Darren-K.-Woods-(Hortensius)Darren Woods, the out leader of the Fort Worth Opera for the last 16 years, has been axed, according to multiple reports as well as a release from the FWO.

About 10 years ago, Woods began a series of innovations at the oldest opera company in Texas, including converting to a festival format (several weeks of continuous operas in repertory rather than a season spread out over several months), as well as the commission of new works, the mounting of local premieres, and edgy series aimed at generating new interest in opera by younger audiences.

The release from the board of directors praised woods for his “energy and artistic vision,” while saying a “fresh perspective” was needed to invigorate an ageing business model. A national search for a new general director will begin immediately.

This comes just months before the new festival is set to commence, including a specific outreach to the Latino community.

He has championed unusual artistic choices, often with gay content … sometimes with success, sometimes not so much. The opera version of Angels in America didn’t resonate, although Before Night Falls, about gay Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas, scored with audiences and critics. He also greenlighted an opera based on queer poet Allen Ginsberg’s words, Phillip Glass’ Hydrogen Jukebox.

Woods was a trained opera singer in his own right; four years ago, he even took a signing role in a production of Daughter of the Regiment.