The Minnesota Opera, which has become a national leader in generating new work, appears to be less than stable at the executive level. President and General Director Kevin Ramach resigned this week after about 2½ years in the role.
Ramach himself had succeeded Allan Naplan, who quit in 2012 after a year in the job. Nina Archabal, former director of the Minnesota Historical Society, took over on Thursday as interim general director.
Jim Johnson, a retired executive of Securian Financial Group who became the opera's board chairman in July, said late Friday that the board had begun a review of "whether the position was a good fit for Kevin" last summer.
Ramach, 54, said in a statement released by the opera that he felt his strong suit had always been the creative end of the business and often felt "removed" from that in his role as general director.
"I think Kevin's statement is accurate," Johnson said.
Ramach's last day at the opera was Tuesday. He joined the company's production department in 1988 and left 11 years later for the Kentucky Opera. He returned to the Twin Cities in 2006 and served as production director for six years.
The opera has had a tight budget the past few years and announced a deficit in the last fiscal year. At that time, Ramach said the company had cut costs when it was clear that revenue was not matching expenses, even though ticket income was at an all-time high, with the best season-subscription numbers in 14 years.
Fundraising, marketing and communications departments have been streamlined and the company has seen significant turnover in the administration. In the past year, two key players — marketing director Lani Willis and communications director Daniel Zillman — left the opera for other positions.
Johnson said Friday that he didn't think the opera administration was in turmoil. "I think we have everything under control," he said in an interview.
The company has launched prominent world premieres in recent years. "Silent Night," "Doubt," and "The Manchurian Candidate" are three new works the opera has commissioned; "Silent Night" won a Pulitzer Prize for composer Kevin Puts.
The opera's board, which meets next week, will begin a search for a new president. It is unlikely that Archabal, 74, will be a candidate. She had a long and distinguished career with the Minnesota Historical Society before retiring as director in 2010. She is president of the Schubert Club board.