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FALL 2017  $5.99



Bounces Back P. 6


First Opera P. 52

2018-2019 Vocal Roster

Michael Benchetrit MB 212.841.9559 Damon Bristo DB 212.841.9685 Elizabeth Crittenden EC 917.327.0400 Artistic Advisor & Consultant William G. Guerri WG 212.841.9680 Tim Fox TF 212.841.9571 Emily Threlfall Yoon EY 212.841.9509 5 Columbus Circle at 1790 Broadway, 16th Fl. New York, NY 10019-1412




Keri Alkema DB Kathleen Battle TF/EY Michelle Bradley MB Ambur Braid DB Amy Burton WG Nicole Cabell MB Andrea Carroll WG Anna Christy DB Hailey Clark DB/WG Leah Crocetto WG Kiera Duffy DB Amanda Echalaz DB Joyce El-Khoury WG Ashley Emerson WG Raquel Gonzalez DB Ying Huang WG Alexandra Loutsion DB Amanda Majeski DB Karita Mattila MB Maureen McKay MB Heidi Melton DB Erin Morley MB Simone Osborne DB Marjorie Owens MB Heather Phillips DB Lori Phillips DB Brenda Rae MB Twyla Robinson WG Marina Shaguch MB Deborah Voigt TF/EY Erin Wall MB Tamara Wilson DB Corinne Winters DB Sally Wolf EC Jennifer Zetlan WG Vanessa Vasquez WG

Lindsay Ammann DB Jamie Barton MB J’Nai Bridges WG Judith Christin DB Elizabeth DeShong WG Emily Fons MB Cecelia Hall MB Daveda Karanas DB Isabel Leonard DB/TF Daniela Mack DB Michaela Martens WG Sarah Mesko DB Dolora Zajick EC Daryl Freedman DB

Phillip Addis MB Aleksey Bogdanov DB Russell Braun MB Mark Delavan DB Anthony Clark Evans WG Tom Fox MB Quinn Kelsey MB Mariusz Kwiecien WG Steven LaBrie MB Elliot Madore DB Johnathan McCullough DB Edward Nelson DB Zachary Nelson WG Hugh Russell WG Reginald Smith, Jr. MB Harry Greenleaf WG Luca Salsi WG

Contraltos Meredith Arwady DB

Countertenors John Holiday DB

Tenors Randall Bills DB David Blalock WG Steven Cole EC Clifton Forbis WG Joshua Guerrero DB Ben Heppner WG Keith Jameson WG Shawn Mathey MB Michael Myers EC Cooper Nolan DB Dimitri Pittas WG Alek Shrader MB Bruce Sledge MB Jack Swanson MB Russell Thomas MB Issachah Savage DB Derrek Stark WG

Bass-Baritones Gordon Bintner MB Nicholas Brownlee DB Jeongcheol Cha WG Evan Hughes MB Ryan McKinny DB James Morris DB Musa Ngqungwana WG Philippe Sly DB Alan Higgs WG

Basses Erik Anstine WG Önay Köse MB Andrea Silvestrelli WG Steven Humes DB

FA L L 2 O17

The magazine of OPERA America – the national service organization for opera, which leads and serves the entire opera community, supporting the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera


Fred Cohn



Made Visible Studio A S S O C I AT E E D I T O R

Nicholas Wise A DV E R T I S I N G M A N AG E R

CHILD’S PLAY New Children’s Repertoire


B y R AY M A R K R I N A L D I

Patricia Kiernan Johnson


O N T H E COV E R A young audience member at Lyric Opera of Chicago (photo: Todd Rosenberg)

Opera America (ISSN – 1062 – 7243) is published in September, December, March and June. Copyright © 2017 by OPERA America. All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission. Editorial policy: The views expressed in this publication are those of the various authors for the purpose of encouraging discussion. Unless expressly noted, they do not reflect the formal policy, or necessarily the views, of OPERA America. To contact the editor, e-mail The deadline for advertising submissions is 45 days before publication date. The presence of advertising implies no endorsement of the products or services offered. For advertising rates, e-mail OPERA America 330 Seventh Avenue New York, NY 10001 212.796.8620





STICKY NOTES Nine Tips For Making Development Staff Adhere







B y DA N C O O P E R M A N








B y M AT T H E W S I G M A N

OUT OF RUSSIA A Conversation with Lidiya Yankovskaya By M ARC A . SCORCA FA LL 2 017  1


Laura Kaminsky

Timothy O’Leary Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

Carol Lazier Trustee, San Diego Opera


Barbara Leirvik

Frayda B. Lindemann, Ph.D. Trustee, The Metropolitan Opera

Charles MacKay The Santa Fe Opera


Perryn Leech Houston Grand Opera VICE - CHAI R MAN

Susan F. Morris Trustee, The Santa Fe Opera

Zizi Mueller Boosey & Hawkes Esther Nelson Boston Lyric Opera John F. Nesholm Trustee, Seattle Opera


Nicole Paiement Opera Parallèle

Kathryn Smith Madison Opera

Bill Palant Étude Arts


Jane DiRenzo Pigott Trustee, Lyric Opera of Chicago

Evan J. Hazell Trustee, Calgary Opera TREA S U R E R

William Florescu Florentine Opera Company SECR E TA RY

Marc A. Scorca PRES I DE N T/ CE O

BOARD OF DIRECTORS John E. Baumgardner Jr. Sullivan & Cromwell LLP Daniel Biaggi Palm Beach Opera Wayne S. Brown Michigan Opera Theatre Ned Canty Opera Memphis

Yuval Sharon The Industry Matthew Shilvock San Francisco Opera Jill Steinberg Trustee, VisionIntoArt John Turner Trustee, Houston Grand Opera Dona D. Vaughn Opera Maine, Manhattan School of Music Francesca Zambello The Glimmerglass Festival, Washington National Opera EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS Christina Loewen,

Rena M. De Sisto Bank of America

Nicholas Payne, Opera Europa

Larry Desrochers Manitoba Opera


David B. Devan Opera Philadelphia

Robert Tancer, CHAIRMAN James M. Barton John E. Baumgardner Jr. L. Henry Cox III Douglas Cuomo Elizabeth Eveillard Jeanne Goffi-Fynn, Ed.D. Jane A. Gross Karen Kriendler Nelson Frederick W. Peters Jane A. Robinson Anthony Rudel Michael Scimeca, M.D. Jeri Sedlar Thurmond Smithgall Brett Stover Gregory C. Swinehart Barbara Augusta Teichert Darren K. Woods Carole Yaley

Carol E. Domina Michael Egel Des Moines Metro Opera Robert Ellis Trustee, San Francisco Opera, Opera Parallèle James Feldman Trustee, Washington National Opera Barbara Glauber Trustee, New England Conservatory Denyce Graves-Montgomery Christopher Hahn Pittsburgh Opera

2  O P E R A A M E R I C A

46th summer festival June 22 - July 15, 2018

die fledermaus rusalka flight the tender land 515-961-6221

That’s Us


icky Ian Gordon and Michael Korie’s opera The Grapes of Wrath enjoyed great success this summer in a production of a new version of the piece mounted by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Ma Joad sings a stirring setting of Michael’s words in a first-act aria called “Us.” As she works with her family to pack their belongings for the uprooting move to California, she reminds them, “That’s us.” So we’ll take along the things we’ll need, and we’ll leave behind the things we won’t. But the unimportant things we pick up in our lives, they tell us who we are. Will spoons and forks and knives? Leaving our past behind us suddenly stamped “Surplus,” What will remind us our lives are us? Our lives are us. Our lives are us. This moving text connected me to a summer of traumatic damage to our homes and sense of belonging. Hurricane Harvey is us. Hurricane Irma is us. Charlottesville is us. As we read and watched images about these defining events, it could have been easy to disassociate from them because they occurred elsewhere, to other people. But we could have been the ones deciding in a flash what to bring with us at the point of mandatory evacuation from our homes. It happened to people we know and love in Houston and across Florida. They are us. When the waters recede and infrastructure is repaired, many of our fellow citizens will return home to places where they have a sense of belonging. The events of Charlottesville were tragic in a different way, though, as members of radical groups told other people that they don’t belong at all — in our cities or in our country. Confederate flags, Nazi symbols and Ku Klux Klan paraphernalia strike fear into all people who have been and are subject to bigotry and discrimination. If we are not their targets, their victims are colleagues in our offices, friends with whom we have dinner and family members we love. They are us. Charlottesville is us. While we were horrified to see the destruction in Houston and across Florida, we were inspired by the humanity that brought people together — sometimes in human chains — to rescue stranded children, elders, even pets. We heard the words of determination to recover from the crises, and we are offering assistance in all possible ways. Reflexive willingness to help our neighbors is a part of the American character that cannot be undermined by purveyors of hatred and division. Our opera community has a very long way to go to achieve equity and inclusivity among people who have not been represented in our work. Still, we can be an active agent of the healing that is needed. Through the stories we tell on stage, the artists we invite to tell these stories and the people we make feel welcome in our opera houses, we can strengthen the civic fabric — piece by piece — across the country. Our instinct for collaboration, our power to convene, our access to resources and our generosity of spirit should be deployed fully during these trying times to help the healing. Healing is us.

