LSM Newswire

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

long-time COC director first recipient of National Opera Directors Recognition award



Toronto, Ontario – The Canadian Opera Company (COC) is delighted to announce that one of its long-time volunteer leaders, J. Rob Collins, has received the National Opera Directors Recognition Award for his extraordinary contributions to the Canadian Opera Company as a director and role model for excellence in governance.

Sponsored by BMO Financial Group, and aligned with’s sister organization, OPERA America, the National Opera Directors Recognition Award honours the contribution of one director whose efforts have helped to ensure the health of an opera company and the art form’s availability for future generations.

Rob Collins has been a COC Director for 16 years. His roles have included President and Chair of the Board of Directors, Chair of the Canadian Opera House Corporation (COHC) Building Committee, and Chair of the Board’s Nominating Committee. Intimately involved with every aspect of the company’s administration for almost two decades, Mr. Collins has been a tireless champion and advocate for the COC, and his leadership, tenacity, drive, determination and generosity have been extraordinary. In particular, his guidance during the construction of the company’s opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, has been unmatched.

I am truly honoured to be the first recipient of this award,” says Rob Collins. “To me, it recognizes the tremendous accomplishments of the Canadian Opera Company over the years and, particularly, recently. It has been a wonderful opportunity for me to be a part of the COC during this time. I have been able to work with a dedicated and accomplished staff, outstanding artistic talent and many committed volunteers, including my fellow directors.”

Shortly after former General Director Richard Bradshaw revived the COC’s dream to build an opera house in 1998, Rob was named Chair of the COHC Building Committee taking responsibility for making sure that the company’s new opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, was built on time and on budget. In that capacity and in many others over the years, Rob chaired countless board and committee meetings, attended dozens of cultivation events, solicited scores of prospective donors and made numerous site visits. While serving as Chair of the COHC Building Committee, Rob was named President of the COC. During his two-year term as President (2004 – 2006), he not only participated in the conversion of a parking lot into a world-class opera house, but also presided over the board’s supervision of the COC’s operations, including fundraising and world-class productions.

“Rob has done so much for the company over the years, and even though he has just retired from the board, he is always there when we need him for advice and help,” says COC General Director Alexander Neef. “From the moment we met during my nomination process, Rob has been a mentor to me. His personal and professional support has been extremely important, and I am very grateful to for recognizing his dedication and effort.”

Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America, and has an international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation. The COC currently enjoys a remarkable 99% attendance rate for its mainstage season. The company’s new home, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, was designed by Diamond and Schmitt Architects Inc. and is Canada’s first purpose-built opera house. Acclaimed as one of the best opera houses in the world, the Four Seasons Centre is also the performance venue for The National Ballet of Canada.

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