National Opera Directors Recognition Award

Nominations Due March 15, 2023

The purpose of the National Opera Directors Recognition Award is to honour an opera company volunteer director annually for exemplary leadership and support on behalf of their respective opera companies within their communities across Canada. It celebrates and acknowledges the invaluable efforts of these volunteers across the country.

Together with our sister organization, OPERA America, we share a recognition that the strength of an opera company, as with any not for profit organization, is directly linked to the quality of governance demonstrated by its board members.  It is AOC’s belief that strong commitment of volunteer directors in the key areas of leadership and support is essential.  The well-being of opera companies and, in effect, the communities in which they perform, depends to a great extent on these critically important areas.

Through the program, the contribution of one extraordinary director, whose efforts help to ensure the health of an opera company and the art form’s availability for future generations is acknowledged and celebrated each year.  While honoring the accomplishments of one distinguished board member, the National Opera Directors Recognition Award program:

  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 22/23 season nominations timeline will be:

  1. Nominations Open Feb 1, 2023
  2. Nominations Due March 15, 2023
  3. Recognition Event: February 2024 New York City (Dates TBA)

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  
  5. Exceptional service helping the company recover from the COVID-19 pandemic 

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 Honoree will be invited to attend the OPERA America Salutes awards dinner on Friday, January 26, 2024, in New York City. 

Each honoree will receive two complimentary tickets to the evening; Additional tickets may be purchased for colleagues, family, and friends.

OPERA America Salutes is a centerpiece of OPERA America’s annual National Trustee Weekend (January 24‒27, 2024), which includes the National Trustee Forum and additional special events, outings, and performances. Honorees and their guests are invited to participate in other events throughout the weekend; additional costs apply.


Past Recipients



Mr. J. Rob Collins, Canadian Opera Company


Ms Alberts Cefis, Opera Atelier


Ms Monica Sloan, Calgary Opera


Mr. Peter George, Manitoba Opera


Mr. Arthur Scace, Canadian Opera Company


Mr. Michael O’Brian, Vancouver Opera


Mr. Michael Morres, Pacific Opera Victoria


Mr. Bernard Stotland, Opera de Montreal


Mr. Evan Hazell, Calgary Opera


Mr. Richard Cook, Edmonton Opera


Ms Lydia Wingate, Pacific Opera Victoria


Ms Elba Haid, Manitoba Opera

2020/21 – none


Mr. Carey Newman, Pacific Opera Victoria

The annual National Opera Directors Recognition Award program honours one opera company board member for exemplary leadership and support on behalf of their respective opera company within their community.

The selected honouree is celebrated in their community in addition to a special dinner in New York City in February, where they are joined by the US recipients of the National Opera Trustee Recognition Award.

The deadline to nominate a board member for this award will be announced soon. Please submit the completed nomination form to Christina Loewen in Word or PDF format.