Special to the Journal
The Boston Lyric Opera Board of Directors, led by Michael J. Puzo, voted this week to appoint Bradley Vernatter as the Stanford Calderwood General Director and CEO, the company’s highest leadership position. The appointment follows Vernatter’s term as Acting General and Artistic Director. At Vernatter’s suggestion to expand the company’s leadership team, the Board moved to split the previous role into two positions and open a search for a new Artistic Director.
“There is clear enthusiasm on the board for Brad’s leadership and his artistic vision during the past two seasons, which brought the company new artistic triumphs and growth while navigating unexpectedly troubled waters,” Puzo says. He noted the Board recognizes Vernatter’s accomplishments, including:
• Stewarding company operations, fundraising, and finances to continue producing throughout the pandemic and beyond;
• Producing BLO’s return to live opera following the onset of COVID-19 pandemic, from Cavalleria Rusticana in fall 2021, its free performance of Romeo & Juliet on the Boston Common this summer and its upcoming production of La bohème;
• Expanding the Company’s relationships with notable artists including Rhiannon Giddens, Michael Abels, Stephanie Blythe, Ellen Reid, Nico Muhly, Isabel Leonard, Talise Trevigne and others;
• Developing the Company’s streaming platform, operabox.tv and producing critically acclaimed films and series such as the animated film of Philip Glass’ The Fall of the House of Usher, the cinematic adaptation of Ana Sokolovic’s Svadba, and the genre-leading eight-part opera miniseries desert in;
• Launching BLO Street Stage, the Company’s mobile performance stage to bring opera to the region;
• Conducting an assessment of inequity and social justice at the company, and in the opera field; and
• Leading a planning process that resulted in a five-year Strategic Plan and revamped mission and vision statements for the Company.
“With an ambitious plan for BLO’s future in place,” Puzo says, “we look forward to expanding the leadership team and to welcoming a new Artistic Director to the company and the city.” The Artistic Director position will report to the General Director and CEO, and will be a partner with Vernatter and Music Director David Angus in planning artistic programs for the company.
Boston Lyric Opera completed its Strategic Planning process earlier this year, resulting in a comprehensive, forward-thinking plan to guide the artistic and administrative direction of the company over the next five years. The BLO Board of Directors adopted the plan, which revises the company’s mission and vision statements, and centers on: expanding the breadth of artistic programs; strengthening ties to regional and national communities; developing new leaders for the industry; and centering values of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.
“I am grateful for the leaders, artists and supporters who have contributed to BLO’s tremendous legacy and I am motivated by our new five-year plan,” says Vernatter. “We have the opportunity to put a stronger emphasis on being part of Boston’s civic and cultural fabric while producing the best of opera that inspires us and connects us.”