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After 42 years, the hero of Detroit's Opera steps aside

Michigan Opera Theatre
David DiChiera has made the Michigan Opera Theatre his life's work. Now, he'll be handing some of those reins off to a new CEO.

The man who helped turn the Michigan Opera Theatre into one of Detroit's most prestigious arts centers, is stepping aside as general director after 42 years.

David DiChiera is an institution in Detroit: he started the Opera in 1971 and he's been running it ever since.

And it's thanks to his fundraising efforts that Detroit even still HAS an Opera, given how hard the recession hit the arts.

Now DiChiera is 78, has prostate cancer, and is bringing in a new president and  CEO to run the financial side.

He will continue as artistic director, with a big focus on getting new audiences hooked on opera.

With the city in bankruptcy, DiChiera says it's a crucial moment for the arts in Detroit. 

"That's what's going to keep this city grounded, and keeps this city a place where people want to live, and in which the arts plays a major role."

Detroit native Wayne Brown will be the Opera's CEO. He's coming from the National Endowment for the Arts in D.C.

You can watch Brown talk about his new job during a press conference here: 

Editor's note: a spokesperson for DiChiera says he is almost fully recovered from prostate cancer, and that his illness was not a major factor for bringing in a new president and CEO.

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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