Peggy Kriha Dye, President and CEO
Adam Turner, Artistic Director
Peter Mark, Artistic Director Emeritus
Virginia Opera Association, Inc., in its 46th year of operation, is known and respected nationwide for the identification and presentation of the finest young artists, for the musical and dramatic integrity of its productions, and for the ingenuity and variety of its education and outreach programs. The Company has a working budget of $5.3 million with over 28 mainstage performances, reaching nearly 50,000 attendees. In March of 1994, by unanimous vote of the Virginia General Assembly, Virginia Opera was named The Official Opera Company of the Commonwealth of Virginia in recognition of the organization’s contribution to the Commonwealth and to the world of opera.
Organized in 1974 by founding chair Edythe C. Harrison, Virginia Opera was launched with two productions in the Norfolk Center Theater. Shortly thereafter, Peter Mark was appointed Artistic Director, a position he held for over 35 years. Peter Mark was named Artistic Director Emeritus in 2012. Peggy Kriha Dye, appointed President and CEO in 2020, currently leads the company. Adam Turner was appointed Artistic Director in 2018.
Virginia Opera’s statewide expansion began by producing in Richmond in 1977 with the encouragement of Governor Mills Godwin and Mrs. T. Fleetwood (Anna) Garner. Under their leadership, The Richmond Friends of Opera was formed to present Virginia Opera productions annually in the capital city. By 1983, the Richmond and Central Virginia Board of Virginia Opera formed and a Richmond office was opened. In November 1992, the Company presented its first mainstage performance at the Center for the Arts at George Mason University in Fairfax. This development was hailed as “one of the major local operatic events of the year” by The Washington Post, and deemed a special day in music history for the Washington D.C. area by Opera News.
Virginia Opera has presented some of the nation’s most promising singers on its stages including Diana Soviero, Ashley Putnam, John Aler, Rockwell Blake, Renée Fleming, Barbara Dever, Grant Youngblood, Fabiana Bravo, Lawrence Brownlee, Nmon Ford, Jake Gardner, Mary Elizabeth Williams,David Portillo, Ginger Costa-Jackson, David Pershall and Nadine Sierra. Attracting acclaimed directors from the theater and opera world, audiences have enjoyed the work of Gian Carlo Menotti, Gordon Davidson, Greg Ganakas, Arvin Brown, Dorothy Danner, Lillian Groag, Sam Helfrich and Stephen Lawless, among others, in new productions designed by the nation’s top opera and theater designers. Virginia Opera has continued its tradition of commissioning/co-commissioning new works as illustrated by the world premieres of A Christmas Carol, Harriet – The Woman Called Moses, Simón Bolivar, Pocahontas, and, most recently, Rappahannock County.
The company produces four mainstage productions including performances at the Edythe C. and Stanley L. Harrison Opera House in Norfolk, Carpenter Theatre at Dominion Arts Center in Richmond, and at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts in Fairfax. Virginia Opera is the only opera company to perform a full season of opera in multiple mainstage venues and to reach more than 150,000 students and community members each year through its innovative Education and Community Outreach Program. While remaining committed to securing the highest caliber of vocal talent, the Opera will invite brilliant conductors and directors, assisted by the next generation of gifted artists, to challenge audiences and create new opera experiences.
Peggy Kriha Dye
President and CEO
A native of Minnesota, Peggy Kriha Dye received her BA in Music Education from Saint Cloud State University (MN) and pursued her graduate studies at Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard Opera Center. As a soprano, she performed on more than 100 stages in over 40 productions throughout the world from 1992–2017, originating the role of Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, written and conducted by André Previn at the San Francisco Opera, and reprising the role with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Washington National Opera. Her other significant roles include Musetta in La Bohème with the San Francisco Opera and Shanghai Opera House, among others. Her final performances were in the title role of Medea in Toronto and Versailles (2017).
