Chicago Opera Theater’s (COT) Board of Directors recently announced the promotion of Ashley Magnus to the role of Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson General Director. Previously the company’s General Manager of Strategy and Development, Magnus will join Orli and Bill Staley Music Director Lidiya Yankovskayaat the helm, making COT one of few multimillion-dollar opera companies led by women at both the board and executive level. Magnus assumes her new role immediately.

​"In her time as General Manager, Ashley executed a successful multimillion dollar capital campaign, tripled recorded planned gifts and grew core annual fundraising by 28%,” stated Chicago Opera Theater Board President Susan Irion. “She has been an instrumental part of the COT leadership team and played a vital role in the development of the company’s long-term strategic goals. Her work in the industry and at COT positions her perfectly to achieve long-term success as COT’s Edlis Neeson General Director.”

Magnus began her career at Utah Symphony/Utah Opera as Production Coordinator for the opera department, and continued on to hold several leadership positions in events and development, including the role Director of Corporate Partnerships. She went on to earn an M.B.A. from the University of Utah, and specializes in business strategy, project management and the building of constructive community, individual and institutional partnerships. In 2013, she was selected to participate in Opera America’s Leadership Intensive. At Chicago Opera Theater, Magnus has managed all fundraising activities since 2015 and drives the strategy and implementation of the company’s long-term goals.

Magnus succeeds previous General Director Douglas R. Clayton. Clayton stated, “Having accomplished many goals since I joined Chicago Opera Theater in 2015, I’ve decided to step down to pursue other opportunities. I am excited to leave the company in Ashley’s and Lidiya’s capable hands and look forward to applauding the continued success and accomplishments of COT in the future.”

Magnus added, “Doug has been a huge asset in strategic planning and in setting the stage for a smooth transition. I'm thrilled to take the reins of Chicago Opera Theater in this exciting moment for the organization. Now, more than ever, COT represents the future of opera. We are dedicated to featuring local artists, to performing the work of living composers and to advancing opera as an art form that is forward-thinking, vibrant and very much alive.” 

​For more information on the Chicago Opera Theater and its programs please visit chicagooperatheater.org.

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Ashley Magnus Named Chicago Opera Theater Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson General Director 



Formerly General Manager, Ashley Magnus has been named the new Chicago Opera Theater Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson General Manager (photo courtesy of Chicago Opera Theater);


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