Q&A with Opera Columbus' New Artistic Director

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly
Opera Columbus artistic director Peggy Kriha Dye at the Ohio Theatre

Artistic director Peggy Kriha Dye talks touring, her new role and the fresh face of Opera Columbus.

You're having this great career as an opera singer. Why become an artistic director? The career I've had so far, it's really been about myself. You get to a point where you think, "Gosh, I hope I have something more to offer than just myself." I wanted to do more. This was too amazing to ignore.

Did you have to say, "I'll do this job, but I'm not going to stop singing?" I did, but it wasn't a big issue. Most artistic directors are conductors or stage directors, and it's expected that you keep your foot in the business. You don't want to be an unartistic director.

What are the biggest challenges you face as artistic director? The biggest challenge is to get everybody on board. And by "everybody," I mean everybody in Columbus. I want everybody to know about us and to get them in the theater once, whether in Shadowbox or on the main stage. We've been on the back burner for years now, and I'm convinced that if they just come, our audience will grow. It's a new vision. It's a new company. I'm fighting the preconceived idea of what opera is.

What is that perception? I think a lot of people see opera as a dying art form-that it's long, loud and unattractive. The loud part is true; I'll give you that. But it's extremely attractive. It's relevant to today. These are universal themes. I'm shortening the shows. It's not a four-hour evening. You can have a cocktail in your seat. It's really entertaining, and it's unlike anything anyone will experience anywhere else.