Share Your Memory of David DiChiera - Michigan Opera Theatre

Share Your Memory of David DiChiera

Our beloved founder Dr. David DiChiera passed away Tuesday, Sept. 18. We remember him fondly. Please leave your thoughts, condolences, and memories of David here.

Christine Goerke

What an incredible ride, David. You have been an inspiration to generations of artists and audience members. You have brought light, love, tragedy, comedy, drama, and most of all perseverance and strength to the opera world. Your tenacious spirit and love of the art, your gifts to the art..... your gifts to all of *us* will never be forgotten. I personally thank you for the inspiration to know that we can make a difference in our business - all we have to do is believe in it. Sending so much love from my heart and sympathies to the entire DiChiera family, the MOT family, and indeed, to all of us on the loss of a great man.

Safe home, Dr. D. ❤️



Kathleen Battle

David DiChiera was a visionary and a gift to the artistic world.

I am so proud and grateful that he has been in my life from the earliest days of my career, and has given me some of my most treasured musical experiences. “Magic Flute” and “Barber of Seville” were among several of our collaborations at Detroit’s Michigan Opera Theatre—each of which were truly magical.

David DiChiera has provided a platform for young performers to develop and perfect their art—lessons that can be referenced throughout their careers.

Thank you, David!


Detroit Symphony Orchestra

The DSO mourns the passing of Michigan Opera Theatre founder and Artistic Director Emeritus David DiChiera. David was a guiding light for arts and culture in our city, bringing so much passion, creativity, and vision to his pursuit of artistic and community impact. He was one of the first to see the potential of a revitalized downtown and invested in the promise of a resurgent Detroit. We are so fortunate to have counted him as a mentor, colleague, and friend.


Leah Partridge

Dr. D,
You changed my life by giving me opportunities I never knew or believed were possible. I count being your Roxane in your beloved opera Cyrano, as one of the greatest moments in my career. Our work on the Kresge Foundation recording is also a bright light in my life. Your grace and support will be treasured by so many.

I will continue to honor your legacy by doing prolific and deeply moving work and helping others do the same. Thank you from every fiber in my being for showing us how to live authentically and passionately, but most of all with kindness. I love you. Roxane


Patrice S Nolan

Once, as a young working mother, I splurged at the last minute on tickets to Madame Butterfly. When I called to see about tickets, the only ones available were from a patron who couldn't use them. Seated on the main floor that night (instead of my usual nose-bleed seats) and just before the curtain rose, I turned to my guest and suggested we get our kleenex ready. In front of us, a gentleman turned around. It was David DiChiera, who shared that he wanted to sell hankies with the M. Butterfly emblem, but ran out of time. He wished us a pleasant evening, and we got on with the show. Meeting him a few other times, I was impressed with how much he loved people who love music ... and seemed tireless in bringing beautiful music to all.


Steven Brown

I worked for Dr D during the late 80’s in MOT’s computer department. Although I have not been connected with the organization for many years, I remember him being a very pleasant man to be around and a joy to talk with. He was certainly well known and highly respected in the Detroit Arts community and his commitment and dedication to MOT and the subsequent Grand Circus project was above question.

Thank you for my very first experience with opera and being able to meet many notable names in the art form. Many will continue to enjoy the fruits of your labor for years to come. RIP, sir.


Gema M Long

David was a wonderful man and very down to earth. His love of the MOT was always evident. He was fun to be around and always made friends of those he met.

He will be missed as a man who believed in his ventures and love for the things he inspired in all who met him.

May all celebrate his life.

Rest in peace



Nancy Arnfield

I first met David in 1965 when he formed the Overture to Opera company that traveled wherever they were invited to introduce Metro Detroiters to the operas that were going to be brought in by the MET during their annual cross-country travel. It gave an opportunity for his students and others to sing pieces they might never be able to do "on stage." They came to Macomb Community College and provided a marvelously accesible experience for our Humanities students. In later years I worked as a volunteer with MOT as a dresser and as a coordinator for the chorus make-up, moving from the Music Hall to Masonic Temple to the Fisher to the magnificent Opera Theatre. It was amazing to see what one person's dream and commitment (along with all those who were involved in every aspect of it's evolution) could accomplish in one lifetime.


Dean Robert Jones

Arrivederci Dr D !!


