Opera Colorado Sees Changes in Two Top Leadership Posts

Classic Arts News   Opera Colorado Sees Changes in Two Top Leadership Posts
Opera Colorado is about to go through a major transition: the company revealed yesterday that both its general director and its artistic director have submitted their resignations.

James Robinson, Opera Colorado's artistic director since 2000 and a frequent freelance stage director at other houses, steps down as of September 2008 in order to accept a position at another U.S. company. (That company was not named, in deference to its desire to make its own announcement next month, though the obvious candidate would seem to be Opera Theatre of St. Louis, whose artistic director, Colin Graham, died in April.)

Peter Russell, Opera Colorado's president and general director, departs as of September 1 of this year, said the company's statement, "to pursue other personal and professional interests." According to the Rocky Mountain News, Russell has been battling glaucoma and had a cornea transplant last year; he acknowledged to the paper that this issue had an "indirect" effect on his decision to step down: "This is more a psychological thing. There's a fatigue I'm feeling. I kept soldiering on (after the operation), and maybe it was unwise not to take time off. It's time to make a fresh start somewhere else."

In his six years at Opera Colorado's helm, Russell increased the number of performances and the donor base; the company's budget grew by two-thirds on his watch, to over $5 million, and the endowment more than quadrupled, to its current $1.5 million. Not least, he oversaw the company's move, in 2005, to the new Ellie Caulkins Opera House, constructed inside the old Quigg Newton Denver Municipal Auditorium.

Greg Carpenter, Opera Colorado's current director of development, will succeed Russell, with the title of executive director. Russell will continue to advise the company through next January.

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