Newly-announced General Director of the Dallas Opera Keith Cerny (pictured) was presented to opera enthusiasts, members of the arts community, and the media this afternoon in the lobby of the Winspear. Following an introduction by Dallas Opera President Kern Wildenthal, Cerny presented his lengthy credentials including the fact that as a pre-teen he performed in a production with the late Dame Joan Sutherland.
That was just a starting point. He went on to report his earning degrees from the University of California at Berkeley in both music and physics, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a Ph.D. in Economic Development Studies/Econometrics from The Open University in the U.K.
The rest of his lengthy accomplishments can be found in Peter’s earlier post.
Addressing his chief tasks as general director, Cerny pointed to growing the financial well being of the Dallas Opera, attracting world-class talent, and increasing the visibility of the Dallas Opera.
When taking questions from the audience, Cerny smoothly handled the queries admitting that he felt that “the economy is improving” and he was a strong supporter of “the music of our time” as well as the previous centuries.
The toughest questions came from his sons.
Michael (looking around the Winspear): “How much does it cost to have the windows cleaned?” No one had an answer for that one including interim General Director John Cody.
Nichols: “How many floors are there?” Cerny knew the answer: “Five.”
Regarding the lengthy period between former General Director George Steel’s infamous but brief stay-over and today’s announcement, Wildenthal addressed that. It seems with the recent opening activities revolving around the opening of the Winspear, the search committee, under the leadership of Harvey Mitchell, decided that it would be better to take time to find the right person instead of rushing the decision and saddling the new GD with the opening responsibilities.