March’s Ambassador, Susan T. Danis, is part of the new guard of Miami’s arts leadership, helping drive South Florida’s reputation as an exciting cultural destination. She’s a savvy and dynamic leader who appreciates all the arts have to offer communities.
Ms. Danis has loved opera since her childhood, and her enthusiasm has led to a career that has allowed her to share this love with performers, audiences, and students. The Florida Grand Opera (FGO), founded in 1941, is the country’s 7th oldest opera company, and since 2012 Susan’s worked as only it’s fourth CEO and General Director. The FGO couldn’t possibly be in more capable hands, with Danis having raised $47 million as part of a very successful capital campaign as Executive Director of the Sarasota Opera.
After learning more about her, you’ll want to see for yourself the impact she’s having.
What was the first piece of music you fell in love with and when did you develop a passion for opera?
The Habenera from Carmen. It was the first piece I danced to at the age of five in ballet class. My first opera experience was in third grade. I was hooked and my passion grew over the years.
Who are your favorite composers?
Ricard Strauss, Puccini, Verdi and of course Mozart!!
What music are you currently listening to from other genres?
It really is diverse. I love everything from Jazz (too many artists to name) to Edith Piaf to Lou Reed, Dire Straits and U2 to name a few.
What was the best concert you’ve ever seen?
Amnesty International Concert with Sting and Peter Gabriel at the Palais Omnisport Bercy in Paris, France.
What’s inspiring you nowadays?
I think beauty; in nature, design, and art (both performing and visual).
Do you have any favorite designers? Who?
Chanel, especially vintage, Yves St. Laurent, Dior, Herman Miller, Pedini, Le Corbusier.
What is your favorite indulgence?
Very good champagne.
What career other than your own would you like to attempt?
Neurologist or a Quantum Physicist. The brain and string theory both fascinate me.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
The renovation and transformation of the Sarasota Opera House. A $20 million campaign transformed a vaudeville theater to a state of the art opera house that retained the glory of its 1926 décor.
What’s the most important thing people should know about you?
I am a real person, no ego, just me.
Photo credit: Justin Namon