illiam C. Morris, president and chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Opera, announced today that Beverly Sills has resigned from her volunteer post as chairman of the Metropolitan Opera for family and personal reasons effective immediately.
Joseph Volpe, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, said, "Beverly Sills has been a dear friend of mine and of the Metropolitan Opera, so I am deeply saddened by her decision. I understand however that the poor health of her husband, Peter Greenough, and her own recent fall, which resulted in a fractured knee, made this decision necessary. Her achievements at the Met have been considerable. Her relationships and her leadership in the 'Save the Met Broadcasts Campaign' have raised millions of dollars for the company and the broadcasts. She also played a major role in the search committee set up to find my successor. I know that the strength of her spirit and her unfailing sense of humor even when things get rough will help her through the present difficulties. She's earned the gratitude and respect of all of us, and I am sure I speak for everyone at the Met in wishing her the best."
Ms. Sills said, "When I accepted this volunteer post, I knew it was primarily to raise funds for the Met and in leaving the post today, I know that I have achieved what I set out to do-having raised millions which were designated not only for new productions but also to save the Saturday afternoon broadcasts for the foreseeable future. One other factor which gives me peace of mind in leaving is that my efforts to see a smooth transition a year-and-a-half from now in the position of general manager of the Met have been successful. After Joseph Volpe announced that he would step down from his post in the summer of 2006, a search committee was formed and I'm delighted to have played a key role in the choice of Peter Gelb. I know his choice is supported not only by Joe, but was especially helpful to James Levine, with whom Peter has had a long-time association. In other words, it's the right time now for me to leave and concentrate on my family."
Mr. Morris said, "Beverly Sills' contribution as chairman of the Metropolitan Opera has been enormous. She will be sorely missed. In a very short time she involved herself in a number of crucial projects with great success. At the head of the 'Save the Met Broadcasts Campaign,' she demonstrated her gifts for leadership and her winning combination of charm, humor, and determination. She raised millions of dollars on behalf of that campaign as well as for new productions. Her contribution in the search committee to find Joseph Volpe's successor was also noteworthy, and thanks to her efforts we can look forward to a smooth transition. On behalf of the executive committee and of the entire board of directors, I want to express our regret at her departure and our deepest gratitude for a job well done."