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THE SCOOP | Canadian Opera Company Names New General Director

By Michael Vincent on November 30, 2020


The Canadian Opera Company has announced they have hired England-born Perryn Leech as the COC’s next General Director.

Leech will start in his new role on March 1, 2021, with current COC General Director Alexander Neef continuing as company leader throughout the transition period.

The appointment follows a year-long search to replace Alexander Neef, who announced he would be leaving one year early to join the Opéra national de Paris this past September.

“I am so excited to be joining the Canadian Opera Company at this time of great challenge, but also great opportunity for opera,” said Leech in a press release statement. “Throughout the search process it was clear that the board is fully engaged in the evolution and growth of this brilliant company. The COC is already highly respected on the world stage, and I am eager to get started with the outstanding group of creative talents that make up this wonderful company.”

Over the course of his 36-year career, Leech has worked with the English National Opera, the Edinburgh International Festival, and the Glyndebourne Festival, and most recently as Managing Director of Houston Grand Opera (HGO). He first joined the HGO in 2007 and was later appointed Managing Director in 2011. Leech has overseen the creation of a new strategic plan and successfully led the company through Hurricane Harvey’s devastating impact in 2017, including the creation of Resilience Theater, an alternate performance venue for the HGO.

“Perryn holds a unique understanding of the full spectrum of the performing arts industry,” said Neef. “His comprehensive experience will be a tremendous asset to the Canadian Opera Company’s artistic, community, and development goals, and I look forward to seeing him start in the role.”

“Perryn’s proven leadership made him a natural choice for this role,” said Jonathan Morgan, Chair of the COC Board of Directors. “His commitment to artistic excellence, in addition to his creative thinking and tenacity, has led to award-winning programming and an admirable reputation as a leader who brings people together. On behalf of the COC Board, our staff, and audiences, I offer him our sincerest congratulations.”

Over the next four months, Leech will work closely with Neef and the COC’s executive management team to coordinate the transition.


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Michael Vincent
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