Lynette Tapia

Dr. D knew me since I was 15 years old. He heard me sing as a high schooler and gave me my first major role in my career at Opera Pacific. It was an incredible opportunity to sing my first Adele, with a stellar cast! He also gave my husband , John Osborn, and me the greatest opera to debut together in Fille du Regiment with Richard Bonynge at the helm! I am forever grateful for that! He will forever be in my heart. He has touched so many people’s lives in a positive way. Thank you Dr. D for believing and taking a risk with me! So many great things followed after those operas! My love and prayers are with your family and all who love you. Rest In Peace.


Teri Wertman

I started a long career in professional theater with MOT back in the late 80s. If it hadn't been the putting together of two internship stipends I would not have been able to do it. Grateful for David and Karen and the rest of the company back then for hiring me, and allowing me to move from one job to another, and then another, and another.... Dr. D was a constant throughout.


Kathleen Trudgeon

My twin daughters and I had a chance meeting on the street with this wonderful gentleman when we were in Detroit for the ELCA National Youth Gathering in 2015. He took out entire group into the Opera House for a personal tour! He took us through “his” door and onto the stage. He then went to each of the teens, asked them their names, where they were from, and what they wanted to do with their lives. My daughters had just started performing in high school theatre (one behind the scenes and one on stage). This was the absolute highlight of our trip!

We will never forget Dr. D. and his kindness and generosity that evening. We send our heartfelt condolences to his family.


Monica Celizic

Very few people leave this world a better place than they found it, but Dr. DiChiera did. Thank you - I shall never forget all the wonderful evenings at MOT-none of which would have been possible without you. Rest now, dear Dr. D.


Elena Voyles

I will never forget going to my first opera in Detroit as a young teenager. I already had a love of singing but watching MOT's production of Nabucco changed the way I looked at opera and classical music. Over the years I've been lucky enough to see many operas in Detroit, almost all of them beginning with Dr. Dichiera coming out and expressing his love for whatever score was being performed that night. As I got older, my father, who is a Detroit history buff, told me about the history of the opera company. About what the Opera House used to be and about how this passionate, soft spoken man who I knew from all those operas had such a influential role on music in the city. I do not think I would have pursued music without all those nights in the opera house, and more importantly I don't think I would have as much of a passion for sharing music with others.


Jason Kadlitz

I will miss you my friend! It has been a great pleasure of mine to have you in my barber chair all these years. Your friendship has been a real blessing. May you rest peacefully where ever you are. You will be missed immensely by all who have known you. My families thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

P.S. Thank you for your generosity in letting my family use BOX #2 all these years too.

Jason Kadlitz


Ursula Eggers

So very sad to hear this
David offered me a job in1979 to be his assistant but I had just committed to go to Chicago
However we had a special bond and I was always happy to see him when he came to Chicago to see his daughter and visit Lyric at the same time



I cannot remember a time when Dr. D wasn't at a Supers' try-out, or a rehearsal, or performance. Dr. D seemed to always be at the Theater. Always saying hi and talking to everyone.
The activity of always be present and always being ready to talk to anyone, that's a way to lead.
He might be gone, but I'll always remember him.
Rest in Peace.


Stacey Recht

David / Dr. D. possessed a wealth of loving creativity, vision, energy, knowledge, compassion, imagination, conviction and kindness. He was generous with that wealth. He lifted individuals with his bright human spirit and lifted the region through the art form of opera. I am deeply grateful for a professional friendship with Dr. D., and considered it my honor to serve his vision in the short time we worked together. Detroit has lost a giant and is forever changed due to his legacy and life's work. And those who knew him personally are changed, too. I will miss you, David. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


John Perry

I was an apprentice with MOT in 1979 (yikes). I had a wonderful experience there. The professional benefit was enormous. I was privileged with work with some wonderful singers, (Martina Arroyo, Suzanne Marsee, and Mignon Dunn). I made some life long friendships. Watching David manage the season was a lesson in good management and inspiration. My condolences to his family and the Detroit Opera Community.

John Perry


Mary Austin

My prayers go out to Dr. DiChiera's family. I always looked forward to seeing him on my visits to the Opera House. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him and worked with him. Such a kind person.


