In a surprise announcement that comes one week before Afton Battle'slast day as Fort Worth Opera general and artistic director, the company has named Angela Turner Wilson its new leader.
Wilson is a Fort Worth-based opera singer and TCU professor. Her tenure with FWO will begin December 12, according to a November 17 press release.
“After reviewing candidates from around the US and other countries, we are thrilled to announce Angela Turner Wilson will lead the Fort Worth Opera,” board vice chairman Hayne Shumate says in the release. “We wanted to find someone who has vast experience as a national operatic performer and someone who understands how to lead an organization and educate future opera singers. We were fortunate to find those qualities in Angela Turner Wilson. We can’t wait to see her take our organization to new heights.”
An accomplished opera performer, Wilson has appeared with the New York City Opera, Washington National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Boston Lyric Opera, Atlanta Opera, Portland Opera, and the Dallas Opera, among others. As a DFW resident, Wilson has performed with the Fort Worth Opera in L’Italiana di Algieri and Petite Messe Solennelle by Rossini, the release notes.
She also has served on the faculty of the Vocal Arts Division at Texas Christian University since 2008. In 2017, she became Associate Professor of Professional Practice in Voice, and was named chair of the Vocal Arts Division at TCU in 2019. She was also the Founding Director of the TCU’s “Festival of American Song."
Wilson also has performed at several historic events, the release notes, including performing at the Clinton White House for a State Dinner honoring Italian Prime Minister Roman Prodi in 1998. She also performed at the opening of the Bush Presidential Library at Southern Methodist University in 2013. (Fun cross-town rivalry trivia: Her father, R. Gerald Turner, has been president of SMU since 1995.)
Turner Wilson made national headlines as one of numerous women who accused renowned opera singer Placido Domingo of sexual harassment or inappropriate, sexually charged behavior, according to the Associated Press.
Her appointment by FWO comes at a pivotal time, after several years of internal unrest and amid continued pandemic-time challenges.
Wilson succeeds Battle, who announced on October 24 that she would be stepping down as FWO head after two years; her last day with the company is November 23.
Battle had succeeded Tuomas Hiltunen, who also resigned after two seasons, in January 2020. Hiltunen was appointed in July 2017, five months after longtime FWO general director Darren Woods was fired.
"I am honored that the Fort Worth Opera asked me to lead this important organization,” Wilson says in the release. “Fort Worth Opera is a pillar of the fine arts in Fort Worth. I look forward to continuing the FWO’s high standard of artistic excellence and community outreach while expanding the national reach of the company into an exciting future.”
Wilson is a long-time resident of the Fort Worth-area. She and her husband, Michael, have two children: Luke, a freshman at TCU; and Wyatt, a sophomore at Keller High School.