Photo credit: Whitney Lawson
George Steel, the executive director of Columbia University’s Miller Theater, will become the new general director of the Dallas Opera, effective Oct.1 — meaning he will help usher the company into the new Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House next year.
The 41-year-old Steel does not come from the typical ranks of the opera world: He has not run an opera house. But considering his history of inventive programming, he is a very interesting hire for the Dallas Opera. Steel is the founder and conductor of the Gotham City Orchestra and the Vox Vocal Ensemble, which specializes in Renaissance and Baroque music. He has run the 688-seat Miller Theater since 1997, booking the on-campus, Upper West Side-venue, commissioning ballets, launching full-scale opera productions. He created the Theatre of Ideas series and increased fundraising from $120,000 to $1.35 million annually. In 2000, Allan Kozinn wrote in The New York Times that “in two seasons his adventurous programming has transformed that hall into one of the liveliest musical institutions in New York.”
Steel will be replacing Karen Stone who left the Dallas Opera last September, after four years with the company. Dallas Opera board chairman Jay Marshall said that the search for Stone’s replacement had been worldwide but that Steel’s combination of business skills and musical talents made him the best candidate.
Read the New York Times’ article on Steel’s appointment.