David Parsons

My sincere condolences to David’s family, and his many friends and admirers. Dr. DiChiera gave me my start as a professional singer. I was a member of the first MOT Resident Company in 1978-79, and returned to sing Papageno in Detroit in Dayton in 1984. Before any of that, my mother was a friend and supporter of David’s, helping him to present touring productions throughout the state of Michigan. Given the amazing success story that Michigan Opera Theater has become, it may be difficult to appreciate how impossible his vision seemed when he first presented it in the early 1970s. His vision and determination and passion worked a real life miracle in downtown Detroit. His was a life very well lived. May he rest in peace.


David Ammer & Nell Duke

Heartfelt condolences to David's family. His work at MOT has impacted so many lives, including ours. His leadership is an inspiration to the Detroit arts community and beyond. We will miss him greatly.


Paul LeBlanc (20yr MOT season ticket holder)

Sad Detroit lost another exceptional person.


Gloria Parker

Farewell, dear David. Thank you for Cyrano, Dead Man Walking, Magic Flute and more. Your kind heart and warm spirit were like no other. RIP.


Pat Karakas

Such a wonderful man ! Played violin in the pit for Michigan Opera Theater for over 10 years . David always made it a point to come down , lean over the pit , and greet us before rehearsal. There were also many nights of " Thank You ladies and gentlemen " directed over the side of the orchestra pit at the end of the day . David made all the members of the company feel so appreciated . A rare gem it the opera world.... His smiling face and positive vibs will always be with me.



A truly great man whose legacy will shine brightly in our city for decades to come.


Lorrie Kecskes

It was an honor to work for and beside David. Although my time with MOT was short, David always treated me as a tenured member of the team.

I'm glad I can say I met a true visionary and inspiration when I met David D.


Subhash Kapur

David was a friend who came to see me as a patient but became a friend. We discussed world politics and arts at length.
David, I will miss you.



David Jackson

Back in the '80's, when the Company was still performing out of the Fisher Theater and Masonic Temple, Dr. D took a chance on a brash, young tenor by hiring him to play Frederic in "The Pirates of Penzance". It was my first role of many with MOT, and my first serious professional break.

Dr. D was like that: he loved singers, loved mentoring them, and loved discovering them and presenting them to a new audience. I'll be forever grateful and indebted to him for his kindness, generosity, artistic foresight, and ability to make amazing leaps of faith.

Farewell, David - you are missed. The world's tapestry was made richer by your presence!


Charles A. Phillips

David DiChiera will always remain in my thoughts. I have so many memories of wonderful opera performances by the MOT including operas not often seen ("La rondine," "Peter Grimes," "Porgy and Bess"...), and for these memories I lovingly thank you, David.

My prayers are with your family and friends. Over the many years to come, may the MOT continue to present the best in musical theater, and thus, continue to serve as a fitting, living monument honoring the memory of the man responsible for its existence.


Mj Stelmach Honner

I knew David back in the '70s, when we were in a little thing called the Harmonie Park Association. Our group would come up with some improvement for our tiny triangle area - an improvement which was usually frowned upon by the City of Detroit - and David would pull strings and kick butt to get it done. Those were exasperating but wonderous times! We worked hard but had a lot of fun all together. And David was such a great, artistic, generous, and innovative guy. It was such an honor to know him. Detroit has lost another icon. With fond memories. Rest in Peace.


Patricia Preston

Always alert, charming and soothing the nerves of even world-class singers behind the stage, a solid gentleman and still relentlessly performing fund-raisers for his vision and an Opera House for Detroit, despite all odds or building codes, Dr. David DiChiera accomplished what few may ever envision. He was unfailingly kind and courteous, always very witty and much fun. I was privileged to assist him in fundraising efforts and cherish every moment of memories with him. May MOT continue the best efforts and productions with him in mind. I remember him with sparkling eyes and much gesture: "What a beautiful house!"


Trish Shandor

BRAVO to your commitment to art and culture. I now have comfort knowing that heaven will be extravagant, opulent, elegant and as regal as was your vision for our Detroit Opera House.

Detroit Opera House became more than just a place for an opera company. It was so much more. It was a place to build a community through art, education, creation, and innovation. It was a place not just for artists to gather but a community who loved and supported your vision. We should all strive to model ourselves in your ambitious image.

GOD BLESS YOU DR D and Arrividerci! Much love and appreciation to a great man who reminds us all to FOLLOW YOUR PASSION AND LIVE YOUR BLISS!