Marc A. Scorca President/CEO FA LL 2 017  3


Training Grounds

pera companies’ school education efforts most often seek to expose young people to the genre and its repertory, but an increasing number have another focus, immersing students in the art form’s most basic element: singing. Company-run initiatives across the country offer vocal training to students at the high school level and below. But their missions vary as widely as the programs themselves. Houston Grand Opera positions its High School Voice Studio as a precursor to its university-level Young Artists Vocal Academy and even to HGO Studio, its prestigious young artist program. (Think of it as a young young artist program.) Twelve students are enrolled at this year’s High School Voice Studio. Each receives weekly lessons from one of the three university-level teachers on the faculty; on top of that, they get monthly masterclasses with visiting artists and HGO staff. A special benefit this year is that some students will sing in the chorus of the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek’s The House Without a Christmas Tree. “We’re modeling it after our studio program and our vocal academy,” says Carleen Graham, director of Denyce Graves coaches high school senior Dennis Barber in a master class at OTSL’s Artists-in-Training Program

4  O P E R A A M E R I C A

HGOco. “In a few years, we could conceivably identify a student who is a sophomore or junior and monitor that person through high school, college and post-college, all the way into their professional life. That’s a great commitment.” [At press time, the Houston area was struggling with the devastating aftereffects of Hurricane Harvey. But — reached by phone five days after the storm hit — Graham said the 2017–2018 High School Voice Studio would proceed as planned.] Tulsa Opera’s vocal education programs, on the other hand, don’t seek to mold the DiDonatos and Flemings of the next generation, but instead to help students develop a love of music in general — and opera in particular. The 20-year-old Tulsa Youth Opera program trains students, grades 3–12, to perform in children’s operas and as choristers in mainstage works like Tosca. The company’s Raise Your Voice! program, recently launched with funding from an OPERA America Innovation Grant, brings after-school vocal instruction to students at six middle schools in underserved neighborhoods. Tulsa Opera has designed the program explicitly to compensate for cuts to school music programs. “By getting

these kids interested in singing,” says Aaron Beck, the company’s music and education administrator, “we’re trying to keep from losing another generation of music lovers.” This summer, Florida Grand Opera staged its second Young Artist Learning Academy (YALA), an “opera boot camp” that gives students ages 15–19 a twoweek immersion not just in singing, but in production and repertoire, as well. Although not as focused on a professional path as HGO’s high school vocal program, it nonetheless gives its young participants a sense of what a career in opera might entail. “It shows them ‘Yes, you can have a life in this business,’” says Rebekah DiazFandrei, FGO’s director of education and community outreach. “Before I fell in love with opera, I was more of a gospel singer,” says Johna Denis, a high school senior and a participant in this summer’s YALA. “But the camp opened my eyes to opera and the drama behind it. I would love be able to use my voice and movements to make drama onstage.” The benefits these programs provide to young people can be immense. Take the experience of St. Louis native Mark Kent, who 26 years ago joined Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ Artistsin-Training Program (AIT), which since 1990 has provided weekly voice lessons to talented high schoolers throughout the St. Louis region. The young baritone hadn’t intended to go to college, but his vocal training paved the way to a full scholarship at American University. After getting his master’s degree from DePaul University, he launched a career as a singer. In 2008, detecting dwindling professional opportunities, Kent cut his singing career short. He is now president of the Biome Foundation, the fundraising arm of a St. Louis charter school. But he sees his current business prowess as an outgrowth of his lifechanging experience in AIT. “What’s amazing is that the relationships I formed 26 years ago at OTSL are still intact,” he says. “Ninety-five percent of the kids in AIT won’t go on to be opera singers. But the most important thing about it is that it broadens people’s worldviews. I didn’t make it to the Met, but I’m successful in other ways.”  — Fred Cohn & Nicholas Wise

Eric Woolsey


Your classical music journey starts here


The world’s premium television destination dedicated to classical music, opera, and ballet. WATCH NOW


A Second Act in Oregon

Right on Target


at and Michele Atkins’ recent gift to Pittsburgh Opera is remarkable not just for its generosity, but for its focus. The couple made their $1.2 million donation, announced in June, for the express purpose of furthering audience development. The Atkinses — he’s an engineer and investment-firm partner; she’s a nonprofit executive — have a history of purposeful Pittsburgh-area philanthropy. Four years ago, after the members of the Pittsburgh Symphony took a voluntary pay cut to help the organization through a rough patch, the couple donated $1.2 million, earmarked for musicians’ salaries. When they set their sights on Pittsburgh Opera, they sought to make their donation similarly specific. “For us, that one was easy; the opera was not as easy,” says Michele Atkins, the secretary of Pittsburgh Opera’s board. Several years of exploratory dialogue between the company and the Atkinses preceded the gift itself. “Both Pat and Michele are interested in ensuring that new audiences are reached,” says Christopher Hahn, Pittsburgh Opera’s general director. “They asked a lot of questions; we gave many 6  O P E R A A M E R I C A

answers. Pat is an engineer, and the second I started to talk about the complexities of audience development, his eyes lit up.” “As my husband said so elegantly, ‘We need a way to get butts in the seats,’” says Michele Atkins. The couple views their philanthropy as a form of civic engagement. “With my background in nonprofit management, I know that corporations thrive in areas where there’s more than just sports teams,” says Michele, noting the local presence of companies like Google and Uber. “They move to places with amenities that appeal to their employees.” Already the Atkins Audience Development Fund has allowed Pittsburgh Opera to create the new position of digital marketing manager. It is also enabling the company to engage in endeavors aimed at audience development, without draining resources from other areas. One example: the company’s Opera Connections program, which brings families from underserved neighborhoods to workshops and performances. “It’s exactly where we needed the gift,” Hahn says. “And it couldn’t have come at a more helpful or necessary moment.” ▪

David Bachman

An audience at Pittsburgh Opera’s 2017 worldpremiere run of The Summer King, by Daniel Sonenberg, Daniel Nester and Mark Campbell


he big news in Eugene Opera’s June announcement of its 2017– 2018 production roster wasn’t the slate of operas, but the fact that the season was happening at all. Six months earlier, facing a $200,000 deficit and disappointing ticket sales, the company had called off the remaining two productions of its 2016–2017 season, making its future existence an uncertain proposition. “People said, ‘A company that cancels halfway through the season isn’t going to make it — it’s the kiss of death,’” says Barbara Wheatley, the company’s board president. “But I was more optimistic. The question was, was there enough support within the community to go forward? Could we do enough of what it takes?” The board already had an awareness of the path it needed to follow. The previous April, struggling with a smaller, but still significant, financial shortfall, it had met with a fundraising consultant. “We came to realize that our development profile was way out of whack,” Wheatley says. “We staged successful fundraising events, but individual giving was way below what it should be. We just did not have a good relationship with our donor base.” Two things stood in the board’s path to good development practice: “It’s a slow process, and we needed money fast,” says Wheatley. “It also takes staff support, and we didn’t have that.” Not only did the company have no development staff, but its general director, Mark Beudert, was a part-time employee. A faculty member at the University of Notre Dame, Beudert spent less than half of his time in Eugene: an arrangement that prevented him from engaging in feet-on-the-ground fundraising. When the crisis hit, the board went into high gear in its efforts to save the company. It sought advice from Susan Ashbaker, general and artistic director of Tri-Cities Opera; Susan Danis, general director and CEO of Florida Grand Opera;

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Barbara Wheatley at a town hall meeting

Eugene Opera’s 2016 Fledermaus

and Marc A. Scorca, OPERA America’s president/CEO. These experts urged the board to strengthen its lines of communication with the community, resulting in series of town hall meetings at a local

public library. “We needed to tell them what was going on and listen to their input,” says Wheatley. “Did they want an opera company? Did they want our kind of opera company? What operas did they want to see? We were fortunate to discover that the support is there.” A group of six donors put up a $60,000 matching donation toward erasing the company’s debt. “That was critical,” Wheatley says. “It told people right away that there was at least that level of support, and they wouldn’t be throwing good money after bad.” The company also garnered donations from former supporters who had fallen out of its sights, and from new donors who had previously been unaware of the level of its needs. Meanwhile, Randall Wells, an opera-loving local CPA, examined the company’s books, working pro bono. “He had come in expecting to find bloated overheads, which is usually the case in the for-profit world,” says Wheatley. “What he found, using comparative data from OPERA America, was that our overheads had been too low — we had been too frugal.”

In June, Beudert resigned from his post, and in September the company announced the hiring of its new executive director, Erika Rauer, formerly program director of the Community Arts Collaborative at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro (see Transitions, page 10). Her focus will be development and administration; meanwhile, Andrew Bisantz, formerly the company’s music director, has taken on the expanded role of artistic director. “No question, this is more expensive,” says Wheatley. “For years we said we can’t afford it. What we’ve seen is that we have to afford it. If the level of support for opera in Eugene isn’t sufficient for this level of staffing, we aren’t viable as a professional opera company.” The success of the spring fundraising efforts is by no means an absolute guarantee of Eugene Opera’s continued good health, but it’s a hopeful, morale-boosting sign. “We aren’t home free yet — we still have a fight on our hands to make sure next season goes forward successfully,” Wheatley says. “But that’s the nature of the beast.” ▪ — Fred Cohn





NOVEMBER 3 & 5, 2017

FEBRUARY 9 & 11, 2018

APRIL 20 & 22, 2018

APRIL 13, 15, 19, 21, & 22, 2018


8  O P E R A A M E R I C A


Eugene Opera (Wheatley), Cliff Coles/Eugene Opera (Fledermaus)




THE LIEDERKRANZ FOUNDATION The Gerda lissner Foundation was created to provide young opera singers with the financial support they need to pursue their craft and excel in the world of opera. Winners are judged by a panel comprised of prestigious professionals in the music world.

