Obituary: Former Dallas Opera general manager Plato Karayanis dies at 93

Former Dallas Opera general manager Plato Karayanis has died at the age of 93.

In a statement, the company said, “We are saddened to learn and share the news of the passing of Plato Karayanis, former general manager of the Dallas Opera. He served the company faithfully from 1977 to 2000 and his impact will forever be felt within the Dallas Opera family. Throughout his life, Plato was an innovator in the arts, and we are honored to have benefited from his leadership for over twenty years. His memory lives on at the Karayanis Rehearsal Production Center, along with an impressive legacy of artistic achievement.

Ian Derrer, Managing Director and CEO of Kern Wildenthal, added, “Dallas Opera is taking a break from reflecting on one of opera administration’s greatest. Plato was a dynamic, passionate and extremely thoughtful leader. Our deepest condolences go out to his beloved wife Dorothy and their family.

Born in Pittsburgh on December 26, 1928, Karayanis studied voice at Carnegie-Mellon University and opera at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He then worked in opera administration and production technology at the Hamburg State Opera and landed baritone roles and worked as a director in Europe.

In 1954 he was appointed head of the rehearsal department at the San Francisco Opera, and from 1965 to 1967 he was assistant director and company administrator at the Metropolitan Opera.

In 1977 he became general manager of the Dallas Opera, where his tenure saw the expansion of traditional and contemporary repertoires. During his time with the company he brought works by Strauss, Falla, Barber, Argento, Britten and Handel and such artists included Cecilia Bartoli, Renee Fleming, Sharon Sweet, Frederica von Stade, Alfredo Krauss, Denyce Graves, Maria Guleghina and Waltraud. Meir.

While in Dallas, he became Chairman of the Board of OPERA America.

In May 2000, after serving twenty-three years as general manager, he retired from his position in Dallas. For the next six years he consulted for the Palm Beach Opera, first as artistic consultant and then as acting general manager. He also successfully led the search for a new CEO. Karayanis also served as Acting General Manager and CEO of Opera San Antonio for fifteen months in 2013 and 2014.

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