Austin Opera Names Annie Burridge As New General Director

Austin Opera Oct. 24 announced the appointment of Annie Burridge as General Director of Austin Opera. Currently the Managing Director of Opera Philadelphia, an opera company recognized for its groundbreaking audience engagement and programming model, Ms. Burridge will assume her new position in November 2016, with a 5-year contract through October 2021. The announcement was made today by Elisabeth Juen Waltz, Chairman of the Austin Opera Board of Trustees and Jon Nash, President of the Austin Opera Board of Trustees. Ms. Burridge's nomination was confirmed at a special Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, October 24th.

The selection of Annie Burridge was the result of a rigorous, six-month-long, national search led by a committee of 8 members representing a broad cross section of the Board and its leadership, with the assistance of renowned Cultural Industry search firm Genovese Vanderhoof & Associates.

"Our exhaustive search introduced us to a pool of exciting candidates, but the Board overwhelmingly agreed to select Annie Burridge as our new General Director. She meets all the criteria we were looking for in our next General Director. Her commitment to the future of opera, innovative approach to programming, and enthusiasm for the community will help Austin Opera reach and unite communities," said Jon Nash, President of the Board of Trustees, Austin Opera.

Ms. Burridge joined Opera Philadelphia, formerly Opera Company of Philadelphia, in 2007 and has served as Managing Director since 2015. As Managing Director, Ms. Burridge is responsible for all company Revenue, Marketing and Communications. She has led Opera Philadelphia through dramatic growth in contributed revenue over the past seven years, increasing fundraising by 183%. She oversaw the company's rebranding campaign., and she launched the most comprehensive consumer research study ever conducted in the opera industry, leading to the implementation of a new business plan and programming model for Opera Philadelphia.

"It is an honor to join the team at Austin Opera and I am grateful to the Board leadership and Search Committee for granting me the opportunity to work with Maestro Richard Buckley and this extraordinary company. I am truly impressed by the quality of opera produced by Austin Opera and my family and I look forward to becoming part of this vibrant community," said General Director Designate Annie Burridge.

"As we begin our 30th Anniversary Season, we are delighted to have a new General Director on board," said Elisabeth Waltz, Chairman of the Board of Austin Opera. "Our patrons are going to love Annie Burridge, and our sister arts organizations have just gained a terrific new colleague."

Austin Opera Artistic Director Richard Buckley added, "I am thrilled at the opportunity to work in partnership with Annie who has proved to be an extremely accomplished advocate for Opera, both as a vital art form and one that can be appreciated and supported by our diverse community. I am confident she will spread the word of the strength of our artistic product while increasing penetration in other ways that we have not yet accomplished."

Burridge has devoted her life to opera, beginning her professional career in 2004 as a Young Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera. She switched her focus to administration in 2007 and joined Opera Philadelphia's development department. After serving as Director of Development and Senior Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Burridge was named Managing Director of Opera Philadelphia in 2015. She studied voice performance and business at Penn State University, and holds two master's degrees from the New England Conservatory, as well as a master's certificate in nonprofit administration from the University of Pennsylvania. Annie is also an alumnus of Wharton's Women's Executive Leadership program and OPERA America's Leadership Intensive program.

About Austin Opera
Austin Opera, founded in May 1986 as the city's first professional opera company, has become the cultural touchstone for the fine arts community in the Central Texas region. Committed to producing and promoting outstanding opera that will entertain, enrich and educate the central Texas community, Austin Opera, formerly known as Austin Lyric Opera, has gained national acclaim as a producer of great opera delivering an extraordinary experience; a creative environment that challenges the misconceptions of the art form; enables lifelong learning; and celebrates the diversity that makes Austin unique. Under the leadership of Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Richard Buckley, Austin Opera productions consistently garner national and international praise for production value, vocal artistry, and repertoire selection.

Austin Opera 2016-17 Season
Wagner's The Flying Dutchman Nov 12, 17, and 20
Donizetti's The Daughter of the Regiment January 28, February 2 and 5
Puccini's Madame Butterfly April 29, May 4 and 7

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Photo Credit: Austin Opera

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