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Chicago Opera Theater Director To Leave

By Alexander Hough in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 13, 2011 4:20PM

Photo of Brian Dickie from his COT blog
Chicago Opera Theater General Director Brian Dickie announced today that he will step down at the end of his contract in August 2012 and return to London with his family. That year will be Dickie's 50th in opera management and administration and will mark the end of a stunningly transformative era for the COT.

I have only lived in Chicago since 2005 and, frankly, take for granted that Chicago is home to two top-notch opera companies (the other being the Lyric Opera). That wasn't the case as recently as 1999 when Dickie took over at COT, and my assumption is a testament to Dickie's rapid success over his 12-year tenure. Showing an end-of-century Chicagoan the current COT, with its modern, sleek production, refined musical performance, and its home as the flagship organization of Millennium Park's Harris Theater, would cause his jaw would drop. Telling a current Chicagoan that COT does this with a budget that's less than 5% of the Lyric's elicits the same reaction.

Dickie, who will be 71 when he leaves the COT, will not be retiring and will continue working as Chairman of the International Jury for Preselections for the Bertelsmann Foundation's biennial Neue Stimmen Competition. The COT will immediately begin the search for Dickie's successor.

For more context and information about Dickie's reign, check out Andrew Patner's Sun-Times article.