For Immediate Release
Contact: Patricia Kiernan Johnson;


New York, NY — OPERA America, the national service organization for opera, honored the four recipients of its 2009 National Opera Trustee Recognition award at a dinner and reception in New York City on Saturday, February 21. In its second year, the award honors trustees of U.S. opera companies for exemplary leadership, generosity and audience building efforts on behalf of their respective companies.

The 2009 National Opera Trustee Recognition honorees are Mr. John T. Cody, Jr. of The Dallas Opera, Mr. Richard Holland of Opera Omaha, Mrs. Beth Ingram of Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Mr. C. Guy Rudisill, III of Piedmont Opera.

In welcoming the evening’s honorees and guests, OPERA America Board of Directors Vice-Chairman Dr. Frayda B. Lindemann said, “We initiated this program two years ago based on our first-hand knowledge that healthy opera companies are built on the foundations of strong boards. What we didn’t know was that this year, in light of the economic turmoil, strong boards and dedicated trustees would be more important than ever. The winners of this year’s awards demonstrate the highest standard of leadership, dedication and generosity.”

“The guidance and generous support provided by dedicated board members are more valuable than ever, given the current economic conditions,” stated Marc A. Scorca, president & CEO of OPERA America. “We are pleased to recognize the long-standing achievements of these trustees as they continue to help ensure the cultural and economic vitality of our communities.”

Joining Dr. Lindemann and Mr. Scorca in honoring these exceptional trustees were the honorees’ respective general directors, family and friends, the OPERA America Board of Directors, OPERA America Ambassador Circle donors and trustees, and staff representing OPERA America member companies.

In addition to the award presentations, the Trustee Recognition dinner and reception featured excerpts from Stephen Schwartz’s Séance on a Wet Afternoon, performed by baritone Michael Zegarski, and Lee Hoiby’s Lady of the Harbor, performed by soprano Adrienne Danrich. Pianist Kelly Horsted accompanied the singers.

OPERA America is committed to recognizing strong trustee leaders and to understanding the pivotal role they play in the success of their opera companies and the communities they serve. In acknowledging and celebrating the dedication of board members at the national level, the National Opera Trustee Recognition Program seeks to strengthen the relationships between opera companies and their trustees and to inspire exemplary service to opera companies across the United States.

OPERA America’s dedication to recognizing excellence in governance is shared by its sister organization, the Canadian national association for opera. During Saturday’s reception, the Canadian Opera Company’s Mr. J. Rob Collins was honored as the first recipient of’s National Opera Directors Recognition Program.

Photo: J. Rob Collins, Canadian Opera Company; Dr. Frayda B. Lindemann, OPERA America; Beth Ingram, Lyric Opera of Kansas City; C. Guy Rudisill, III, Piedmont Opera; and John T. Cody, Jr., The Dallas Opera. Photo by Jon Simon, courtesy OPERA America.



OPERA America leads and serves the entire opera community, supporting the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera.

  • Artistic services help opera companies and creative and performing artists to improve the quality of productions and increase the creation and presentation of North American works.
  • Information, technical, and administrative services to opera companies reflect the need for strengthened leadership among staff, trustees and volunteers.
  • Education, audience development and community services are designed to enhance all forms of opera appreciation.

Founded in 1970, OPERA America’s worldwide membership network includes nearly 200 Company Members, 300 Associate and Business Members, 2,000 Individual Members and more than 16,000 subscribers to the association’s electronic news service. In 2005, OPERA America relocated from Washington, D.C. to New York as the first step in creating the first-ever National Opera Center. With a wide range of artistic and administrative services in a purpose-built facility, the Opera Center is dedicated to increasing the level of excellence, creativity and effectiveness across the field.

OPERA America’s long tradition of supporting and nurturing the creation and development of new works led to the formation of The Opera Fund, a growing endowment which allows OPERA America to make a direct impact on the ongoing creation and presentation of new opera and music-theater works. Since its inception, OPERA America has made grants of nearly $11 million to assist companies with the expenses associated with the creation and development of new works.