OPERA America Announces 2013 National Opera Trustee Recognition Award Recipients

OPERA America Announces 2013 National Opera Trustee Recognition Award Recipients

OPERA America, the national service organization for opera, is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2013 National Opera Trustee Recognition Award. In its sixth year, this award honors outstanding trustees of U.S. opera companies for exemplary leadership, generosity and audience-building efforts on behalf of their respective opera companies.

The recipients of the 2013 National Opera Trustee Recognition Award are Lisa Erdberg of San Francisco Opera, Patricia A. Richards of Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, Cherie Shreck of Des Moines Metro Opera and Timothy J. Wagg of Opera North.

"We are delighted to be joined by Bank of America in celebrating the significant and enduring contributions of these devoted trustees," stated Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. "The National Opera Trustee Recognition Award affords the entire opera community an opportunity to salute and learn from those who have been so generous in their passion for the art form, vision and support of their opera companies."

Each year, OPERA America professional member companies are invited to nominate one of their trustees for this award. Honorees from each of the four OPERA America budget levels are chosen by an adjudication committee through a competitive selection process.

The National Opera Trustee Recognition program is led by OPERA America Board Member Carol F. Henry (chairman of the board of directors' executive committee, Los Angeles Opera). Committee members include: Elizabeth Eveillard (past chair of the board of trustees, The Glimmerglass Festival), Garry Fredericksen (past president of the board of directors, Indianapolis Opera), Ruth Orth (past chair of the board of trustees, Pensacola Opera) and Fillmore Wood (former vice chairman of the board of directors, Opera Pacific).

"OPERA America's commitment to recognizing the multi-faceted contributions of opera company trustees is inspiring," stated Chairman of the Board of Directors Dr. Frayda B. Lindemann, who is also a trustee of the Metropolitan Opera. "As former chairman of the National Opera Trustee Recognition Program and a current opera company trustee, I deeply admire the dedication of all the nominees and am honored to commend their achievements on a national scale."

These honorees represent a significant range of accomplishments, generosity and a deep devotion to promoting opera in their communities. The following profiles illustrate just a few examples of their dedication.

Lisa Erdberg, San Francisco Opera (San Francisco, CA)
Lisa Erdberg, a subscriber to San Francisco Opera since 1993 and a donor since 1996, has held a number of crucial leadership roles on San Francisco Opera's Board of Directors, propelling the mission of the organization, including the positions of Executive Committee member, chair of the Directors and Officers Committee and vice president of the Board. Seeing engagement as essential to San Francisco Opera, Ms. Erdberg has been personally responsible for the Next Generation Task Force aimed at developing future audiences and donors. Ms. Erdberg has revolutionized the San Francisco Opera Board. Through her Engagement Initiative, she increased the financial contributions from the Board of Directors and encouraged them to introduce friends and colleagues to the opera, increasing San Francisco Opera's audience. Ms. Erdberg streamlined the election process and created a smoother transition process for new leaders, making the Board more effective and efficient. Ms. Erdberg is also deeply dedicated to the financial well-being of San Francisco Opera. In 2007, Ms. Erdberg made an early pledge to the Comprehensive Campaign and recently made a significant gift to the Camerata, San Francisco Opera's group of visionary donors who fund the projects that define the company's international reputation. Donna Baston, director of foundation and government relations, stated, "Her involvement and financial support is never about personal recognition. Rather, it is always about San Francisco Opera and how she can best help the company be as successful as possible."

Patricia A. Richards, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera (Salt Lake City, UT)
Upon being appointed vice chair of the newly merged Utah Symphony | Utah Opera (USUO) in 2004, a position she has called "the hardest assignment of her life," Patricia A. Richards now serves as the chair of the USUO Board of Trustees. A visionary from the inception of the 2002 USUO merger, Ms. Richards led a special task force early in the merger and again in 2012 to acquire a better understanding of what has worked, what hasn't worked, and how to improve on cooperative internal operations and relationships moving forward. Ms. Richards served as an instrumental force in locating a new CEO in 2007, as well as a new music director in 2009, demonstrating her deep commitment to the leadership and personnel of USUO. She is willing to lead as a fundraiser, government advocacy representative in the State Legislature, and personally recruits friends, neighbors and strangers to attend and support USUO. Additionally, Ms. Richards sought to focus the work of the Board of Trustees on real governance and strategic issues and aided the negotiation of the collective bargaining agreement with the Utah Symphony Musicians and Local 104 on five occasions. After retiring from her career as a banking professional for Wells Fargo in the Intermountain West, Ms. Richards and her husband, Bill Nichols, set the tone for USUO's comprehensive campaign by donating $1 million dollars, saying that she "cannot ask others to make such a sacrificial gift without leading first as board chair." Since that time, almost $25 million in additional support has been raised. "Pat Richards has been a pillar of strength for USUO. She has far exceeded any expectation of what a board chair should do for a nonprofit organization," stated USUO President & CEO Melia P. Tourangeau.