February 20, 2017
Dear Fresno Grand Opera patrons,
As some in our community know, I’ve been engaged to be married since November 2015. This past summer, my fiancée and I began merging our lives together, and I moved my home to Sacramento, where she has lived her entire life. Since then, I have been commuting each week to Modesto and Fresno to continue our work together to bring opera to our communities.
With each passing month, this has been harder and harder to maintain, and I have reached a point where it is no longer personally sustainable. Unfortunately, as much as I value the work we continue to do, my heart is in Sacramento with my wife-to-be and the life we’re building together. The physical and geographical demands of my work have taken precious time and energy from our life together, and I am no longer able to sacrifice our life together to continue our work in Modesto and Fresno. With that in mind, and with a heavy heart, I am stepping down from my role as General Director of FGO.
Over the past eight months, as part of our normal work ensuring that the partnership between Fresno Grand Opera and Townsend Opera in Modesto is long lasting, I have worked closely with the board officers of both organizations to create a succession plan that paves the way for opera to continue together in our two communities. Ryan Murray, our esteemed Music Director, will assume the role of Artistic Director of both companies, ensuring that they continue to work together artistically to bring opera to our communities. Matthew Altamura, a recent transplant from Florida with a background in arts administration, will assume the role of Managing Director of FGO, and will oversee the day-to-day business of the Company.
Having given two years of my life in the name of opera in Fresno, and nine years in Modesto, I have no intention of disconnecting myself completely from FGO. The Board of Directors has appointed me as an Advisor to the Company, and I will work closely with Ryan Murray, Matthew Altamura and the Board of Directors to ensure both a smooth transition and a continuation of the plans we’ve developed for the next few years.
This is not a decision I take lightly, and I make it with a heavy heart, as I have cherished the time I have spent working in the arts in Fresno and the friendships I’ve made. Our work, and what we’ve accomplished in saving opera for our community, will hold a special place in my heart for the rest of my life, but it has come time to follow my heart to Sacramento, the woman I love, and the life together we’ve been dreaming of for quite some time.
Very sincerely, and with great appreciation,
Matthew Buckman General Director