This past fall, Austin Opera flew in Annie Burridge, a candidate for general director, to watch its staging of “The Manchurian Candidate.”
“I sat down in the hall,” says the former managing director of Opera Philadelphia. “The second the performance started, I bolted forward in my seat. I couldn’t believe the caliber of the musicianship.”
At that night’s dinner, Burridge was seated next to the show’s composer, Kevin Puts, who had won a Pulitzer Prize for his first opera, “Silent Night.”
“Kevin was nearly in tears at how happy he was with the performance,” she says of the piece adapted from a famous film and first staged by Minnesota Opera. “(Artistic director) Richard Buckley had worked with him on editing it. That’s so important for new works. You know, there’s usually not a lot of rewards for opera companies doing subsequent performances. Everyone wants to give the premiere. Austin gave Kevin and his opera a key second hearing.”
Quietly keen with short hair and acute eyes, Burridge is a coloratura soprano with a special zeal not just for the art form but also for big data and the ways that sophisticated marketing research can tune opera to serve diverse audiences. …
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This is a key piece on Austin Opera’s new general manager: