Battle starts for Fort Worth Opera

Battle starts for Fort Worth Opera


norman lebrecht

September 16, 2020

Fort Worth Opera has hired Afton Battle as General Director, barely six months after she joined Joffrey Ballet in Chicago as campaign director. Wherever she’s going, it’s fast.

She says: ‘“I have been chosen to steer this amazing company, and together we will focus on expanding our reach and engagement into communities that have been historically marginalized (Black, Latinx, Asian, Indigenous, LGBTQIA) by forging relationships with community leaders and stakeholders.’



  • V. Lind says:

    Is community outreach usually the principal function of the General Director (where they use the term) of an opera company? I’m all for streamlining, but don’t they usually have an officer who does this?

    I can’t believe how fast the pillars are tumbling.

    • MDR says:

      Austerity = compound roles.
      Or something…

    • Bruce says:

      As the general director, she will be in charge of whoever is in charge of community outreach. If it’s a priority for the GD, then it will be a priority for that person. Presumably this is something the board was looking for when they went a-hiring. Just because she talks about it in her press release doesn’t mean she will be doing all of it by herself.

    • waltraud says:

      Well, yes, it is. They have “officers” who do everything. The General Manager is there to manage those officers, and be the face of the organization.

      What pillars do you mean? The GM doesn’t just dine with the richest donors and pick next year’s repertoire over cigars with the conductor.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Any new opera production planed or only neo-Dadaistic wokeness?

  • John Rook says:

    Sounds fascinating.

  • Opera is about the VOICE! says:

    Nothing about enhancing the company’s overall vocal quality and striving for solid bel canto technique out of………..a GD is it??

    Oh yeah, well focusing on the human voice would be too…..oohh…OFFENSIVE to someone.

  • Tiredofitall says:

    Fort Worth (my hometown) must be rather desperate. Looking at Ms. Battle’s Linkedin profile, during the past five years she has had seven different jobs (at different organizations) with an average stay of 11 months. She may present well, but her job-hopping should maybe have raised a red flag with the FWO board? The talent pool cannot be that dry.

    • MWnyc says:

      Judging from the abrupt departure of the last General Manager and the firing of his (by many accounts very successful) predecessor, it may be the pool of candidates willing to apply for the job that is dry.

  • Anthony MM says:

    Unfortunately, I suspect this will be a very fast learning curve for the new GD and the Company. Having lost a Season to Covid, wouldn’t it be more prudent and cost effective to focus on rebuilding their endowment and subscription base, and leave the whole issue of broadening their reach to future Seasons?