INTERNATIONAL VOCAL COMPETITION A total of $150,000 will be awarded.


The competition is divided into two parts:

The GenerAl Division (open to singers ages 21-35) The WAGneriAn Division (open to singers ages 30-45) April 2 through April 7, 2018

LIEDER/SONG COMPETITION (open to singers ages 20-30)


A total of $20,000 will be awarded. september 26 through september 28, 2017 venue:

liederkranz Foundation

6 east 87th street, new York City

The Gerda Lissner Young Artist Vocal Institute was established to continue assisting and mentoring young artists who have won awards in the Foundation’s competitions. Throughout the year master classes are presented by an esteemed group of experienced professionals specializing in the areas of voice Technique, Breath support, Acting, The Power of Words and Career Development.

For information regarding application processes, please visit web site: The Gerda lissner Foundation, 15 east 65th street, nY, nY 10065

Tel: 212.826.6100 Fax: 212.826.0366


Washington National Opera has announced that Philippe Auguin, who has served as its music director Auguin for the past eight seasons, will relinquish his post after this season. Jecca Barry has been promoted from general manager to executive director at Beth Morrison Barry Projects. In her new role, she will also serve as a director of the Prototype Festival.


Lisa Bullard, formerly of the Philadelphia Orchestra, is the new director of marketing at San Francisco Opera, succeeding Marcia Lazer.

Austin Opera has brought on Cina Crisara as its new chorus master and assistant conductor. She was Crisara previously chorus master of both Opera Omaha and the Omaha Symphony. Houston Grand Opera has hired Molly Dill for the newly created position of technical director. Dale Edwards has also joined HGO as its marketing director. Fort Worth Opera has named Tuomas Hiltunen, formerly an administrator at the Barenboim-Said Hiltunen Foundation USA, as its new general director. Joe Illick, the company’s music director since 2002, has been named artistic director. Opera Theatre of Saint Louis has announced that Roberto Kalb, currently head of music, will additionally take on the role of resident conductor, beginning in the 2018 season. Erich Keil has joined Tulsa Opera as its new director of production and lighting designer.


Charlottesville Opera has announced that its artistic director, Michelle Krisel, has retired. Before joining the company in 2010,

10  O P E R A A M E R I C A

Krisel spent 14 years at Washington National Opera, where she was founding director of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. Townsend Opera has appointed Charla Jeanne Lawson as managing director and Ryan Murray as artistic director. Daniel Lipton, who has served as artistic director of Opera Tampa for the past five years, has resigned from his post. Stephen Lord has become music director of Opera Maine, adding to his roles as principal conductor of Lord Michigan Opera Theatre and music director emeritus of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Charles MacKay, general director of The Santa Fe Opera since 2008, has announced that he intends McKaey to leave the company after its 2018 season. MacKay is a board member of OPERA America and previously served as its chairman. Nickel City Opera has named Matthias Manasi as its new music director. Tim McKeough, formerly public relations director for the Sydney Theatre Company, has been named the Metropolitan Opera’s new press director. Eugene Opera has appointed Erika Rauer to the newly created post of executive director. Rauer Rauer was previously program director of the Community Arts Collaborative at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, and director of education at New York City Opera. Andrew Bisantz, formerly the company’s music director, has been named artistic director. (See “A Second Act,” page 6.) Nigel Redden has stepped down from his post as director of the Lincoln Center Festival after nearly 20 years in the position. He continues as general director of the Spoleto Festival USA. Hawaii Opera Theatre has hired Rob Reynolds, formerly associate technical director for Seattle Opera, as its new director of production.


Opera Memphis has appointed Michael Sakir as its new music director, replacing Benjamin Makino.

Mary Ladish Selander has moved from director of development at Lyric Opera of Chicago to senior philanthropic advisor. Michael Solomon, formerly senior press representative at Washington National Opera, has joined Austin Opera as director of audience experience. The newly created position is funded in part by an Innovation Grant from OPERA America. Chad Whittington has been named president and CEO of the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts, which comprises Opera Columbus and six other cultural organizations. Lidiya Yankovskaya has been appointed music director of Chicago Opera Theater and will begin Yankovskaya conducting regularly for the company in its 2018–2019 season. (See “Out of Russia,” page 14.)

KUDOS Annie Burridge, general director and CEO Austin Opera, was selected as one of 15 nonprofit leaders Burridge to take part in the Aspen Institute’s American Express Leadership Academy, a weeklong program that focuses on the broad values — such as freedom, equality, justice and community — that inform an effective leader’s work. Burridge previously participated in OPERA America’s 2012 Leadership Intensive. The Dallas Opera named soprano Marina CostaJackson, Adalgisa in the company’s Norma last Costa-Jackson spring¸ as its Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year. John Estacio, composer of the operas Lillian Alling, Frobisher and Filumena, received a Distinguished Estacio Artist Award from the lieutenant governor of Alberta, Canada.

Dario Acosta (Auguin), Tarja Tupparainen (Hiltunen), John Robinson (Krisel), Larynx Photography (Lord), Chris Corrie (MacKay), Joanne Bouknight (Rauer), Joey Miller (Sakir), Kate Lemmon (Yankovskaya), Paul Sirochman (Burridge), Suzanne Vinnik (Costa-Jackson), Wade Kelly (Estacio)


The Flying Dutchman Wagner

Nov 4, 7, 10, 12, 2017


Cobb Energy Centre



A new production Conductor Arthur Fagen Director Tomer Zvulun Set & Costume Designs Jacob A. Climer Projections S. Katy Tucker Co-production The Atlanta opera, Houston Grand Opera, & Cincinnati Opera The Dutchman Wayne Tigges Senta Melody Moore Erik jay Hunter Morris Daland Kristinn sigmundsson


The Dallas Opera announced the participants in this year’s Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors and Administrators, to be held over two weeks in November. The inaugural class of administrators, all of them American, consists of Anh Le (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis), Stefanie Mercier (Washington National Opera), Sara Noble (Chautauqua Opera and Opera on Tap) and Jennifer Rivera (Long Beach Opera). The six women in the third annual conductors’ residency, hailing from Europe, South America and Australia, as well as the United States, are Alba Bomfim, Mélisse Brunet, Lina Gonzalez-Granados, Karin Hendrickson, Carolyn Watson and Monika Wolinska. American Opera Projects, through its Composers and the Voice program, has awarded two-year fellowships to nine opera creators: composers Matthew Browne, Scott Ordway, Frances Pollock, Pamela Stein Lynde, Liliya Ugay and Amber Vistein, and librettists Laura Barati, Kim Davies and Sokunthary Svay. They will develop new works in collaboration with AOP’s resident signers and artistic team, while attending workshops and receiving mentorship from established opera creators.

CO R R E C T I O N On page 19 of the summer issue, the article “An App for That” stated that “many InstantEncore products have similar download rates” to the app the company developed for the Prototype Festival. This statement refers only to apps developed for smaller opera organizations, not to InstantEncore apps in general. 12  O P E R A A M E R I C A

IN MEMORIAM The Czech conductor Jiří Bělohlávek, renowned for his performances of works by Dvořák, Janáček and Martinů, died on May 31 at age 71. He worked with the leading musical institutions in his home country and appeared at Covent Garden, Glyndebourne and the Paris Opera. He made his Met debut in 2004 with Kát’a Kabanová, going on to lead performances of Jenůfa, The Makropulos Case, Rusalka and Eugene Onegin. The opera and theater director Lee Blakeley died on August 5 at age 45. After studying Blakeley at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and at the University of Glasgow, Blakely arrived on the scene in 2001 with a production of Handel’s cantata Clori, Tirsi and Fileno, staged at London’s gay nightclub Heaven, and went on to direct operas at the Royal Opera House, Wexford Festival and Scottish Opera. In North America he worked with Canadian Opera Company, Los Angeles Opera and most frequently with The Santa Fe Opera, where he staged four productions between 2010 and 2015. He directed twice at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, most recently the 2016 production of Macbeth. Philip Gossett, a leading scholar of 19th-century Italian opera, died on June 12 at age 75. Gossett The editor of numerous critical editions of operas by Rossini and Verdi, Gossett served on the faculty of the University of Chicago for more than four decades. He was instrumental in reviving interest in Rossini’s lesser-known operas and reconstructed some long-lost works from archival sources, including Il viaggio a Reims, which had its triumphant modern premiere at Pesaro’s Rossini Opera Festival in 1984. Joan Krueger, a vocal coach and collaborative pianist, died on June 18 at age 64. Krueger taught at SUNY Purchase while maintaining a private coaching studio in New York City.