Rhuesel Cole

I thank the Lord for the gift he gave to our world's. He and The Opera house has been a great jewel to the city of Detroit and to the Detroit Public schools. We love you all and will pray for the comfort and peace of his loved ones.


Christine S

We saw our first opera (Don Giovanni) on April 30, 1995 at the Masonic Temple. This man stepped out from the curtains and announced the plans for Michigan Opera Theater. We didn't know who he was, or what it all meant, but after that first opera, we were hooked. We came to recognize that man as the years past, and we saw many many more operas. David DiChiera's accomplishments with Michigan Opera Theater, and the Detroit Opera House are astounding, and we are so happy we were there when it all happened. May Mr. DiChiera be at peace and know that his efforts did not go unrecognized.


Grant Stokes

Dr. D, was an amazing man and a generous person who gave me my start as an assistant director at Michigan Opera Theatre and then Opera Pacific I turned out to be a film and television actor in Chicago but I miss the days of Michigan Opera Theatre and all the wonderful people I was introduced to and all the artists that I got to work with all because of Dr.D we will miss you very deeply. Grant Stokes


Laurie Wilson

I’m very proud to have been a part of MOT youth chorus in the late ‘70’s. He was a very kind man and I always remember he, Karen and the girls with the fondest memories from that time.


Carol Gagliardi

I feel so fortunate to have enjoyed so many world class opera productions at the Detroit Opera House. The passionate David DiChiera made Detroit a better place and he made my life richer from those beautiful musical experiences. I love opera thanks to him.


Richelle Wojtczak

What a great man. I appreciate his vision, passion, dedication. His impact on Detroit is big, powerful. I hope that we continue, making him proud and taking care of the legacy he built. ❤️


Gualberto Ranieri

A great and honest man. A wonderful friend.


Carolyn Thibideau

This great man built a world class opera company and a great opera house. His genius and generous spirit were a great gift to Detroit and to Michigan. He enjoyed strolling through the opera house at performances and chatting with audience members. I am grateful to him at every opera performance. I think a Detroit street should be named in his honor. He was an amazing person and found the ways to make his dreams come true for all of us. Thank you Dr. D.


Gary Moy

May the love and memories of David always bring comfort and joy to us all.
From the company (MOT) and the house (DOH) that David & Karen built, to their dedication to bringing artistic exposure and opportunities to the community, to their personal investment in the heart of Detroit, Dr. D's real masterpiece shall be this legacy.

It was my honor to have known you and to have worked with you.




Linda Smith

David made 2 trips to Miami in 2011, when Florida Grand Opera presented his magnificent Cyrano. I was assigned to
take care of whatever personal assistance he required. This was not a job. It was a pleasure and an honor.
Not once did David ask me for anything. In his quiet way, he would simply mention what he needed - a ride,
directions, groceries, etc., knowing that I would take care of whatever it was. I pray that the proverbial
"flights of angels" have led him to the rest he so richly deserves.


alex erdeljan

What a terrible loss! It is difficult (impossible?) to think of another individual who, almost singlehandedly, had as much impact on this area's cultural life as David DiChiera. It is not only what he did, but, that he did it HERE, when, undoubtedly, he could have done it on a much bigger stage.

Bravo, David! Thank you for many unforgettable experiences you made possible.

God bless you!


April B

My deepest condolences to his family and his family at MOT. I don't have any stories that I can tell of him and I. I can say that every time that I saw him at the MOT he has always spoke to me as if he's known me all my life. Everytime!!!


Lisa A. Meils, MD

David, our adventures started with a visit to the antique market years ago. You came home with a wonderful set of dining chairs. But I left with something far more precious: your remarkable friendship. You made the world a better place in so many ways.


Kurt Howard

David loved finding light in everyone. Many have blossomed in his sunshine, and I was very fortunate to bask in that sunshine for 7 years by his side at Michigan Opera Theatre, Opera Pacific and Dayton Opera and the beginnings of the Detroit Opera House.

My 100 Acre Forest has forever lost it's Winnie the Pooh, the gentle spirit leading us all off on a grand adventure.


James Greer

I grew in this man's vision. He has directly and indirectly informed every facet of my creative life since moving to Detroit from Atlanta in 1978, when I was 21. It has been an honor and a privilege to perform in the orchestra for him and the city he loved for lo, these many years. Godspeed, Dr. D, from me and the many, many artists, across the disciplines, who carry a candle lit from your torch!


