David DiChiera: 1935-2018

It is with heavy hearts we share that we have lost our beloved visionary and courageous founder, David DiChiera. He died peacefully at his home surrounded by his loving family. Our hearts go out to David’s family at this time of immense sorrow.

There’s nothing that can be said about David that hasn’t already been said. He was one-of-a-kind, a true leader and impresario, a writer, a creator, a visionary genius, a big-hearted, hard-working, dedicated lover and builder of opera and dance. David loved Detroit, and the role he played in its renaissance with the creation of the spectacular Detroit Opera House we call home is immeasurable. His vision and commitment were beyond extraordinary, and his love for this city and all its residents was boundless. But nothing besides his family was as important to him as Michigan Opera Theatre itself, and all of us who were fortunate enough to have known and worked with him will forever be in his debt.

As David himself wrote when he shared his diagnosis in April 2017: “I have lived a rich and rewarding life, and when the time comes, I’ll leave it with few regrets. Your friendship is among my greatest treasures. You will always be in my heart and I hope some part of me will always be in yours.”

We can confidently say that none of us will ever forget the legacy he left or the man he was: a truly genteel, dignified, warm and loving leader. He will live on in all of our hearts forever.

Funeral live stream
A public visitation and funeral service took place Friday, Sept. 21 at the Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway, Detroit. The funeral was streamed live on the Michigan Opera Theatre website and is available to watch here.


Memorial Page
Share your thoughts and memories of David on our memorial page.

Memorial contributions can be made to Michigan Opera Theatre c/o The David DiChiera Artistic Fund (1526 Broadway, Detroit, MI, 48226) and to The David DiChiera Music Therapy Program at Henry Ford Health System c/o Mary Jane Vogt (1 Ford Place, Suite 5A, Detroit, MI 48202).

Give to The David DiChiera Artistic Fund online.


Learn about David’s life from our 2017 DiChiera DiConstructed series from his retirement:

Part 1: The Impresario

Part 2: The Composer

Part 3: The Champion of Diversity

Part 4: The Civic Leader 


Media Coverage