The opera director Dejan Miladinović died on August 1 at age 68. Miladinović held director positions at two national theaters in his native Serbia. In North America he directed productions for The Atlanta Opera, The Dallas Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Seattle Opera, Florentine Opera Company and Vancouver Opera. Miladinović was also director of opera at both University of Southern California and Southern Methodist University. The soprano and vocal teacher Claudia Pinza, daughter of the bass Ezio Pinza, died on August 3 Pinza at age 92. Pinza made her professional debut at age 18 at La Scala, appearing over the next 15 years on European and American stages, including the Met. She joined the vocal staff of the University of Pittsburgh in 1979 and went on to teach there for nearly four decades. In 1981, she founded the Pinza Council for American Singers of Opera in Oderzo, Italy. The English conductor Jeffrey Tate died on June 2 at age 74. Tate initially studied Tate medicine at Cambridge before pursuing conducting under the tutelage of Georg Solti. He made his conducting debut in 1978 and two years later debuted at the Met with Lulu, stepping in for James Levine with only three hours’ notice. Tate held principal conducting posts at the English Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Opera at Covent Garden, the Rotterdam Philharmonic and the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra. He was closely associated with the works of Wagner, leading some 20 Ring cycles at houses around the world. Bruce Zemsky, senior partner (with Alan Green) of Zemsky/ Green Artists Management, died on August 6 at age 62. Over the course of his career, which started at Columbia Artists Management, Zemsky worked with Anja Harteros, Gwyneth Jones, Jonas Kaufmann, Erwin Schrott, Veronica Villarroel, Eva Maria Westbroek and Pretty Yende, among many others.

Marylene Mey (Mazzoli), Ricardo Beas (Vavrek), Roy Tan (Blakeley), Dan Dry (Gossett), Courtesy of Rolando Bozzolla (Pinza), Erika Davidson (Tate)

The Music Critics Association of North America gave its first-ever Best New Mazzoli Opera Award to composer Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek for Breaking the Waves. The work, Vavrek a co-commission from Beth Morrison Projects and Opera Philadelphia, premiered in Philadelphia last fall.

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OUT of RUSSIA A Conversation With


Lidiya Yankovskaya, the newly named music director of Chicago Opera Theater, has built an imposing reputation in opera and new music. Her schedule includes symphonic and opera assignments across the country. She serves as artistic director of the Juventas New Music Ensemble and music director of Commonwealth Lyric Theater. Born in Russia and raised in the U.S., Yankovskaya took part in the 2015 inaugural residency program of the Dallas Opera’s Hart Institute for Women Conductors. Here she chats with OPERA America President/CEO Marc A. Scorca about her life and career, and the challenge of developing new audiences for opera.

SCORCA: Let’s start at the beginning: Who brought you to your first opera? YANKOVSKAYA: My mother. She took me to operas and ballets from before I can remember. She absolutely loves the opera, and she studied music seriously as a pianist and a singer when she was a child herself. Now when I conduct Mozart or Puccini, my mother will sing all of the arias at me in Russian, which is hilarious. The first opera that I remember is Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges, which I saw at the Mariinsky when I was maybe four or five. I remember very vividly the singers and the crazy costumes, and going down toward the pit and seeing all of the instrumentalists, and just how exciting that was.

Kate Lemmon

How old were you when you came to the U.S.? We came here when I was nine, as refugees. Russia was falling apart economically and politically in the 1990s and there was an incredible amount of anti-Semitism. Fortunately, we already had some family in the States and were able to immigrate. There’s been a lot of musical variety in your life — piano, violin, voice. I started out as a pianist and also sang in the St. Petersburg Children’s Choir of Radio and Television. We went to twohour rehearsals three times a week. I started when I was five, and even at that

age, you had to sight-read just to get in. When we moved to the States, I added the violin to the piano so that I could regularly perform in orchestras. When I was 17, I won my high school’s concerto competition with a Mozart piano concerto. The conductor encouraged me to lead rehearsals from the piano, and later invited me to conduct a movement of one of Dvořák’s symphonies. Of course, I did not yet really know what I was doing, but I absolutely fell in love with conducting. What did you study at Vassar College? I devoted most of my time to piano, voice and conducting. I also played violin, but not that seriously: I wanted to focus on other things. The wonderful thing about Vassar is that, while it has an amazing music faculty, it’s also a liberal arts institution that gave me a really wellrounded education. I was able to study languages, philosophy, psychology — all the things that go into conducting — in addition to music. I never pursued singing professionally but I felt it was very important to study it if I wanted to go into opera. And I ran my own ensemble, of about 55 instrumentalists and 30 singers, that would do performances of contemporary works several times a year. You’ve always had an entrepreneurial streak.

Yes, I don’t like to be idle! I love to always be working on new and exciting projects, and if they don’t come my way then I make them happen. How can we grow as artists if we don’t create something interesting and new? Was opera a goal for you from the very beginning? I have always loved opera, but when I started out in college, I still thought that I might end up becoming a pianist. In my junior year, though, I learned the Rachmaninoff second piano concerto, and it took so many endless hours, alone in a practice room, that I realized this wasn’t for me. But opera is the most collaborative of the musical art forms. It was exciting for me to be with other people — not just instrumentalists and singers, but also set designers and directors and stage managers and producers. Tell me about your work with the Juventas New Music Ensemble in Boston. I joined the organization about five years into its existence as an associate conductor, and then became music director. At the time, it was a conglomerate of emerging composers and performers coming together to play chamber concerts of new work. It’s difficult to find an audience for those kinds of performances: The early audiences were generally people with personal connections to the composers. When I became artistic director, I started changing the format and focusing on really collaborative presentations. We’ve done concerts that feature robotic instruments. We’ve had puppeteers and circus artists — a recent performance featured aerialists. It has brought people from all walks of life into our performances, and it’s gotten them excited. At OPERA America’s annual conference last May, you talked about opera becoming truly universal, about it being exciting and relevant. To me, opera is a living art form, and in a sense, it’s already universal, but not everyone realizes this. I think it’s very important for us to break preconceptions that people have about opera, and to make sure that they understand opera can be relevant to our world and our society and to everything around us. At Juventas, we did a piece where the audience downloaded a program onto their cellphones that allowed them to F A L L 2 0 1 7   15

to our nation?” So many of us don’t talk about our experiences, but refugees from all backgrounds have contributed to our culture. Irving Berlin was a refugee, and he wrote “God Bless America”!

Would you want a perfect robotic sound in Lucia di Lammermoor? Robots are not anywhere near the point of emulating the sound of the human voice, and likely never will be. The possibilities are limitless as to how a voice can sound and what a musician can do on the spot with a given piece of music: how a phrase is shaped, how text is delivered, what the vocal color is. It’s those limitless possibilities that make going to a performance really exciting, even if it’s an opera we know really well. You’ve always had a mix of symphony and opera work in your portfolio. Do you anticipate continuing that mix? Yes. I find it very rewarding to move from opera to the symphonic context and just focus on perfecting the sound of the orchestra. That’s part of my job in opera, but there are so many other things I have to deal with there: singers and scenic elements and language. But it is important for any symphonic conductor to also have experience in opera, because so many of the symphonic composers of old were also opera composers, and so much of the way we approach music in general comes from the voice. The drama is there in purely symphonic music, even though you don’t see it directly on the stage. 16  O P E R A A M E R I C A

You were part of the first class of The Dallas Opera’s Hart Institute for Women Conductors. Was it helpful to get focused, advanced professional development in a gender-specific setting? It was incredibly helpful. The participants in the institute were amazing women from all over the world. Some have worked mostly in the symphonic world; some have been prompters at major houses in Europe and elsewhere; some come from a coaching background; some are music directors of opera houses abroad. As conductors, we’re often islands unto ourselves, because there’s only one conductor in any production. So it’s rare for me to encounter women who do what I am doing, who are following a similar path to mine. Tell me about your Refugee Orchestra Project. My family never talked much about our refugee status. When you leave a country as a refugee, you just want to leave it behind. But I was in Germany when the refugee crisis hit a few years ago, and I was amazed by how many people were welcoming refugees into their homes. I realized I would not be where I am today if I had not been able to come to this country as a refugee. In Russia, there were quotas on the number of Jews who could get into conservatories, but here I could pursue the highest level of education. I’m not a politician; I’m not someone who has experience as an activist; but when I saw how much hostility there was in response to the refugee crisis, I thought, “What can I do? How can I get people to recognize the importance of welcoming refugees

Chicago Opera Theater has a rich history in Baroque opera and American opera. What will your focus be? Because we are an American opera company, I think it is essential for us to do American opera. But there are so many other exciting things we can do. Certain kinds of German and French operas. COT has done very little Russian repertoire and no Spanish-language operas. So I’m hoping we bring a variety of styles to Chicago’s audiences. What part of Chicago Opera Theater represents the greatest opportunity for you to grow in your career? With smaller organizations, I was often responsible for aspects that were totally non-musical. Now, I’ll be working with Doug Clayton, the executive director. And it’s already been exhilarating to work with the staff as we talk about repertoire, and ways to move the company forward and engage the community. Of course, I’ll have the opportunity to oversee bigger productions with a bigger budget than what I’ve generally had access to so far and to bring in top-quality talent from all over the world. I have to say that again I am so excited for this opportunity. I’m thrilled to continue to be part of the field of opera in the U.S.

Karen Almond/Dallas Opera

participate in the music-making. We worked with Scott Barton, a composer at the robotics lab at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He makes instruments that not only can perform music; they can be programmed to interact with live performers.

Yes, absolutely. So I came together with some of my fellow musicians and arts administrators, and we put together a fundraising concert in Boston showcasing music by refugee composers, with refugee musicians performing. We initially intended to give one concert, but it was so successful that we were immediately invited to do another one in New York. In the span of just over a year, we’ve now done four different concerts. They’ve been streamed over social media, and one of the videos has gotten over 100,000 views from around the world. I think even among liberals there’s often this view that refugees are very much the other. “We’ll be nice and welcoming, but this could never happen to us.” It’s very dangerous for us to see it as “us and them,” and that’s one of the things that I hope our project can help break down.

