Benjamin Keaton receives National Opera Trustee Recognition Award

OPERA America recognized ECU alum Benjamin Keaton (BS ‘57 MA ’61) of Long Leaf Opera (North Carolina) as a recipient of the 2010 National Opera Trustee Recognition Award. In its third year, this award honors trustees of U.S. opera companies for exemplary leadership, generosity and audience-building efforts on behalf of their respective opera companies.

OPERA America is committed to recognizing strong trustee leaders, acknowledging the pivotal role they play in the success of opera companies and the vitality of the communities they serve.

The honorees represent a significant range of accomplishments, generosity and a deep commitment to promoting opera in their communities.

Twelve years ago, conductor and composer Benjamin Keaton co-founded Long Leaf Opera with Randolph Umberger as an alternative company with two missions: to present exclusively operas written originally in English and to develop a multicultural company of artists at all levels. Concerned with the lack of opportunities for young American composers, Mr. Keaton set out to recruit the finest regional and national composing talents available and to follow a colorblind casting policy on stage, in the pit and in the board room. Since then, Mr. Keaton has overseen the production of 33 operas, including seven world premieres. In 2007, Keaton established an international competition for new operatic works, and to date over 100 compositions have been received from countries including Germany, Australia and the U.K.

OPERA America will pay tribute to the 2010 honorees and celebrate their remarkable achievements at a February weekend in New York City, including three nights at the Park Lane Hotel, two dinners, a reception, a performance of La filled du regiment at the Metropolitan Opera, an awards banquet, and a free full page ad for their company in Opera America magazine.