Locally raised, internationally celebrated opera director Michael Cavanagh has died. 

One of the nation's most sough-after directors, Cavanagh was born in Winnipeg and grew up singing with the Manitoba Opera chorus. His career took him across North America and through parts of Europe, directing more than 150 productions at more than 30 companies, including Vancouver Opera, San Francisco Opera, l’Opéra de Montréal, Kansas City Opera, Opera Philadelphia. 

Here at home in Winnipeg, he helmed Manitoba Opera's productions of Verdi’s Falstaff, Mozart's The Magic Flute, the Canadian premiere of Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men, amongst others.

Cavanagh was a longtime faculty member at the Don Wright Faculty of Music in London, Ontario. 

In 2010, he staged John Adams' Nixon in China -- coinciding with the Olympic Winter Games -- which led to invitations to work in Stockholm as a guest director in 2016 before a return in 2018. 

Cavanagh was appointed artistic director of the Royal Swedish Opera in 2020, a venerable institution which celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2023. 

Cavanagh passed away Wednesday from leptomeningeal cancer in London, Ontario and is survived by his wife, Jackie Short, and daughter, Amelia Pipher. A celebration of his life and legacy will take place in London in the spring. 

He was 62.