Bud Liebler

David was simply one of a kind. There was nobody else like him, soft spoken, genteel, universally kind to everyone and universally loved and respected. A huge and dynamic man in a small but elegant package. He did so much for opera and so much for Detroit. Our only thanks can be to keep him in the place where we individually keep all our fondest memories and to think of him often. Bravissimo and arrivaderci, Dr. D.! You will live on.


richard darlak

I was fortunate to have been a member of the MOT Chorus many years ago. David was always kind, helpful and caring. While visiting Michigan recently I happened to bump into David while walking downtown. We recognized each other and David greeted me with his usual warm smile. He will be sorely missed. My condolences to his family.


Wendy Carroll

So very sorry to all of his family, friends and admirers for their loss. Truly saddened that we’ve all lost this wonderful man, but I will be forever grateful that, if not for him and all that he did bringing and keeping great opera here in Detroit, I might not love opera as I do.

True that I grew up with my father listening to opera and he’d ask the wee little me if I could sing like that (soprano on the radio), and I did the best ‘fake soprano’ I could, not realizing the seed was planted. Then, flash forward to my thirty-something years I was working in downtown Detroit and a co-worker was talking to another about opera in Detroit. I was curious and thought I ought to go and see what’s it’s like. It was Aida, my first opera, here in Detroit, and it was a wonderful, wonderful production! I absolutely fell head over heels in love with opera at that point and went to any and every one I could afford. During a tough economical time, I couldn’t go for many years, but then was able to come back, subscribed, and enjoyed so much since. It is in this time I learned more and more about Dr. David DiChiera and grew to love a man I didn’t really know personally but admired and appreciated beyond words.

To Dr. DiChiera, we love you, we’ll forever miss you, a million times thank you for everything (and a million is not enough!), and please rest in peace, our dear Dr. David DiChiera! Thank you for being the person you were and thank you for allowing a selfie with me, I will treasure it for the rest of my days!!! XOXO


Jack Faxon

As a Michigan Legislator who brought forth the Michigan Council for the Arts I was dedicated to assisting and promoting the arts and was always an opera enthusiast so it was no wonder that after I secured state assistance for the Detroit Symphony and Institute of Arts David called me to see if I could include his organization and naturally I agreed. We formed an immediate friendship and shortly thereafter were going to Lansing together with Bob Heuer driving and David anxious to work his charm on my colleagues. Knowing the political situation in Lansing I suggested a name change for his company and he immediately concurred with changing the name from a local identification to one promoting our state and thus the name Michigan Opera Theater. I became friends with his family and soon thereafter his MOT became another cultural icon in our community. David was tenacious and clearly persistent in turning his vision into a reality and indeed took us from the Music Hall stage to his beautiful grand opera house. He did the impossible as I was with him going thru the original rundown building and proceeding to do his magic in the conversion. His legacy will always be an eternal flame to his friends, family, and admirers throughout the nation and international opera world.



,,, Tears water our growth ...

Wm Shaespeare


Margaret A Tallet

David DiChiera was the Detroit art scene's most visionary and accomplished leaders for decades. While others came and went or stayed and did what they could, David pressed forward to accomplish what was once believed to be impossible in our town. I will forever be grateful for his friendship, his kind ways and, most of all for his commitment to the D as a world class city!

God speed, David! I know you are making heavenly music ....



Performing Arts Department at University of Detroit Mercy

The Performing Arts Department and the Detroit Mercy Theatre Company of University of Detroit Mercy mourns the passing of David DiChiera. His vision, leadership and passion for the arts will not be forgotten. His creative spirit is an inspiration for all of the artists in our community. We celebrate and treasure his accomplishments. You will always be in our hearts and in the songs that we sing.


chris wagnerjones

I was so heart broken to hear about Mr. DiChiera. I have been a season "OPENING NIGHT" ticket holder for the past 10 years and I always looked forward to seeing Mr.. Di Chiera welcome the audience and sharing what to look forward to in that night's opera performance.

I also enjoyed listening to him on the radio talking about up and coming opera performances. I was impressed by the opera that he wrote and presented last year in 2017 season closer.

You will be surely missed Mr.DiChiera but walking into the OPERA HOUSE for this season's 2018 opener will leave a warm, pleasant, beautiful feeling for the love of this form of art in my heart. Thank you so much.

