city of Detroit & the arts. Thank you for silencing the naysayers, establishing an unrelenting standard of excellence, being a gentle, caring leader.


Mari Vaydik

Thank you, Dr. DiChiera, for your dedication and hard work in service of bringing opera to Detroit. My first opera experience was Daughter of the Regiment in 2005. My mom and I have been subscribers ever since. We will deeply miss seeing you step from behind the curtain. Thank you for providing these treasured opportunities for us to enjoy wonderful music in a beautiful setting. Best wishes!


Sean & Kara Gavin

We were not opera-goers when we moved to the Detroit area 18 years ago – but now we are, thanks to the marvelous job you and your team have done! Bravo and best wishes.


Marci Schramm

You are the greatest mentor I ever had! I learned how to fundraise, be great at marketing/publicity, and dream big while working for you. Thank you for letting me be part of your MOT family – a special group. During our years leading up to opening the DOH, opening it, and then producing The Three Tenors and Andrea Bocelli, I gained lifelong amazing memories and experiences-thank you, truly



Thank you for bringing opera into my life and thank you for sharing yourself with us for so many years! Love and warm wishes – M


Walter Newgeon

Hail to the Chief!


Frank & Alma Partee

Your vision encouraged us suburbanites to venture into downtown Detroit when it was dark and forbidding to witness the transformation of a dilapidated theater into a place of beauty, and to see marvelous operatic productions. Thank you for this wondrous gift to our city.


Dodie & Larry David

For over 25 yeas you have amazed us with your tremendous passion, your commitment, your perseverance, your creativity and your endless love of family and friends. We are honored & blessed to have you in our lives. You have enriched our lives more than you will ever know.


Iris Green

Words cannot express the joy that you brought to me and my daughters. During rehearsals/intermissions, you always greeted them with a smile, asking them how they “personally” felt about the performance. It made them feel real special and they loved the opera house. Though you have done many BIG things remember its also the little things that you’ve done which continue to count.


Melanie Odom

Dear Dr. “D”, My journey to Opera began in ’02 as “a part of my job” in corporate PR…then it became a part of my LIFE. Thank U for giving me opportunities to experience this special art form & involve the Detroit community. I began taking my daughter @5 sitting in the rear to entertain many queries-she adored it.Wishing you the best, with love & gratitude, row Z patrons-Melanie & Ayana


Marilyn Alvey

Thank you so very much for partnering with the Whiting in Flint a couple of years ago to present a preview of the opera Frida. It was delightful and opened my eyes to opera. Two friends and I subsequently went on the tour, arranged through the Whiting, to view the Frida- Rivera exhibit, then to El Barzon for a delightful meal, and then back to the DIA to view the opera Frida. Fabulous evening!!

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