"I've enjoyed my four years in Dallas tremendously," Stone said in the statement, "but I've decided that I want to focus more on the art form and less on the fund-raising that's required to support the level of quality that Dallas audiences have rightly come to expect. I'm making this move now in order to give the company time to bring in my successor well in advance of the move to the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House in October of 2009."
The 55-year-old Stone was born in Great Britain and educated as an opera singer at the Royal Academy of Music and the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome. She began her career singing with the Frankfurt Opera before moving into stage direction and then administration. She came to Dallas in 2003 from Graz, Austria, where she was the general director of the city's theater, overseeing its opera, ballet and drama companies. In her four years at The Dallas Opera, she turned an $850,000 deficit into a surplus, launched an artist development program for young singers, and presented eight company premieres, including Handel's Rodelinda, Tchaikovsky's Queen of Spades, Donizetti's Maria Stuarda and Wagner's Lohengrin.
The Dallas Opera's Board of Directors will form a search committee as soon as possible, with board chairman John Cody (former president and COO of JCPenney) overseeing day-to-day operations in the interim. "We are blessed with a team of talented individuals who have guided the Company for years," said Cody in a statement. "The Opera will be in excellent shape until we can find the right person to succeed Karen Stone."