Your Avid Opera Fan from the suburbs Chris W-J


Sandra Hormozi

A quintessential man and musician in every way. A man who recognized talent globally and instinctively and who actually wanted to give someone a chance. He saw beyond most human beings. In me, he gave audience to a fledgling Artist Manager whom most in his position don't even deign to reply to an email let alone welcome into their office just to chat, ask your opinions and also ask how you were. This elegant man opened his ears and heart with no prejudice and afforded many of my artists their debuts, triumphal debuts in his theater where he created an atmosphere that felt like family. He was a gentleman, a scholar, an artist, an irreplaceable giant in the opera world, and mostly a lovely human being for whom I will be eternally thankful and eternally miss. You join in heaven all the other great stars and deservedly so. My sincerest condolences to his family and the great city of Detroit.


Diane Willard

David was the sweetest, kindest man...may perpetual light shine upon him.


Maggie Zakem

Dr. DiChiera always introduced the operas, a lovely personal touch that also gave us some insight to what we were about to see. My favorite memory is his introduction to the matinee performance of "Carmen" which that year was also Mother's Day. "Don Jose would have been much better off if he had listened to his mother," he said to much laughter. "But then we wouldn't have this wonderful opera."


Lori Burrill

My David DiChiera story started in Orange County, CA. David had been recruited to launch a new opera company, Opera Pacific, and he was seeking an arts administrator to assist him and serve as the point person when he was in Detroit. I was recommended to him by Marty Furber, who I came to know at Wolf Trap, where I interned. Karen DiChiera was my advocate and, although I was young and my talents were relatively unknown, David took a leap of faith. I'm so very glad he did! It was the most magical, challenging, fulfilling journey of my lifetime to date. During that time, I met my future husband (tech week of Aida) and we raised two wonderful young women. The memorial was poignant and touching, but there is a whole David DiChiera fan club in the west coast that I'd like to acknowledge here. They, too, are mourning the passing of a loving, kind, wise teacher and administrator. I will most-likely forget some, but a few that come to mind are: Martin Weil, Maurice Allard, Donna Bunce, Patrick Flynn, Christine Do, Janne Hammel, Kurt Howard, Tim Dunn, Todd Bentjen, Debra Valle, Tom Hammond, Hugh Saddington, Patrick Seaver, Maggie Price, Bill & Barbara Roberts, George Weston, Stephen Rapp, Barbara Vanezia, Gloria Gellman, Floss Schumacher, Tom Lane, to name just a few. David spent a decade building Opera Pacific and I was there for 12 of those years. When he left to focus 100% on opening the opera house, Opera Pacific struggled to stay alive. Without his love and care, unfortunately, ultimately, OP did not survive. However, David touched all of us in the journey of building the company and enjoying a decade of wonderful performances - Pavarotti, Joan Sutherland, Renee Fleming, Ruth Swanson, Jerry Hadley, in many incredible productions of which I had the pleasure to take a part in producing,: West Side Story, Boheme, Aida (one of the two we produced had a truck of scenery stolen the week of opening! Thankfully, it was found a few days later!), Walkure, Faust, Norma, Magic Flute, Romeo and Juliette, Turandot, Traviata, Trovatore, Barber of Seville, and many, many others.

I am so very grateful to have had time with David @ 5 weeks before his passing. Thank you, Lisa DiChiera, for helping to facilitate the visit with grace and warmth. David has left behind two amazing women, who spoke so eloquently of their father at the service and managed his illness with maturity, wisdom and love. Not only am I thankful for knowing David as I did, but I am thankful that I was given the gift of friendship of his whole family. Yes, we will all move forward with a heavy heart, but we also know "it will be o-kay". We love you David.

The Burrill family in California


Daniel Enright

I have known David for 40 years. I met him while auditioning for a small part in his production of "Carmen." We took the show on the road to Kalamazoo. David and I became close friends. We would see each other when he would travel to Southern California and when I would travel to Detroit. I loved everything that he did for MOT - and he was proud of the fact that I was able to produce such productions like 'Sweeney Todd' and 'Company."


