AOC’s Best in Governance Award

(Formerly the National Opera Directors Recognition Award)

Nominations Due April 23, 2024

AOC’s Best in Governance Award recognizes outstanding leadership and support from opera company board members within Canada’s opera sector.

In collaboration with our sister organization, OPERA America, we acknowledge that the success of an opera company, like any non-profit organization, is closely tied to the calibre of governance exhibited by its board members. Strong commitment of volunteer directors in the key areas of leadership and support is essential to the vitality of opera companies, and by extension, the communities they serve. This accolade celebrates and appreciates the invaluable contributions of these dedicated volunteers nationwide.

In-line with our Strategic Plan “Resilience Through Equity”, the AOC Best in Governance Award supports the development of healthy work environments by exemplifying a culture of recognition and gratitude.

The AOC Best in Governance Award:

  1. Amplifies the efforts of distinguished directors to a national audience;
  2. Strengthens the relationship between directors and the companies and communities they serve;
  3. Highlights the tenets of good governance; and
  4. Provides models of Director and volunteer excellence.

Program Eligibility

All Professional Company Members in good standing are invited to participate.

The committee will only consider nominations from companies whose board members have not received the honour in the past three years.

The nominated director must currently be serving on your board of directors. Companies may choose to renominate a previous nominee who was not selected for an award in a previous year. 


The 23/24 season nominations timeline will be:

  1. Nominations Open Monday March 18, 2024
  2. Nominations Due April 23, 2024
  3. Recognition Event: Canada, to be coordinated with honouree’s company. (New York City event dates tba, early 2025)

Nomination Process

Companies may nominate only one director each year from among their current boards.

Selection Process  

A Selection Committee will oversee the determination of the honouree.  The committee may include AOC directors (where no conflict exists) and directors, past and current, drawn from opera companies across Canada and the USA.

One volunteer director will be selected to be recognized.

Selection Criteria  

The committee will consider the breadth and depth of each nominee’s involvement with the opera company in the following ways:

  1. The impact of the nominee on the company’s success  
  2. The impact of the nominee on the board’s effectiveness  
  3. The impact of the nominee on the community  
  4. Support of the company’s equity, diversity, and inclusion commitments  

Honouree Recognition: 

AOC will work closely with the selected honoree and their opera company to create a national press release.  Together with OPERA America’s Awardees the AOC honouree will be prominently featured in OPERA America’s quarterly magazine, Opera America and in other appropriate media.

The selected honoree will receive a one-year Individual membership to the Association for Opera in Canada.

Annual Recognition Event  

The selected board member will be honoured at a Canadian event coordinated with the nominating opera company. Additionally, the honouree will be invited to a recognition dinner in New York City in January 2024 during OPERA America’s National Trustee Weekend.

Past Recipients

2008/2009: Mr. J. Rob Collins, Canadian Opera Company; 2009/2010: Ms Alberts Cefis, Opera Atelier; 2010/2011: Ms Monica Sloan, Calgary Opera; 2011/2012: Mr. Peter George, Manitoba Opera; 2012/2013: Mr. Arthur Scace, Canadian Opera Company; 2013/2014: Mr. Michael O’Brian, Vancouver Opera; 2014/2015: Mr. Michael Morres, Pacific Opera Victoria; 2015/2016: Mr. Bernard Stotland, Opera de Montreal; 2106/17: Mr. Evan Hazell, Calgary Opera; 2017/18: Mr. Richard Cook, Edmonton Opera; Mr. Bruce Munro Wright, Vancouver Opera (Directors’ Emeritus Award); 2018/19: Ms Lydia Wingate, Pacific Opera Victoria; 2019/20: Ms Elba Haid, Manitoba Opera; 2021/22 Mr. Carey Newman, Pacific Opera Victoria; 2022/23: Mr. Francis Price, Edmonton Opera