Two thousand eighteen has been a monumental year for Michigan Opera Theatre. Most notably, it is the year in which we said goodbye to our beloved founder, David DiChiera. David’s vision continues to serve as our inspiration as we build upon his extraordinary legacy.
Earlier in the year, R. Jamison (Rick) Williams, Chairman of the Board of Michigan Opera Theatre, was honored as one of only four recipients nationally to receive a National Opera Trustee Recognition Award, presented by Opera America in recognition of his extraordinary leadership.
We were pleased to welcome several new members to the talented and dedicated Michigan Opera Theatre leadership team, including Frankie Piccirilli (Chief Development Officer), Andrea Scobie (Director of Education), and Arthur White (Director of External Affairs).
Opera: MOT presented a new co-production of an opera titled, The Summer King, about Negro League baseball star Josh Gibson. The opera inspired our landmark “Take Me Out to the Opera” initiative in which we celebrated trail-blazing African American artists and athletes with community partners including the Detroit Tigers, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Historical Society, the Detroit Public Library, the Josh Gibson Foundation, Rosedale Park Community House and Hamtramck Stadium.
Dance: American Ballet Theatre made its triumphant return to the Detroit Opera House with five nearly sold-out performances of Romeo and Juliet, featuring ballet stars Misty Copeland, Isabella Boylston and Daniil Simkin, among others. These performances were presented in cooperation with University Musical Society and supported by the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan.
Michigan Opera Theatre Studio:
Now in its fourth year, our Michigan Opera Theatre Studio had our young artists performing throughout the community and beyond in 2018. In addition to starring in 27 in Ann Arbor and Macomb, our resident singers performed a recital at the National Opera Center in New York City, showcasing their talents to the broader opera community.
The beginning of our 2018-19 season introduced an opera series featuring great works of literature, including Alexander Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin. It was also the beginning of our celebration of modern dance through the generations with the Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Company.
Looking ahead at 2019, we are delighted to open our winter/spring season with a special program featuring several of the leading dancers in the world. Just in time for Valentine’s Day weekend, Alessandra Ferri: The Art of the Pas de Deux stars the ballet legend in a series of romantic duets with other principal dancers from companies including American Ballet Theatre, English National Ballet and Boston Ballet.
The continuation of our series of operas based on great works of literature includes Voltaire’s Candide, the Grimm’s fairy tale Hansel and Gretel and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Our celebration of modern dance continues with the Alvin Ailey Dance Company and the Martha Graham Dance Company, in partnership with the University Musical Society.
As we begin a new year, we look forward to presenting the artistically compelling and exciting performances for our community.
On behalf of MOT, we wish you a happy new year and look forward to seeing you at the Detroit Opera House – Home of the David DiChiera Center for the Performing Arts in 2019!
Wayne S. Brown,
President and CEO, Michigan Opera Theatre