Michigan Opera Theatre recognized three long-term board members who are transitioning to Directors Emeriti at its 2019-20 Annual Meeting Nov. 19. Barbara Frankel, Maggie Allesee and Herman Frankel have retired from the Board after decades of service and support of MOT, which has included leading campaigns and donating rooms and resources to the Opera House, in addition to hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal contributions:
Barbara Frankel has never said no to any challenge facing MOT. She faces them all, as she faces everyone she meets in the theatre, with a smile — and often a hug — that says “we can do this” and “you are welcome.” Her quiet acts of kindness throughout the Detroit Opera House are legendary and her financial support of the company, including the second floor Frankel Donor Lounge and the patron elevator in the Administration building, speak for themselves.
Barbara has been a leading supporter of capital campaigns and, in addition to serving on the Board or serving as a Trustee, she has chaired or served on committees for countless MOT events over her nearly 30-year association with the company. She has worked tirelessly on MOT projects, always taking on more responsibility and never failing to get the job done. She is the Opera House “hostess with the mostest” and a favorite among the staff. It’s impossible to overstate Barbara’s contributions to MOT’s success and we are honored to honor her as a Director Emeritus.
MOT Trustee and former Board member Maggie Allesee, a 2015 winner of the company’s “Lifetime Achievement Award,” has done just about all any one person can do for an organization. She’s a leading donor who gives generously to every campaign and event. She has provided thoughtful and sensible advice on MOT business issues through the years. She has chaired and sponsored countless programs at MOT.
While Maggie has been an extraordinary supporter of all things MOT, dance remains her first love. Her name adorns the walls of the Allesee Dance Patron Lounge and Allesee Opera and Dance Resource Library, and she has generously supported the Dance Patron Circle, Tango for Two, Raising the Barre for Dance, Detroit Friends of the Joffrey Ballet and more. She is a force of nature and an irrepressible spirit, and MOT is proud and fortunate to have her as part of our family.
Herman Frankel spent his career in the construction and real estate business and brought it all to the table when he joined the MOT Board in 1995. His leadership and expertise in the construction and renovation of the Detroit Opera House and his persistence in pursuing the idea of a parking garage have helped to set MOT on a course of growth and financial sustainability. In addition to that, Herman has been a significant donor and leader of the company’s capital and interim financial campaigns.
In addition to serving on the Executive, Finance, Real Estate, Nominating and Search committees of the Board, Herman was a “Guest Artist” supporter for the Grand Salute to David DiChiera, a Table Sponsor for Gala 49, host of the “Opera Brawl” at the Townsend Hotel and of the “Snowbird Brunch” in Florida to raise funds for the production of David DiChiera’s Cyrano. Herman has played a leading role in MOT’s success and the company is proud to honor him for his unparalleled service.
The MOT Board also elected the following officers for its 2020-21 season:
- Ethan D. Davidson, Chairman
- Wayne S. Brown, President and CEO
- Joanne Danto, Vice Chair
- Peter Oleksiak, Vice Chair
- Ankur Rungta, Vice Chair
- Gene P. Bowen, Secretary
- Enrico Digirolamo, Treasurer
Additionally, the Directors unanimously elected Gary L. Wasserman to its Board of Directors, and Ebony L. Duff and John J. Gillooly as Trustees.
Finally, the company announced a $26,000 surplus for the 2019-20 fiscal year. Like theaters throughout the world, MOT faced massive revenue loss from the cancellation of nearly half of its scheduled performances, issuing tens of thousands of dollars in refunds for cancelled performances including the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Champion, American Ballet Theatre’s Swan Lake and Pagliacci. The company was able to conclude the fiscal year in the black with the government’s Payment Protection Plan COVID response, continued revenue from the Opera House Parking Center and donor support.