Annie Burridge was named General Director & CEO of Austin Opera in October 2016. Upon arrival, she led the development of the company’s new strategic plan centered on artistic growth, innovation, and civic engagement. She launched a new artistic initiative – Opera ATX – bringing groundbreaking artists to unexpected and unique venues throughout Austin; appointed the company’s first Curator of Hispanic and Latinx Programming funded through the creation of the Butler Fund for Spanish Programming; established a new model for co-production partnerships; secured four national innovation grants totaling $800,000; established numerous community partnerships including formalized partnerships with the Consulate General of Mexico in Austin and the Butler School of Music; and tripled the company’s endowment funds.
During the pandemic, Annie led Austin Opera’s pivot to digital programming, producing a weekly broadcast series (Live from Indy Terrace); a series of opera films at Blue Starlite Drive-Ins; the company’s first PBS program, An All-Star Concert, which has now aired 84 times nationwide; and a return to live performance with an outdoor fully staged version of Tosca at a Formula One Racetrack. Austin Opera was voted Opera Company of the Year in the 2020 BroadwayWorld Opera Awards.
Annie joined Austin Opera following a nine-year tenure at Opera Philadelphia, where she most recently served as Managing Director. At Opera Philadelphia Annie was responsible for the implementation of the company’s business plan and leadership of the development, marketing, and communications departments. She led the company’s rebranding campaign and the most comprehensive consumer study ever conducted in the opera field, resulting in the company’s new programming model and the creation of the O17 festival. During her tenure as Opera Philadelphia’s chief development officer, contributed income increased 183%.
Annie is Co-Chair of OPERA America and a frequent speaker on topics related to arts administration including change management, workplace culture, fundraising, branding, and civic practice. She has been a keynote speaker at numerous national and international gatherings, including keynote presentations for SXSW, OPERA America, Tessitura, Creative Partnerships Australia, and Culture Business in Switzerland. She is on the Board of Spectrum Theatre, an Austin organization dedicated to provoking stories of the human condition as seen through the spectrum of the African American experience.
Before switching her focus to administration, Annie performed as a coloratura soprano with several opera companies and orchestras and was a young artist with Des Moines Metro Opera.
Annie holds a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Administration from the University of Pennsylvania and a M.M. in Voice Performance and a M.M. in Opera Studies from the New England Conservatory. She graduated the valedictorian of the College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State University, where she earned a B.M. in Voice Performance with a Minor in Business Administration. Annie is an alumnus of Wharton’s Women’s Executive Leadership program and OPERA America’s Leadership Intensive program. She was a 2017 Nonprofit Leadership Fellow at the Aspen Institute.
Annie was named a 2017 “Mover and Shaper” by Musical America and won the Penn State University College of Arts and Architecture Alumni Award in 2018.