Peggy Kriha Dye Will Leave Opera Columbus

Suzanne Goldsmith
Peggy Kriha Dye was photographed at the Southern Theatre in February 2020.

Opera Columbus has launched a national search for a new leader to replace its visionary CEO and artistic director, Peggy Kriha Dye. Dye will leave her post in October, the organization announced Wednesday, to become the CEO and general director of the Virginia Opera. 

“Being part of Opera Columbus and the Columbus arts community for nearly a decade has been an extraordinary experience for me,” Kriha Dye said in a statement. “I will always be grateful for the amount of support I received from the Opera Columbus board, staff and patrons as well as my colleagues in the Columbus arts community—it has been an amazing journey.”

Kriha Dye, who was the subject of a Columbus Monthly profile in April, began that journey at Opera Columbus in 2011 when the arts group brought to Columbus a Toronto-based production of “Don Giovanni” in which she was performing. Since she lived in Central Ohio, Kriha Dye helped recruit a local chorus for the show. After that, the successful soprano began taking on additional responsibilities at Opera Columbus. It was a time of change for the organization and for opera itself, which was struggling to remain relevant to a changing public. Kriha Dye became Opera Columbus’ artistic director in 2014 and CEO last year.

She is credited with numerous artistic successes and innovations, including the development of a partnership with Juilliard that brought opera students at the renowned school in New York to perform in Columbus, and the creation of a new opera, “The Flood,” in partnership with ProMusica. That production was awarded GCAC’s Artistic Excellence Award in 2019. Other shows in recent years have featured an aerialist and a choir made up of volunteers around the world who videotaped themselves singing (“Orphée et Euridice”); a “Barber of Seville” set in 1990s Florida and filled with pop culture references and inflatable pool toys; and, last fall, “As One,” a contemporary opera about a transgender woman.

“Peggy was instrumental in paving the way for a new era of opera fans,” said Bill Miller, Opera Columbus Board of Trustees president. “Her creativity and risk-taking were boundless.”

Read our April 2020 profile of Peggy Kriha Dye here.

Peggy Kriha Dye rehearsed with stand-ins in 2019 at the Pizzuti Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art for what was to be her directorial debut, "The Poppea Project." That production was placed on hold due to COVID-19.