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C H I L D ’ P L

A BU M PE R C ROP OF N E W WOR K br ings grow nup c reat iv it y to OPE R A S FOR C H I LDR E N .



The Little Prince at Houston Grand Opera in 2015

Lynn Lane


peras commissioned for children have long lived in a kind of ghetto. However well-suited they may have been for in-school performances, they have seldom been seen as part of the operatic mainstream. A handful of well-received entries, like Tobias Picker’s 1998 Fantastic Mr. Fox and Rachel Portman’s 2003 The Little Prince, may have demonstrated the value of making serious works for children, but companies and creators have seemed reluctant to follow suit. “There’s a lot of opera for children, but there’s certainly not enough good opera,” says Kip Cranna, dramaturg at San Francisco Opera. That is, until recently. Some of opera’s most prominent composers are now applying their skills toward children’s opera. Among the six projects recently awarded Commissioning Grants from OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Female Composers (see page 36), two of them — Paola Prestini and Mark Campbell’s The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and Rachel J. Peters’ Rootabaga Country — fall into the category. Gregory Spears and Kathryn Walat’s Jason and the Argonauts premiered last year under the aegis of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Lyric Unlimited initiative, garnering solid reviews and enough eager ticket buyers to fuel 30 performances at various area venues. In May, seven American companies, led by The Santa Fe Opera, announced the consortium Opera for All Voices, with the specific aim of commissioning composers and librettists, associated with adult music, to create new material aimed at audiences of all ages. (The consortium is funded, in part, by an Innovation Grant from OPERA America.) The first two commissions went to Grammywinning composer Augusta Read Thomas, working with librettist Jason Kim; and to composer Laura Kaminsky, who is paired with librettist Kimberly Reed. (Kaminsky and Reed are part of the creative team behind As One, possibly the most-produced chamber opera of the last decade.) Andrea Fellows Walters, Santa Fe Opera’s director of education programming, says that the initiative aims to offer opera-going children “magnificent art-making” that stands on its own, rather than being “a diluted or diffused experience.” The “diluted experience” she cites is the practice of introducing young audiences to opera through potted versions of standard-rep blockbusters. The limitations of the ploy are obvious: It carries a tinge of classical culture foisted on unsuspecting charges. Moreover, young audiences won’t necessarily have the tools to interpret

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Carmen or The Marriage of Figaro. Adults can put depictions of misogyny or class conflict in their historical contexts, but kids can’t. “By and large, these pieces were not written for children, and often they deal with social mores that are difficult for children to imagine or connect to,” says Cayenne Harris, director of Lyric Unlimited. The prospect of speaking directly to kids was one reason that Spears, composer of the distinctly R-rated Fellow Travelers, eagerly accepted the assignment to write his children’s opera, seeing an opportunity to get young people excited about the kind of music he himself loves. He wanted to give them something fresh and created just for them (while introducing the Justin Bieber set to live, unamplified performers). “With kids, you really have a chance to make a new case for opera, rather than trying to overwrite some preconceived notion of it,” he says. Spears and librettist Kathryn Walat came up with a piece that connected classical traditions with contemporary topics. They picked the story of Jason and the Argonauts because it was an ancient myth, a standard source for opera, but also provided a way to connect audiences to issues of nature and the environment. Moreover, it was full of the kind of larger-than-life heroes that kids like in their entertainment. As they put the piece together, they kept their target audience in constant focus. They made the pace quick and the action clear so emerging minds wouldn’t get lost on that search for the Golden Fleece. “We don’t have internal monologues,” Spears says. “When people say they’re going to do something, they go and do it.” One priority was the need to make everything understood. Supertitles weren’t an option: Not only do reading levels vary widely among the seven- to twelveyear-old target audience, but the production had to be 20  O P E R A A M E R I C A 20  O P E R A A M E R I C A

portable, moving from venue to venue across Chicago. The performers worked hard on diction. “It becomes a really great experience for the children because they have to listen intently,” says Harris. “They’re very invested in what’s happening onstage.” Spears describes the musical score he prepared for youthful ears in various ways: “lighter and bouncy,” but still challenging to the performers. “It has a sort of pulse. There’s an importance of the phrase. It’s tonal. But I also wanted it to be virtuosic.” The violin parts are particularly difficult. “Kids like daring feats,” he says. Before Jason and the Argonauts took final shape, it went through a series of preview performances and feedback sessions with the children of Lyric Opera employees. The kids commented frankly on what they liked — and what they didn’t. “Children are really the toughest audience a human will ever perform for,” notes Harris. The creators took note of the criticisms and shaped the final result accordingly — a process that added significantly to the success of the piece. While children’s opera often mixes dialogue with song, Jason was completely sung-through: an element that pleases Harris, because it’s truer to the traditional form. But she doesn’t plan to impose any rules on future Lyric Unlimited commissions. The Opera for All Voices consortium is taking a similarly open-minded strategy.

“C H I LDR E N A R E the toughest audienc e A H U M A N WI LL E V E R PE R FO R M FO R .”

“We’re open to a broad definition of what constitutes an opera,” says San Francisco Opera’s Cranna, the head of the jury for future commissions. “Quite likely there will be spoken parts or danced parts or times when there’s no music at all.” One avenue the consortium is exploring is the idea of bringing social justice issues — immigration, gender and ethnic identity — into the works it will sponsor. Still, the main intent is to engage the audience. “We’re not trying to beat you over the head with deadly earnest social relevance,” says Cranna. “We’re hoping for a little sense of fun along the way.” The major impetus behind Minnesota Opera’s The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane commission is the desire to stage a piece that will appeal to all ages. But its story, based on the best-selling children’s novel by Minnesota author Kate DiCamillo, nonetheless addresses issues of diversity and tolerance. The title character, a snobbish china-doll rabbit, gets discarded by the upper-class family that owns him and has to learn how to adapt to a

Todd Rosenberg

Watching Lyric Unlimited’s Jason and the Argonauts

Shervin Lainez, Todd Rosenberg, Tine Poppe

series of significantly more modest households, finding that true happiness comes from the acceptance of their differences. “We’re making something that’s familyfriendly, while being perfectly in keeping with our goal of bringing diversity to the arts,” says Ryan Taylor, the company’s general director. Taylor fully expects the piece to appeal to youngsters and adults alike: The DiCamillo novel itself is one of those children’s books, like the Harry Potter novels, that adults can take pleasure in reading. But whenever creators aim to write specifically for children, they have to address the question: Which children? “It’s all a little tricky because the development of a child is different at age three, from age five or age ten,” says Harris. “Even if we say that a piece is appropriate for children ages eight through twelve, people will still come with infants or their spectacularly brilliant four-year-old. So, you are always trying to find something that’s going to connect with a broad range of ages and experiences.” The Norwegian ensemble Dieserud/Lindgren takes an extreme approach to age targeting: Its “baby operas” are aimed at children ages zero to three. The company, which performs throughout Europe, made its American debut this April under the auspices of San Francisco Opera, in a soldout run of its opera Up in the Mountains. The performances took place in a tent holding roughly 45 people erected at the Veteran’s Building, near the War Memorial Opera House, the close proximity of the performers creating a visceral connection to the pint-sized audience members. After the 20-minute performances the kids were allowed to romp around the tent, using props from the show. Dieserud/Lindgren’s operas — which are composed, not improvisational — feature one or two performers portraying dragons or fairytale characters. They move around the tent, often on their knees, combining their own vocal noises with others they create via sound-making equipment. They may use actual linguistic words, or not. Things move quickly and energetically while audience members crawl around or sit on caretakers’ laps. “The children do actually have an art experience,” says the company’s co-director, Christina Lindgren. “They’re experiencing something extraordinary — not everyday. It’s not learning, it’s not playing — and it’s not watching television or the internet. It’s art.” The new “family-friendly” opera Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt, debuting in September under the auspices of New York’s On Site Opera, is similarly short. The work, with music by John Musto and a libretto by On Site’s general and artistic director, Eric Einhorn, will be staged in the Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History, and the audience will stand throughout. “The length of the piece is reflective of everyone’s attention span, and how long it’s comfortable to stand,” Einhorn says. The opera — based on the childhood museum-going experiences of Rhoda Knight Kalt, granddaughter of naturalist artist Charles R. Knight — is targeted at kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. But Einhorn says Musto’s music is deliberately “not elementary,” but instead “textured, clear and evocative, like his adult operas.” No question that part of the impetus behind creating operas for children is the hope of developing new audiences for the art form. “These experiences can act as the gateway for everything else,” says Einhorn. “It could be that the kids

From top: Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt; Jason and the Argonauts; and Up in the Mountains

and their parents who see Rhoda will then want to go to a matinee at the Met. Or maybe they’ve already seen The Magic Flute there, which is why they’re interested in seeing Rhoda. It all feeds into the machine.” But future effects aside, the greatest value these operas offer occurs in the here and now. By giving young audiences the respect they deserve, the works elevate the art form as a whole. In the words of Lyric Unlimited’s Cayenne Harris: “There’s something about creating work specifically for children — speaking to their intelligence, their curiosity and their openness to learning — that’s really, really powerful.” Ray Mark Rinaldi is a veteran arts writer and critic based in Denver. His writing has appeared in Opera News, Chamber Music, Inside Arts and the Denver Post. F A L L 2 0 1 7   21 F A L L 2 0 1 7   21







