Appointment signals return of locally-produced opera

The appointment (promotion?) by Opera Columbus of Peggy Kriha Dye to general manager signals good news beyond increased hands-on leadership for the organization.

Both Dye and board president Charles Warner told The Beat the move was necessitated by the company's plans to begin (again) producing opera locally starting in the 2013-2014 season.

Since the company entered into an operating agreement with CAPA in 2011, Opera Columbus has been solely a "presenting" entity, hosting outside and/or touring companies – in large part a financial decision. Both CAPA's Bill Conner and retiring executive director Press Southworth told us at the time that they hoped the future would see the company return to producing, as it has done throughout its existence.

Details – what the production will be and when it will happen during next season – are still being ironed out. Warner said the plan is to produce one opera during a season, in addition to continuing to present as well.

Opera Columbus got its feet wet in locally produced opera this season, staging a stripped-down La Boheme in conjunction with Shadowbox Cabaret. This successful program will continue, Dye said.

This news should be met with enthusiasm by local audiences, as these locally-produced operas will, as they did in the past, feature many local singers as well as professional opera singers from out of town.

"Our plan has always been to present and produce, to provide as much flavor of opera as is possible," Dye said.

"Peggy has the background, skills, and the passion to keep all of what we do at Opera Columbus going," Warner said.

Warner and Dye both cited expanded educational program in recent years, the specific area Dye was previously tasked with overseeing.

In addition, Dye said that applications for this 2013 Irma Cooper Vocal Competition, an annual event for Opera Columbus, have doubled over last year. The competition for young adult singers will be held over two days in March at the Southern Theatre. Dye said the March 10 finals are open to the public free of charge.