by Chris Davis
Ching announced to his staff on Friday, March 5 that he will move to Ames, Iowa with his family sometime in May 2010. The relocation is a result of a new position attained by Ching’s wife, Barbara. Barbara Ching, a current member of the English Department at the University of Memphis, has been named chair of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ English Department at Iowa State University. Michael Ching looks forward to taking time off from the administrative side of opera to compose and spend more time with family.
Michael has been the Artistic Director of Opera Memphis since 1992, often acting as Executive/General Director. He brought an innovative, collaborative spirit to the job. Under Ching Opera Memphis began experimenting with non-representational sets and costumes. In recent seasons he's developed a partnership Midtown's classically eclectic New Ballet Ensemble. His tenure also witnessed the construction of the Clark Opera Memphis Center in East Memphis.
"I have been privileged to work with a great group of supporters and staff who have all striven to make Memphis a better place," Ching says. "I have enjoyed working at a company that places opera in the context of the Blues and the birthplace of Rock and Roll. That work, of providing opera with a distinctly American cultural context, is not done, and I hope that Opera Memphis will continue to provide a unique voice for this unique community. Send me some barbecue in Iowa!"
A production of Ching's own a cappella version of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream had been planned for Next year's opera season.
There's some footage of Ching conducting a rehearsal at the end of this clip.