Nine Tips for Making BY DAN COOPERMAN

It happens all too frequently. A highprospect donor calls in with a question for her giving officer — a development staffer or the department director herself. But the person on the other end of the phone is forced to say: “I’m afraid she’s no longer working for us. How can we help?” Staff turnover in opera fundraising is real, and it’s alarming. The skills of development professionals, as much as they may be valued by opera companies, are also highly transferrable: not just in the performing arts, but also across the nonprofit spectrum. The U.S. nonprofit sector has ballooned in recent decades — from 300,000 organizations in 1970 22  O P E R A A M E R I C A

Development Staff Adhere to 1.6 million in 2013 — but the pool of skilled fundraisers has not kept pace. “The need for fundraisers far outstrips the supply,” says nonprofit consultant Penelope Burk, author of Donor-Centered Leadership. “It puts a lot of power in the hands of the practitioner.” In other words, development people are highly poachable. But keeping them on board is a matter of critical importance. Considering the role that contributed revenue plays in opera — in some cases, as high as 78 percent of the budget — the relationships that a company forges with its donors are crucial to its survival. Frequent shifts in development staff can strain those ties to the breaking point. The figures can be discouraging. In OPERA America’s 2016 Development Benchmarking Study, companies reported an annual turnover rate in fundraising departments of 30 percent.

Hiring a replacement took, on average, two or three months, with some positions remaining unfilled for six months or more. Another complication is that opera development staffers skew young: A full 30 percent of them are under 30. According to Burk, the average fundraiser stays two and a half years in a position, and the average tenure drops to a mere 16 months among the under-30 set. Those short stays are especially disheartening when you take into account the learning curve for development jobs: It generally takes from 10 months to a year for a development person to feel confident in her position. This means that opera companies are getting on average just four to six months of full-capacity work from the younger members of their development teams. Turnover is costly; in fact, Burk





estimates the cost of a nonmanagement staff departure as 120 percent of the person’s salary. That figure includes vacation payout, fees for posting the position or hiring a recruiter, potential head-hunting expenses and, most significantly, the “productivity gap”: Throughout the whole period in which the departing staff member winds down her efforts, the manager concentrates on making a new hire; subsequently, while the new team member begins training, the development department loses out on valuable donor-interface time. Worse still: When their relationships with their giving officers are severed, roughly 25 percent of donors make smaller gifts, delay their contributions or stop giving altogether. But although the issue of staff retention can be fraught, it isn’t hopeless. Successful development officers have uncovered key tactics that promote staff retention. Here are some key recommendations for keeping staffers in place.




It’s perhaps not surprising that salary is often a leading reason why development staff move on. Factors like student loans and the rising costs of living in metropolitan areas only add to the appeal that a larger paycheck offers. An opera company will almost definitely not have the resources to compete with the salaries offered by deep-pocketed hospitals or universities, but it should certainly try to maintain parity with other local arts organizations. “If you look at the Association of Fundraising Professionals [AFP] salary grid, you’ve got a high, medium and low range,” says Burk. “If you’re below that range, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.” Greg Robertson, chief advancement officer at Houston Grand Opera, recommends open conversations with colleagues at other local arts institutions to gauge the going rates for development personnel. Meanwhile, both the AFP and OPERA America offer salary analysis. Even though it may not seem possible to add money to a tight budget for the purpose of raising salaries, Robertson argues that it’s an essential step toward good financial health. “As a field, we underinvest in fundraising staff,” he says, “but the only way to grow these days is through contributed support. And that requires staff.”

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2 3

LET THEM SUCCEED In order to hold on to staffers, you have to set them up for success. When HGO’s Robertson welcomes new staff members into his department, he makes sure they know their worth. “I tell them, ‘You never have to interview for your job again,’” he says. “‘If we could have raised all of the money we needed without you, we would have. But we can’t.’” A big part of the battle is managing expectations: your own, and your organization’s. Emma Dunch, an artsmanagement consultant and recruiter, notes that no single hire will act as a “magic wand.” Instead of waiting for the magic to happen, a manager has to keep goals and priorities well-defined. Are the tasks reasonable and pragmatic, given the time and resources available? Are expectations clear and shared?

24  O P E R A A M E R I C A

MANAGE WELL An employee’s relationship with her management can be as critical as salary in the decision about whether to stay or go. A development director (or a one-person development department) needs to feel the support of her superiors. If leadership and trustees seem to be continually wondering whether someone else could do the job better, they are in effect pushing the present director out the revolving door. When it comes to managing staffers, a key consideration is respecting their time — which may be the scarcest commodity of all. “None of us has more than 24 hours in a day,” Burk says. She notes a study of fundraisers reporting that nearly a third of their working hours were taken up with meetings. “Most people would be hard-pressed to identify a positive result from a meeting, like a decision that led to something important,” she says. “Managers call meetings as a way to supervise the people who work for them, but it’s a poor way to supervise. When you call five people into a meeting for an hour, you’ve lost five work hours.” That wasted time not only affects productivity, but it can take a toll on employee morale.

4 BE A MENTOR Like professionals in any category, development staffers are looking to build the skills that will enable them to sustain a career. It’s one thing to tell a staff member what he needs to do to accomplish the company’s goals; it’s another to help him achieve his own goals in the process. But a manager who acknowledges this basic professional need will build loyalty among his staffers. Mentorship at HGO’s development department starts the first week on the job. Robertson sends his staffers out on donor

visits almost immediately, coaching them through the whole process — and allowing them to make mistakes. “Donors understand when mistakes are made,” says Sneja Tomassian, Cincinnati Opera’s director of development. “Most of the time they laugh and say, ‘Yeah, that’s necessary to grow.’” The mentorship role may well include an acknowledgment that the employee isn’t bound to the company for life. “We tell people, ‘We’re going to make an investment in your professional skills,’” Robertson says. “‘We’re going to invest in your training. We’re going to do one-on-one work with you. We’re going to do whatever we think we can do to make you a successful development professional. And hopefully that will be here at HGO.’” As much as you want to minimize turnover, it also pays to acknowledge that your staffers’ professional paths may one day lead them out the door. In fact, furthering their long-term career goals may be a good way of avoiding too-hasty departures. Lisa Bury, development director at Seattle Opera, encourages employees to discuss their next steps with her. “But you have to be willing to hear me say that I believe it’s too soon,” she says. “I may say, ‘These are things you still need to work on, and this is how you can do it here.’”


Don’t look at professional development as a perk, but as an essential tool — one that will benefit the company as much as the staffer himself. Conferences — like OPERA America’s Opera Conference, the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ International Fundraising Conference and the Tessitura Learning and Community Conference — offer some of the most all-encompassing chances for staffers to expand their professional horizons, exposing them to best practices in areas like major gifts, planned giving, special events and grantwriting. True, when you figure in the costs involved — conference fees, airfare, hotels and meals, not to mention lost time at the office — they’re expensive propositions. But as learning opportunities, they’re hard to beat. Meanwhile, sending a staffer to a conference is an unmistakable vote of confidence. For this reason, Cincinnati Opera’s Tomassian gives one or two staff members a chance to attend the Opera Conference before she herself takes a spot. “We give them opportunities to improve their lives and professional growth,” she says. “When companies make people sit in front of their computers all the time, they lose staff.” Regional AFP chapters and other service organizations may provide less expensive learning opportunities, as well as let staffers build networks with local peers. Meanwhile, some companies offer their own professionaldevelopment sessions. Seattle Opera’s Bury brings in local speakers to lead sessions that help staffers identify their core strengths. Robertson heads up his own group sessions in fundraising skills — how to get an appointment, how to lead into an “ask” — augmenting them with one-on-one coachings.


MAKE IT A TEAM SPORT Fundraising should be a full-company effort. When a box-office manager facilitates a gift, a production team member leads a backstage tour or a trustee asks a major donor out to dinner, it’s a sign to development personnel that the entire company takes responsibility for cultivating donations. But if fundraisers feel like the entire duty is on their shoulders, it will lead to stress and burnout. Needless to say, a company-wide commitment to philanthropy needs allout support from above. Seattle Opera has gone so far as to issue an official “Culture of Philanthropy” statement, requiring “everyone — board members, volunteers and staff in all departments at all levels” to “act as ambassadors for the company.” Meanwhile, fundraisers can have a huge impact by learning to “manage up”: keeping the lines of communication open to board members, general directors and colleagues in other departments, letting them know the ways that they are needed to support development efforts.

LOYALT Y BUIL DERS Long-term development staffers list the elements that keep them on board

89% 68% 67% 64% 56% 55%

Commitment to the mission

Inclusion in decision-making

A highperformance team

A boss who values employees’ decisions

A workplace culture of support for fundraising

Ability to balance work with personal and family needs

Figures courtesy of Cygnus Applied Research F A L L 2 0 1 7   25


SET A PLACE AT THE TABLE The company should never look at its development department as a kind of cash machine: a source of funds with no say in strategy. Instead, it should show that it values the input of the team by involving them in decision-making and strategy. This is especially important in the budgeting process: If fundraising goals are set solely from without — by the general director and board without input from the development staff — it’s bound to create unrealistic expectations and pave the way to failure. Tomassian sits on Cincinnati Opera’s artistic planning committee, bringing to its meetings the input she has gathered from her staff. “We aren’t made to feel like someone is imposing decisions on us and making us scramble,” she says. “When Evans [Mirageas, artistic director] comes back to me and says, ‘Raise $1 million because I want to do this show,’ I understand how that fits in the artistic and strategic priorities of the company. It’s easier for us to go back and strategize.”





