Detroit hails a departing founder

Detroit Opera House paid tribute Friday night to its founder Dr David DiChiera, who is bowing out with pancreatic cancer.

General Motors President Dan Ammann was the first of many speakers to describe DiChiera as “a visionary, impresario and true civic leader.”</>

Read on here.

photo: Brittany Greeson, Detroit Free Press

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  • David is truly a visionary leader who has had a significant impact on more than simply the cultural life of Detroit. I had the privilege of reviving David Pountney’s production of The Passenger there 18 months ago. David DiChiera secured an excellent cast and, though the production was a challenge for the company, it was one they more than met. The company secured 60+ (I have a memory that it was 74) community partners involved in a wide variety of events, and the run of this little known though important piece was packed out. Moreover, the people of Detroit are both aware and proud of their opera company, and not just the traditional white middle class audience one would expect. David DiChiera moved into a building surrounded by burnt out downtown Detroit and slowly built a jewel. He was an inspiring leader to work under – frequently in rehearsals, knowledgable about the piece, and close to each and every performer. He, and the opera, have been a vital part of the regeneration of Downtown Detroit and a shining example of what the arts can do. I cannot admire a man more. I wish him a happy, productive, and hopefully long retirement.

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