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MA 30 Movers & Shapers: Peggy Kriha Dye
By John Fleming
December 5, 2017
Peggy Kriha Dye has brought an artist’s perspective to the task of rebuilding Opera Columbus, which was so beset by financial woes that for several years it was essentially defunct and presented only touring productions. Dye, a soprano appointed artistic director in 2014, has introduced programs that are breathing new life into the company. Most significant is a partnership with the Juilliard School’s Artist Diploma in Opera Studies program, whose singers get cast in the Ohio company’s productions.
“When Opera Columbus dissolved, it was a great opportunity to redefine what the company would be,” says Dye, a Juilliard graduate. “In talking with other artistic directors and friends, the advice was, if you’re going to be successful, you need to make it personal. For me, my passion is helping young singers. And if I’m going to make emerging talent our focus, then of course Juilliard is the place to go.”
The 2017-18 season-opening production of Britten’s The Turn of the Screw featured several singers from Juilliard’s ADOS program, including recent graduate tenor Miles Mykkanen as Peter Quint and soprano Christine Taylor Price as the Governess. The staging was by noted director Stephen Wadsworth, who heads the storied school’s program as well as the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program of the Metropolitan Opera.
Another innovative series in Columbus is Opera on the Edge, in which traditional works are cut to an hour, sung in English, and performed in bars, such as #UncleJohn, an adaptation of Mozart’s Don Giovanni.
Dye has had a busy performing career, which included the role of Stella in the 1998 premiere of André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire at San Francisco Opera. She has sung with the Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and other leading companies. In October she sang the role of the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro with Toronto’s Opera Atelier
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