Ernest, Sarah But­ler give $1 mil­lion to Austin Opera

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE - By Michael Barnes mbarnes@states­man.com Opera

Ma­jor bene­fac­tors Ernest and Sarah But­ler — who have strate­gi­cally given tens of mil­lions of dol­lars to build up Austin’s arts and are the name­sakes for the But­ler School of Mu­sic at the Univer­sity of Texas — are do­nat­ing $1 mil­lion to sup­port the po­si­tion of Austin Opera’s artis­tic direc­tor.

Ear­lier this year, not long af­ter An­nie Bur­ridge took the reins as Austin Opera’s gen­eral direc­tor, she told the Amer­i­can-States­man how she felt about the qual­ity of the com­pany’s sound un­der artis­tic direc­tor Richard Buck­ley.

“The sec­ond the per­for­mance started, I bolted for­ward in my seat,” Bur­ridge said. “I couldn’t be­lieve the cal­iber of the mu­si­cian­ship.”

Soon af­ter that story was pub­lished, the But­lers asked the gen­eral direc­tor over for tea. That af­ter­noon, Bur­ridge came away with the $1 mil­lion pledge.

“As long­time opera fans, Sarah and I are so pleased with the artis­tic achieve­ments of Mae­stro Buck­ley and quite proud of the cal­iber of mu­si­cian­ship he has brought to Austin,” Ernest But­ler said. “We are also very op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture of Austin Opera un­der the lead­er­ship of gen­eral direc­tor An­nie Bur­ridge. We hope that our gift will en­able the com­pany to flour­ish for years to come.”

BRIAN K. DIGGS / AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN 2013

Ernest and Sarah But­ler (here in 2013) do­nated $1 mil­lion to sup­port the po­si­tion of Austin Opera’s artis­tic direc­tor, Richard Buck­ley (left). “As long­time opera fans, Sarah and I are so pleased with the artis­tic achieve­ments of Mae­stro Buck­ley and quite proud of the cal­iber of mu­si­cian­ship he has brought to Austin,” Ernest But­ler said. “We are also very op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture of Austin Opera un­der ... An­nie Bur­ridge.”

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