At the close of Cincinnati Opera's 100th anniversary season, another change will come in 2020: CEO Patricia K. Beggs will retire in August 2020 after 35 years with the company.
A national search for Beggs' successor has already begun.
“I’ve had a dream job for almost half of my life,” Beggs says in a press release. “To go to work at one of the most iconic buildings in the country, to be inspired daily by the glorious music being created in Music Hall, to learn from the best and brightest people who make up the Opera’s staff, board, guild and volunteers — as well as my arts colleagues — and finally to sit in glorious Springer Auditorium on Cincinnati Opera’s opening night, and know that I played a small role in making the magic happen. The best job ever!”
Beggs began working at the opera in 1984 as their marketing director; her campaigns led to a turnaround in attendance in the late 1980s and 1990s. in 1997, she took over management. And since then, Cincinnati Opera's budget has increased from $4 million to $9 million in 2019.
“There’s just no one like her,” says Harry Fath, former president of the board of trustees, in the release. “She’s devoted, tireless, and forward-thinking. She’s built an amazing company — one of the best opera companies in the nation.”
During her time at Cincinnati Opera, the company moved to its new space in the Corbett Opera Center, located in the north wing of Music Hall, in 2005. In partnership with the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music, they formed Opera Fusion, hailed as the first program in the U.S. between an opera and a conservatory. In 2013, CO launched the Opera Campus initiative, which expanded the company into additional venues, including Washington Park and the Corbett Theater at the School for Creative and Performing Arts.
The company has also presented two world premieres and a U.S. premiere (Another Brick in the Wall) in recent years; three more works are slated to premiere in the coming 2019-2020 season.
Beggs has been honored with many accolades, including OPERA America's national service award in 2010 and The Cincinnati Enquirer's Woman of the Year in 1999. For her efforts at building connections with the African-American community, she was recognized by the NAACP in 2008.
“Patty Beggs has been a pillar of American opera, helping guide our art form and industry into the 21st century with the highest artistic and managerial standards,” says Marc A. Scorca, president and CEO of OPERA America, in the release.