Deborah Sandler

Updated: Friday, October 4, 11:15 a.m.

Russell Patterson, general artistic director of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City for four decades, as well as one of its founders, died Wednesday; he was 85. Patterson was also the first music director for the Kansas City Symphony.

From 1957 to 1998, Patterson served as the Lyric's artistic director. In a history of the company posted on its website, he's credited with sparking the idea:

Laura Spencer / KCUR

The Lyric Opera of Kansas City on Friday marked the official opening of its new $10.5 million, two-building facility in the Crossroads Arts District.

Changes are happening at Kansas City’s Lyric Opera. Its general director, Evan Luskin, is retiring next month after 26 years with the company. 

The Lyric Opera of Kansas City today announced the appointment of Deborah Sandler as the new general director as of July 1, 2012.