Sadie Rucker

Mark and I have such great memories of Dr. D during those years when Mark sang with all 3 of his companies. David believed in people's talent and hired Mark for so many roles when African-American singers were not being considered for them. Dr. D believed in inclusion and diversity and we will always be grateful to him for that and for so many others things: his kindness and vision. Dr. D you have left us with a huge loss now but treasure all your accomplishments, your music, your caring for young( and older singers) and that amazing company and it's opera house that you built from nothing. We'll miss you but will have those wonderful memories and gifts you have given us. Sending condolences to his beautiful family . We all grieve with you.
" May Flights of Angels Lead You On Your Way", Dr. D.

Love, Mark and Sadie Rucker


Daniel Enright

David DiChiera was a friend of mine for over 40 years. I first met David when I was cast as part of the chorus in "Carmen" in the 1977-1978. season. David was kind enough to give me a small speaking part in that play. After I finished my degree at WSU, I took a job at the Music Hall - and I got to see more of the genius of David DiChiera.

I moved to LA to pursue a graduate degree. David began "Opera Pacific" in Costa Mesa. We discussed many opera producitions and I was present one night when a man from the NY Met Opera got up and sang. He was 96 years old.

Because I was from Detroit and David made this his home, I had the great good fortune to see him when I traveled back east.

I thank you and love you for all the great dinners in LA and in Detroit - and at your home. You are so blessed to have such beautiful daughters - along with their families and with Karen. God bless you all. love, Daniel Enright


Ronald Primeau

David accomplished much! But the best part of David was Karen Di Chiera who shared her knowledge, generosity, and love with students of every age for decades. Karen ran the best Opera Education Program in the country. She reached out effectively to people who had never attended opera and thought they did not like it. In the process she reached students all over the state of Michigan, . Karen was also a wonderful talent builder for MOT. She discovered and encouraged new talent. She was never too busy to help anyone and created great enthusiasm for opera!


Pam Rowland

David DiChiera and the Michigan Opera Theater are twisted into the very fiber of my family. My husband took David's opera class at Oakland University long before we met and became a fan. We didn't always have money for season tickets but we went when we could. When we started our family my husband introduced my son at the age of three to opera and he is still a loyal opera follower, while still in grade school my son turned down a chance to see les Misarable in favor of seeing Faust. So it was Faust we saw and by some crazy twist our seats were in the row behind David DiCierra's and during intermission my husband introduced us and they chatted about the days at Oakland. Many more stories over the years crossing paths in simple ways. In 2005 my husband died and we continue to go to the opera as a family. I'm so thankful for the ways my familie's life has been enriched by David's life work. Thank you to his family for sharing him with this community and the music world.


Wes Fishwick

In the summer of 2016 Dr. DiChiera responded to an invitation from me to attend my little one-act opera, Headstrong, which was being staged at the Eleanor and Edsel Ford House. After the performance he paid me a great compliment - he said, "I had a really good time..." Later on he inquired about how the composition of a second act was going.

Dr. DiChiera was always supportive of music and musicians throughout the Metropolitan Detroit community. We were blest to have such a patron saint of music among us. Ever thankful.....

Wes Fishwick


Louise Dietz

It was with a very Heavy Heart and Many Tears that my family and I learned of the passing of our Dear Friend, Dr. David DiChiera. Detroit, Michigan, the World of Opera, and our lives, will never be the same. David was all the good things that have been said about him and more. His accomplishments, numerous. As I have said many times, David's light was so bright we, and many others, I'm sure, never wanted to see it go out. My deepest condolences to his Wonderful Family, and the countless others who loved - and will always love - this Incredible Man. May we all Honor David by embracing the qualities that made Him So Special, especially his love for others and his gentle, caring ways. It is true that when God made David she was showing off. We all also absolutely loved Cyrano. David's music could be whimsical and joyous one moment, and the next so beautiful and moving that it ripped your heart from your chest. It was especially bittersweet when the second Detroit performance took place - shortly after David's pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Like Cyrano, David never lost his panache. We are proud to have known him. We are proud to have called him "friend". Much Love Always, David. Godspeed. from L.


Maria Munoz

I'll never forget how David walked up to me and my friend Tricia just because he wondered how we liked the show that night. We shared a little about our love for opera and how meaningful it was to be season ticketholders at the DOH. he lingered with us and we saw him again on another day when he was making his rounds at the Cadillac Cafe. He stopped at our table to say hello and that he remembered us. His reaching out to us was so touching and such a rare treat. I've moved to CA, and I am still a season ticket holder because of my sense that I am part of the family. David did that.