Michael Cavanagh Remembered

We mourn the loss of Michael Cavanagh, whose remarkable Vancouver Opera career began as our Resident Director in the early 90s. In this position, Michael was assistant director on VO’s mainstage productions while adapting operas for the Vancouver Opera in Schools program. His work at VO launched a journey that led him to direct over 150 opera productions at more than 30 companies across Canada, the U.S. and Europe. His groundbreaking production of John Adams’ Nixon in China for the 2010 Winter Olympics, a project developed by Vancouver Opera, showcased his innovative vision and significantly impacted the opera community. This production not only cemented his reputation as a masterful director, but also highlighted his ability to infuse opera with contemporary relevance and emotional depth. Michael's wonderful personality, his incredible ability to connect with all the artists that he worked with, and the infectious joy that he spread in the rehearsal hall has left deep impressions and made lasting friendships with the VO Chorus and staff members he worked with over a period of 30 years. Beyond his contributions in Vancouver, Michael's legacy resonates through his tenure as Artistic Director of Edmonton Opera, his role as Director/Producer in Residence at Opera on the Avalon, and his celebrated work at prestigious venues around the world. After the success of VO’s Nixon in China presentations in Kansas City, San Francisco, Dublin, and Stockholm, Michael was invited back for several more projects at San Francisco Opera, including new productions of Susannah, Lucia di Lammermoor, and the Mozart/Daponte trilogy of Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Cosi fan tutte. In 2020, Michael was named Artistic Director of The Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm, exemplifying his global influence and dedication to the art form. Michael Cavanagh’s soulful, committed, and visionary approach to opera has left an indelible mark that will inspire future generations.