According to Burk’s research, an overwhelming majority of development staff cite their commitment to the organization’s mission as a reason for sticking with a position. In opera, this is a factor that can never be assumed, but must often be cultivated: According to OPERA America’s benchmarking study, fully 41 percent of the industry’s fundraisers assume their positions with little prior knowledge of opera. This is hardly a deal-breaker: As Penelope Burk notes, “A hundred percent of the fundraisers hired to work for the chief of neuroscience at your local hospital have never done brain surgery.” An ability to learn on the job is part of the skill set of a gifted development person. To this end, Robertson leads a mini course on opera for his staff, using HGO’s upcoming repertoire as a starting point. At Cincinnati Opera, all employees get two free tickets to each production. But in addition, Tomassian encourages her staff to visit other companies to see new work and pick up ideas. When a couple of her staffers drove to Philadelphia for the world-premiere run of Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves, she let the company pay for their tickets and lodging. “It had a true connection to what we do,” she says. “Cincinnati Opera is known for its commitment to new work, and in fact next season we’re doing Mazzoli’s Song from the Uproar. It gave them a sense that they’re part of the decision-making and the future of the company.”

The nonprofit sector is notorious for its long hours. In opera fundraising, not only is the office work tough and demanding, but staffers are often expected to spend their evenings at performances. It’s a formula for burnout. That’s why savvy managers put a premium on work/life balance, keeping an eye out for staff exhaustion, and taking steps to counteract it. “When you’re exhausted, you’re not very interesting,” says Lisa Bury. “Donors want and deserve to talk to interesting people.” Andrew Morgan, deputy director of development at San Francisco Opera, makes sure that staffers know they don’t have to attend performances unless their presence is required. If a staffer does need to stay out late, he’ll encourage her to take her time coming in the next morning. Many companies allow their staff flexible schedules, remote hours and comp time. “At Cincinnati Opera, as long as your tasks are completed, you can take any time you need to take,” says Tomassian. “Honestly,

the policy obligates us to work better.” One way the company demonstrates its respect for work/life balance is by closing its offices between Christmas and New Year’s as a gift to the staff. Greg Robertson prefers not to talk about “balance” so much as “work/life integration”: a concept that brings with it a high degree of flexibility. “Realistically, if I have a sick child during the workday, I have to deal with that,” he says. “But if a donor calls me late at night, I need to talk to them. It’s not about compartmentalizing; it’s about integrating.” “Flexibility is as important as salary, if not more so,” says Burk. “The role of management isn’t overseeing whether someone’s sitting in the office, but overseeing the fundraising strategy and seeing whether it’s being reached. Supervision? Yes, or you aren’t doing the job of a manager. But the employee should have as much flexibility as possible to get the job done.”

Dan Cooperman is OPERA America’s director of development and membership. 26  O P E R A A M E R I C A

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MEET Marketers from seven American compa nies e xch a nge ide a s on at t r a c t i n g n e w o p e r a g o e r s . 28  O P E R A A M E R I C A




tudies of web-browsing habits. Surveys that not only measure satisfaction, but predict future behavior. Analyses of credit card transactions for demographics and spending habits. These market research techniques, traditionally employed by consumer goods companies, are increasingly making their way into the marketing arsenals of opera companies. This past March, when marketing executives from seven major American opera companies gathered to share findings at a meeting at OPERA America’s National Opera Center, they brought with them statistics generated through the same techniques that for-profit corporations use to gauge their markets. Four of these companies are part of the Wallace Foundation’s national initiative Building Audiences for Sustainability, while the other three have elected to build their research capacity independently. This kind of data mining is becoming increasingly essential as the very structure of opera marketing changes. At one time, full-season subscriptions were the foundation of companies’ earned revenue. Audience growth and retention were perennial challenges, but advertising and direct-mail marketing reliably recruited new season-ticket buyers. Demographic and social changes — along with increased competition for time, attention and money — have led marketers to put increasing focus on single-ticket sales. Using sophisticated yield-management software, they have maximized revenue for each seat through targeted marketing and select discounts. It remains imperative, though, to recruit new audiences — not just in the short term, but over the next generation. It’s a task that requires new tools and techniques.

While the companies at the marketing summit — convened by OPERA America with support from the Wallace Foundation — are all nationally and internationally prominent, the fundamentals of their histories, demographics, venue capacities, season structures, pricing, number of productions and performances, and budgets vary widely. So, too, do their methodologies for collecting and analyzing marketing data. Some use in-house resources; others partner with outside market research firms. But their confidential sharing of information revealed a multitude of commonalities. A chief concern shared by all is what one company called the “audience spiral.” As subscription sales decline and companies reallocate marketing dollars and special promotions toward single-ticket sales, the value proposition of subscriptions can erode. (Why commit in advance if I may get better seats, potentially at a lower price, if I wait?) But even when you factor in mini-subscriptions and single-ticket sales, the simple fact remains that people aren’t attending as often.


t the same time, there are encouraging signs. Some participants reported record numbers of firsttime attendees in recent seasons. Others are serving more households than ever before. These figures indicate that focused investments in new-audience development can pay off in the long run. Nonetheless, prospective audiences require a committed and constant process of identification, communication, cultivation and, most of all, patience. Data presented at the marketing gathering consistently showed that the faster a company can get first-time buyers back for a second performance, the more likely it is to achieve long-term retention. Although only about 20 percent of these attendees return in the following year, the decrease slows in successive years, resulting in a cumulative long-term retention rate approaching 15 percent. Some of this contingent remain single ticket-buyers; others convert to subscriptions. Marketers regularly analyze the mix of repertoire in each season in an attempt to decipher what attracts first-timers and what promotes retention. Core repertoire pieces like Tosca, La bohème and Carmen remain the strongest draw for newcomers, followed by Broadway classics like Oklahoma! and Carousel. An overreliance on the standard repertoire, however, can alienate subscribers, who may migrate PA R T I C I PAT I N G to single-ticket purchases in COM PAN I ES order to select less familiar LA Opera titles or productions of new Lyric Opera of and contemporary works. Chicago Meanwhile, one company, The Metropolitan polling audience members Opera about their intention to return, Opera Philadelphia found a lower rate (52 percent) at musical-theater offerings Opera Theatre of Saint Louis than at operas (82 percent). Companies collect data on San Francisco Opera age, sex and geography through Seattle Opera both voluntary surveys and F A L L 2 0 1 7   29

aggregated figures from credit card purchase histories and outside consulting firms. Their findings inform not just marketing strategies, but repertoire and customer-experience decisions. Each of the companies represented at the meeting employs a segmentation strategy to better understand how to reach and serve their audiences, creating matrices that analyze purchase behavior alongside demographic factors. The companies differ somewhat in the ways they subdivide the market: One company, rather than categorizing audiences by age group, instead measures the degree of allegiance to the medium itself, distinguishing between full-fledged opera aficionados and more casual attendees. The most common mode of categorization, though, looks at generational groupings: Pre-Boomers (1930–1945), Baby Boomers (1946– 1964), Generation X (1965–1979), Millennials (1980–1995) and post-Millennials (1995+), also known as iGen. For most companies, the primary focus is retaining Boomers and courting Millennials. One company reported that a decline in Boomer audiences has made Millennials and Gen Xers represent the fastest growing segments of ticket buyers. Millennials also make their second purchase faster, and demonstrate a higher retention rate (23 percent) than Boomers (18 percent) do. Many companies have invested heavily to create “young professional” organizations that cater to the under-40 crowd, with pre- and post-performance social events and discounted subscription programs. These are successful up to a point: A fall-off begins as Millennials mature. As couples begin to have children, and professionals become more focused on work, discretionary time and dollars shrink. An array of qualitative measures of audience attitudes supplements quantitative measures of ticket sales and revenues. Customer satisfaction is typically measured using in-house resources: surveys handed out after performances and follow-up e-mails. These techniques continue to yield pertinent data: Subscribers focus on the “quality of singers,” while newcomers are more interested in the “opera-house experience.” The factors contributing to the highest levels of dissatisfaction are constant: lack of convenient parking and the ubiquitous bathroom shortage. In between are issues such as ease of ticket purchasing and availability of intermission concessions.


hose opera companies that employ outside marketing firms with more sophisticated research techniques are better able to measure more elusive aspects of audience response, such as a sense of “belonging” in the opera house and the likelihood of return. They have also adopted analytics that take surveys beyond “Did you like it?” to “What if the opera were shorter? What if it were performed in English? Would you prefer a special night to dress up or dress down?” or, for contemporary and experimental works, 30  O P E R A A M E R I C A

