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Canadian Opera Company finds new general director at the Houston Grand Opera

Last Updated Nov 30, 2020 at 1:24 pm EST

TORONTO — The Canadian Opera Company has found its new general director at the Houston Grand Opera.

The HGO’s managing director Perryn Leech will formally assume his Toronto post on March 1, 2021. 

Colleen Sexsmith, chair of the opera company’s succession committee, says Leech’s vision of a more accessible COC made him stand out from a list of more than 100 potential candidates from around the world.

Leech says he’s excited to join the COC at a “time of great challenge, but also great opportunity for opera.”

He takes over from exiting general director Alexander Neef, who is joining the Opera National de Paris next year.

The COC says Neef will continue in a leadership role throughout the transition period.

Leech was born in Brighton, England and joined the Houston Grand Opera in 2007 where he served as technical and production director and then chief operating officer before being appointed managing director in 2011.

The COC says Leech’s work in Houston included efforts to champion low-cost ticketing programs and develop deeper creative relationships with diverse communities.

“Perryn’s values closely mirror our own, particularly when it comes to breaking down barriers,” Sexsmith said Monday in a release.

“The committee was struck by his passion for sharing the art form with others and his enthusiasm for bringing more opera out of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts and into our neighbourhoods.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2020.

The Canadian Press