Fort Worth Opera announced Monday that it will part ways with its general director of 16 years, Darren Keith Woods. The FWO board has cited the need for a “fresh perspective and an innovative approach to an aging business model.” Board chairman, Mike Martinez told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the decision to go in a different direction came after months of deliberation. The board felt Woods was no longer able to provide the necessary leadership from a development and fundraising standpoint.

Woods took over as general director of the company in 2001 and has been lauded by

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Darren K. Woods Photo by Ellen Appel

audiences and critics alike for his creative approach and willingness to take artistic risks. According to their website, Fort Worth Opera became one of the country’s leading producers of new works under Woods’ leadership. In 2007, the company moved from a traditional operatic season to a spring festival format and since that time they have produced four world premieres as well as other operas by leading 21st century composers including Philip Glass, Jake Hegge and Mark Adamo.

Fort Worth Opera will begin a national search for a new general director immediately.

Woods is a former character tenor who headed Shreveport Opera in Louisiana and is currently the artistic director at the Seagle Colony summer training program for young singers. Woods told the Star-Telegram that he would like to spend more time focusing on Seagle and intends to direct even more energy into working with new music. It looks like one of opera’s great innovators is now a free agent.