General Director of Opera Memphis in a set of his own design.
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4. Quote: “This one’s not very [visually] exciting, but I keep it on my desk. In Memphis, so many of my colleagues were doing this amazing work, and there are times you think, ‘Why am I at the same table?’ because we put on shows and we’re entertainment, etc. I expressed this to Jan Young, of the Assisi Foundation of Memhis, and the response was that all of my colleagues rallied to the defense of the arts.” Canty explains that their defense was that they’re saving people’s lives, but without the arts or entertainment it would be for nothing. Arts are crucial to the enjoyment of life.
5. Twitter roll from “30 Days of Opera”: “It was a program that we launched last fall and we’re doing again this fall, which is basically 30 days of free performances throughout the city.” For the event there was a hashtag on Twitter to help the community understand why people were “On the corner of Sam Cooper and Parkway singing opera,” Canty says. “We took screen shots and when it was over we taped them all together into one 214-foot roll of tweets. This was just a way to show how big the conversation was and how engaged people were.”
6. Picture of his wife, Karen: “This was right after we got married and this party was for our wedding and my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary. I keep it there because I love it and think my wife looks beautiful, and it reminds me that I was a lot skinnier before I moved to Memphis.”
7. Jack of hearts playing card: Canty directed the first New York revival of A Month in the Country by American composer Lee Hoiby. “He came to one of the performances, well into his 80s at that point. There’s a scene where people are playing cards, so I had him sign it since I’m very sentimental about objects. He signed it, ‘Lee Hoiby, happy composer.’ I loved it; making a composer happy — you don’t get to hear that from Mozart or Puccini, ya know, because usually they’re dead. And ‘Jack of Hearts Productions’ was a company I started in college, and we did various improv and children’s theater.”
8. Tiffany Parker pen: Other than theater- or opera-related jobs, the only other job Canty ever had was selling and engraving Parker pens at Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s. “I sold so many pens that the guy who ran the stationery department thought that I was stealing them, but I really love the pens. So, this was a gift from my supervisor at Parker, and I use it to sign contracts and checks and anything important, even though it doesn’t have a cap anymore. Theater people are very superstitious, so if you sign it with a better pen it will have a better outcome.”