There were a lot of happy faces in Hamon Hall of the Winspear Opera House this afternoon. The reason was the announcement of the eighth general director for the Dallas Opera.
While the reveal would have been a welcome relief after the surprise departure of Executive Director Keith Cerny for Canada, this one was more like a welcome home party … which it was.
DO Chair Holly Mayer announced that thanks to “a very intense search” by Chair-Elect Lynn McBee and a committee, Ian Derrer had been selected to take the position in July.
He’s a familiar face in the North Texas opera world. In addition to having graduated from SMU in 1996 with a major in voice performance, he interned with TDO as an assistant to stage director John Copley.
Since that time he has cut his operatic teeth working with the Santa Fe Opera, Atlanta Opera, Opera Carolina, Opera Pacific, Washington Opera, New York City Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago. After returning to DO as artistic administrator in 2014, he became general director of Kentucky Opera in 2016.
In a chat on stage with DO Music Director Emmanuel Villaume, the ever charming Villaume said, “It is difficult to be a general director/CEO of an opera company in our environment today. According to some people, it is an impossible job. [Pause] Why did you take this job?” [Laughter from the audience]
Ian proved he was right at home parrying playfully with the Frenchman responding, “An incredible persuasive music director.”
These two promise to make beautiful music, have fun and take the Dallas world of opera with them.