Arizona Opera Appoints Ryan Taylor General Director as it Reaches Fundraising Goal

 Taylor Helped Company Raise $1M to Reduce Debt & Secure Future

[Phoenix, Arizona] (June 26, 2013) – Arizona Opera announces that current interim general director Ryan Taylor will begin fiscal year 2013 as General Director on July 1. Taylor joined the company in 2012 as Director of Artistic Administration.

Arizona Opera is nearing completion of the rapid fundraising project it began in May to ensure Arizona Opera’s future.  After careful review of the nonprofit’s current fiscal status in May, the company took austerity measures and has secured nearly $1M to continue operations and stabilize Arizona’s only state-wide opera company. The company must now raise only $50,000 in order to complete a matching challenge and reach the $1M goal.

This fiscal-year end campaign has 100 percent participation from its Board of Trustees, as well as 100 percent of the full-time staff who have made a financial contribution to the company. “I’m excited to move forward with the talented staff, exceptional artists, and dedicated Trustees of Arizona Opera. The recent state-wide support for the company has been humbling and gratifying. We intend to honor that outpouring of enthusiasm by fully embracing our role as an engaged artistic partner in each of the communities we serve throughout the state,” said Mr. Taylor.

The company has experienced much change in 2013, including a move into offices at the new Arizona Opera Center. Concurrent to the fund drive, Arizona Opera is comprehensively reorganizing under a new board chair, Dr. Judith Wolf who takes her seat on July 1, saying, “I am pleased to be incoming Chair of Arizona Opera as the organization clears financial hurdles and moves into a season filled with beautiful opera, extensive community collaboration, and new direction. I am also thrilled to be working with such a dedicated staff and Board of Trustees. We have much work to do, but we have the will, the spirit, the talent and the commitment to get it done!”

With the unanimous support of the Board of Trustees and staff, Arizona Opera has also engaged Kevin Smith, an experienced field consultant from Opera America, whose council has been proven beneficial for companies in transition.

Marc Scorca, President & CEO of Opera America, the industry’s leading trade group says, “Arizona Opera has a long history of producing high quality performances in both Phoenix and Tucson. Like many opera companies across the country in recent years, Arizona Opera has experienced financial challenges. I applaud Arizona Opera’s responsive action. The decisions to engage Ryan Taylor as General Director and to enlist the services of Opera America’s respected field consultant, Kevin Smith, are wise. Ryan has practical experience at a number of opera companies and Kevin was the successful President and CEO of the Minnesota Opera for nearly 30 years. Since his retirement, he has helped several opera companies establish strong financial models as the basis for long-term growth. Working with the Arizona Opera staff and Board, they will be able to achieve important progress for the company and the community.”

Outgoing Board Chair David Christensen says, “Arizona Opera is in excellent hands with Judy as the new Board Chair and Ryan as the General Director. We have a very dedicated staff and Board of Trustees and because of this and the new leadership, an exciting future exists. I look forward to continuing on the Board and helping this organization to achieve its goals.”

The company opens the season with the United States premiere of the new critical edition of Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore, followed by The Flying Dutchman featuring Mark Delavan – one of the Metropolitan Opera’s reigning Wagnerians –  performing the title role. In the spring of 2014, Arizona Opera will present dynamic and fresh young casts in Puccini’s perennial favorite, La bohème, the southwestern premiere of a vibrant and stylized new production of Verdi’s La traviata and a fast-paced, sharp new production of Donizetti’s comedic masterpiece, Don Pasquale. Season subscriptions are on sale now.

In addition, the company will again collaborate with the Musical Instrument Museum to present a series of five concerts over the course of the season and will be teaming up with local Phoenix artists to present First Friday events beginning in October. The company will participate again in the TRIO gala featuring the Opera, The Phoenix Symphony and Ballet Arizona. Several new projects are under discussion for Tucson and Prescott will be announced in the coming weeks as details are finalized.

Arizona Opera invites the public to make a gift to Arizona Opera in support of the company’s future efforts by contacting Mark Saville, Associate Director of Development at 602.218.7337 or

Arizona Opera elevates the transformative power of storytelling through music – cultivating community, and strengthening a state and people as adventurous and diverse as the place they call home.

Arizona Opera is Arizona’s only professional opera company, which produces fully-staged opera performances, concerts, in-school touring productions, educational and outreach programs that reach more than 55,000 school children and adults annually. Founded in Tucson in 1971, Arizona Opera serves multiple communities in Arizona.



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