The Minnesota Opera announced today that Kevin Smith is retiring as president and chief executive officer.
Smith has held the position since 1986. After almost 30 years with the company, and with his 60th birthday approaching, Smith said he is ready for a change, though he is not sure yet what that change will be.
During Smith's tenure, The Minnesota Opera joined the ranks of America's top opera companies with its annual budget growing from $1.5 million to $9 million, and attendance more than doubling.
In addition, Smith created the Minnesota Opera Center -- which houses the company's offices, costume and scene shops and rehearsal facilities -- and helped forge the Arts Partnership, a collaboration of Minnesota Opera, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Schubert Club and the Ordway and for the optimum use of the Ordway.
Smith plans to stay on into the next opera season until a successor is in place.
MPR News Arts Reporter Marianne Combs spoke with Kevin Smith earlier today.