The Dallas Opera General Director/CEO Keith Cerny arrived at work this morning with a big smile on his face. He had good reason. After months of searching, he revealed TDO’s new music director — Emmanuel Villaume.
While media artistic types like Lawson Taitte, Scott Cantrell, Peter Simek et al were focused on the maestro’s musical abilities and experience, the fundraising segment of the press immediately were nodding approval at the Hermes-tie wearing conductor’s ability to “work the room.” And this factor was part of Keith’s priority list in finding his new music director.
According to Keith, “The Music Director’s role encompasses three vital elements. One, of course is to conduct main-stage performances for the company, at least two productions per year. The second is to work closely with me and members of the company’s artistic staff, on artistic planning, auditions, and other major musical decisions. The third is to spend time in the North Texas community — meeting donors and community leaders, and helping the Dallas Opera to achieve the highest possible levels of artistry and impact.”
It was pretty obvious from Emmanuel’s interaction with the media this morning that the 49-year-old will have no problems fulfilling the #3 requirement. There is a refreshing candor, charm and mischievous sense of humor about him and he’s already got a full agenda this week. Just a couple of the dates include dining with the top TDO friends like TDO Board of Directors Chair Peter Townsend and lunching with Margaret McDermott.
In its 56-year history, Emmanuel is only TDO’s third music director, following Nicola Rescigno (1957-1990) and Graeme Jenkins (1994-2013).
Emmanuel will make his official debut as TDO music director at the season’s opening performance of “Carmen” on Friday, October 25.