In 2011, Kriha Dye turned her focus to her administrative career at Opera Columbus (OC), a company with whom she served successfully for nearly a decade, beginning as Director of Education and Community Programming (2011–2014), Artistic Director (2014–2017), and, finally, General and Artistic Director + CEO (2017–2020). Under her leadership, OC has become renowned for skillfully and sensitively combining visionary new artistic programming and commissioned works—2018-2019 saw the world premiere of The Flood, OC’s first new work in nearly 20 years and winner of the Greater Columbus Arts Council’s Excellence Award—with traditional operatic ones. Under her leadership, OC continually achieved balanced budgets and operating surpluses, expanded fundraising opportunities, and fostered critically lauded community and creative partnerships at national and international levels.
In addition to her former organizational oversight of Opera Columbus, Kriha Dye continues to serve on the Board of Trustees of Opera America, is involved in the Women’s Opera Network and is past recipient of such accolades as Musical America’s 2018 Professionals of the Year/”Movers and Shakers” Edition award.
American conductor Adam Turner is quickly gaining momentum as a conductor to watch on international opera stages. Currently in his third season as Artistic Director of Virginia Opera (following four seasons as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor), Maestro Turner garners critical acclaim for the breadth of his repertoire, artistic vision, and polished technique. Of his recent performance of Street Scene with Virginia Opera, Opera News hailed the “sensitive conducting” of Adam Turner “who demonstrated an affinity for a score as stylistically diverse as the characters in the plot.”
Last season at Virginia Opera, Mo. Turner led performances of Tosca, Daniel Catán’s Il Postino, and La Cenerentola, and he also conducted Virginia Symphony Orchestra’s “POPS! Concert Series” consisting of shows entitled Queens of Soul, Music of Neil Diamond, and Dancing & Romancing. In the 2018-2019 Season, Mo. Turner made debut appearances with San Diego Opera (Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers, with the legendary mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade), the Buffalo Philharmonic (Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins), Intermountain Opera Bozeman (Eugene Onegin); and in his inaugural season as Artistic Director of Virginia Opera led productions of Street Scene, Don Giovanni, The Elixir of Love, Madama Butterfly, and Jack Perla’s An American Dream. Additionally, Mo. Turner returned to Central City Opera to conduct Madama Butterfly for the 2019 summer season.
In recent seasons, Mr. Turner conducted Samson et Dalila, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Der Freischütz, The Seven Deadly Sins, Pagliacci, La bohème, and Der fliegende Holländer at Virginia Opera, Roméo et Juliette at Lyric Opera Baltimore, and collaborated with renowned conductor John DeMain on Washington National Opera’s production of Kurt Weill’s final stage composition Lost in the Stars. Additionally, The Kurt Weill Foundation named Maestro Turner the inaugural recipient of the Julius Rudel/Kurt Weill Conducting Fellowship in 2015.
Other recent guest conducting engagements include: The Tender Land at Northwestern University; Three Decembers with Hawaii Opera Theatre; Händel’s Messiah with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra; a Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program Holiday Concert with Washington National Opera; Sweeney Todd at Hawaii Opera Theatre and Eugene Opera; Le nozze di Figaro, Dead Man Walking, Carmen, La bohème, Man of La Mancha and Oklahoma! with Central City Opera; Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, Carmen, Brigadoon, My Fair Lady, Camelot, and Britten’s biblically inspired Noye’s Fludde during his tenure as Resident Conductor at Ash Lawn Opera; and H.M.S. Pinafore, Carmen, Ariadne auf Naxos, The Mikado, Carousel, and Camelot for Virginia Opera.
Turner first gained recognition at age 25 during his tenure at Stadttheater Pforzheim in Germany while taking over conducting responsibilities of a production of Les Misérables. Musicals – Das Musicalmagazin, Germany’s premier musical theater publication lauded his work: “Les Mis reveals even here its magical effectiveness… The main reason for this is the performance of the orchestra, led by a young American conductor, Adam Turner, who brings to the piece a suspenseful drama that one does not always hear, even on the legendary, anniversary recording at the Royal Albert Hall.” There, he also conducted Lehár’s Paganini and Cole Porter’s High Society.
Turner holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Morehead State University, and a Master of Music degree from The Catholic University of America. He furthered his training with internationally acclaimed conductors and pedagogues Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Marin Alsop, Jorma Panula, Gustav Meier, Kenneth Kiesler, and Kate Tamarkin.