“Would this piece be more appealing in a different venue?” Opera, like all entertainment choices, is ultimately a “value proposition” according to one marketing executive. The prospective consumer asks: “What are the rewards to me? Will I enjoy the experience? Will I be able to get others to go with me? What else could I be doing?” That inner voice of the consumer evaluates the appeal of familiarity against adventure, and calculates not just the direct cost of tickets, but the fully loaded cost of the experience: babysitter, transportation, parking, dinner. Several of the meeting’s participants presented data concerning branding and image. Some companies have invested heavily in repositioning themselves — through repertoire and productions, as well as marketing — as purveyors of a contemporary experience, specifically working to erase the perception of opera as an elitist art form and portray it as an engaging, accessible form of entertainment. While companies continue to invest in traditional “old media” vehicles (printed brochures, posters, billboards), they are directing an increasing amount of their marketing dollars toward digital channels like e-mail, websites and social media. Contrary to the stereotype that digital media is the exclusive territory of the young, it has in fact proven effective across all age levels and demographics. Rebranding requires not just cosmetic alteration, but an across-the-board company effort. The company must develop repertoire and productions that, as one marketer put it, “communicate in a voice that is authentic to the target audience.” It must also adapt to the behavioral instincts of a new generation, such as a desire for flexibility. One company reported that a decade ago, more than two-thirds of tickets were purchased more than a month in advance; now the metric has flipped, with a majority of buyers purchasing less than a month in advance. The aversion to commitment correlates with age: One company reported that Gen Xers and Millennials purchased 30 percent of their single tickets during the week of the performance, compared to 21 percent of buyers in other demographic categories. One company that has invested in building diversity in its audience demographic reported that the effort has had a positive marketing impact. Customers who encounter audience diversity see it as an indicator the company is “inclusive.” It’s a factor that makes them more likely to encourage others to attend. Experiential satisfaction of yet another audience — the marketing leaders themselves — was also evident at the convening of marketing leaders. They expressed a sense of isolation when they present reports to their management and boards, as if the problems they face were unique to their own companies. But in sharing information with their peers and seeing each other’s data presentations, they found comfort in realizing the similarities of their challenges. Scale and scope may set companies apart, but a shared commitment to learning brings them together. Matthew Sigman, former editor of Opera America, is a three-time winner of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for music journalism.


Previn & Littell Opera Idaho April 2018


Talbot & Scheer Lyric Opera of Kansas City November 2017


PREMIERE Dorman & Fleischmann Houston Grand Opera April 2018


Catán & Fuentes-Berain San Diego Opera March 2018 Florida Grand Opera April-May 2018 Madison Opera April 2018

CHAMBER PREMIERE Gordon & Artman Prototype Festival January 2018

CROSSING Aucoin BAM, Brooklyn October 2017 LA Opera May 2018



Menotti Long Beach Opera October 2017 Chicago Opera Theater November 2017 Opera Saratoga July 2018

PREMIERE Mazzoli & Vavrek Washington National Opera January 2018 Opera Omaha April 2018


Barber & Menotti Glyndebourne Festival August 2018


PREMIERE Muhly & Wright English National Opera November-December 2017


Sheng & Huang China tour September 2017


Dorman & Hübner and Nemitz Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe March-May 2018


Saariaho Palais Garnier, Opéra National de Paris January-February 2018

THE SECOND VIOLINIST Dennehy & Walsh Wide Open Opera, Dublin Theater Festival October 2017

Selected List





Hub of Activity

Marc A. Scorca Hall during and after construction

building once abuzz with the hum of sewing machines now reverberates with singers in rehearsals, at auditions and in coaching sessions. Five years ago, OPERA America opened the National Opera Center in a Midtown Manhattan neighborhood that was once part of the city’s garment district. When the building at 330 Seventh Avenue was constructed in the 1920s, it was designed as a center for fur merchants. Its reinforced floors — built to bear the weight of sewing machinery and piles of mink pelts — allowed OPERA America to carve out a custom-built space for the opera industry, including a central rehearsal hall that spans two floors. Originally created to address the acute need for rehearsal and performance space among New York City’s performing arts community, the National Opera Center has expanded its scope to become the site of professional development programs for opera administrators, HD video recordings sessions for young artists, board meetings of New York’s independent opera companies, and much more. In celebration of this five-year anniversary, OPERA America has gathered video testimony from people who have made the Opera Center a creative home. Look for them on the OA YouTube channel. OPERA CENTER


75,000 visitors

32  O P E R A A M E R I C A

35,000 venue rentals


auditions and rehearsals by member organizations


audio recordings


OPER A America public events

Jessica Osber (Media Suite, Studio, Service Desk), Noah Stern Weber (Creators in Concert), Jeff McCrum (Marc A. Scorca Hall)

The National Opera Center (clockwise from top left): the David Gockley and Nicola Luisotti Media Suite Control Room; the Charles MacKay Studio; a Creators in Concert event with Jake Heggie, Talise Trevigne and Stephen Costello in Marc A. Scorca Hall; the Lloyd and Mary Ann Gerlach Service Desk.

JACOBS SCHOOL OF MUSIC Indiana University Bloomington

Don Giovanni Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Arthur Fagen, conductor ∙ David Lefkowich, director ∙ Mark Smith, designer

L’Étoile Alexis Emmanuel Chabrier

Alain Gauthier, director ∙ Tim McMath, designer

It’s A Wonderful Life Jake Heggie & Gene Scheer Leonard Foglia, director ∙ Robert Brill, designer

Ariadne auf Naxos Richard Strauss Arthur Fagen, conductor ∙ James Marvel, director

Lucia di Lammermoor Gaetano Donizetti Jose Maria Condemi, director ∙ Philip Witcomb, designer

West Side Story Leonard Bernstein Michael Shell, director ∙ Steven Kemp, designer

Gwyn Richards, Dean and General Manager Timothy Stebbins, Ted Jones Executive Director of Production Kevin Murphy, Director of Coaching and Music Administration Walter Huff, Choral Director

Fully staged productions with full orchestra. Casting open to undergraduate and graduate students. Opera workshops and solo opportunities with IU’s nine choral ensembles.

17/ 18 SEASON


CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC Ted Allen Pickell ‘14 Des Moines Metro Opera

Dedicated to training the undergraduate singer Our VOICE and OPERA program provides a personal and unique EXPERIENCE that prepares you for a CAREER on the stage

upcoming events San Diego Opera Northwest Indiana Symphony

Hannah Ludwig ‘14 Aspen Music Festival Academy of Vocal Arts Carnegie Hall Debut Summer 2017

Yelena Dyachek ‘13 2015 Metropolitan Opera Grand Finals Winner Houston Grand Opera Andrew Dwan ‘13 San Jose Opera Aspen Music Festival


SPRING 2018 AUDITION DATES January 20, 2018 January 27, 2018 February 3, 2018 February 10, 2018



School Days for Tomorrow’s Leaders


he 13 opera professionals who gathered in August at the National Opera Center for OPERA America’s 2017 Leadership Intensive went through a week of concentrated sessions and seminars geared toward preparing them for career advancement. The annual professional development program, founded in 2012 and supported by American Express, focuses not just on the practical skills tomorrow’s leaders need for their careers, but the personal qualities that make up true leadership. It also introduces them to a network of peers they can turn to for guidance and support in years ahead. This year, for the first time, OPERA America invited its sister organization Ópera Latinoamérica, based in Santiago, Chile, to send a participant. Alejandra Martí, the organization’s executive director, joined 10 administrators from the U.S. and two from Canada to learn about topics ranging from finance management to storytelling, from public speaking to dining etiquette. Participants will come together again at Opera Conference 2018, from June 20 to 23 in Saint Louis, where they will join alumni of past Intensives in roundtable discussions.


“Let a mistake ruin your breakfast, but not your lunch. True achievement comes from resiliency as much as your skills and strengths.”

“Make sure your board is continuously engaged in learning about the organization — and the industry.”

“We have bosses. We don’t have superiors.” “You can change behavior, but not personality.”

“Define your core values. Use them when you are prioritizing your time or deciding between two ‘right’ options.”

“It’s important to treat the board as artists. They require coaching and rehearsal, too.”

“When introducing two people whose names you don’t know, ‘You two know each other, don’t you?’ works 90 percent of the time.” 34  O P E R A A M E R I C A

T H E C L A S S O F 2 017 Alejandra Valarino Boyer Director of Community Programs, Lyric Opera of Chicago Jennifer Dubin Chief Development Officer, Austin Opera Julia Gallagher Assistant Production Director, Minnesota Opera Jason Hardy Director of Development, Opera Memphis Steven Humes Education Manager, Opera Philadelphia Caroline Koelker Managing Director, Opera Maine Rhanda Luna Director of Administration and Education, OPERA San Antonio Alisa Magallón Teaching Artist, Minnesota Opera Nicole Malcolm Development Manager, Pacific Opera Victoria Alejandra Martí Executive Director, Ópera Latinoamérica Courtney Rizzo Budget Manager, LA Opera Michael Sakir Music Director, Opera Memphis Robin Whiffen Manager of Artistic Operations, Opera on the Avalon


Weill Music Institute January 23–28, 2018

THE HUBBLE CANTATA Music by Paola Prestini Libretto by Royce Vavrek October 11, 2017 – West Coast Premiere Co-presented by Ford Theatres and LA Opera Co-produced with National Sawdust


PERSONA Music by Keeril Makan Libretto by Jay Scheib After the film by Ingmar Bergman November 9–12, 2017 – West Coast Premiere Presented by LA Opera Off-Grand

ACQUANETTA Music by Michael Gordon Libretto by Deborah Artman January 9–14, 2018 – World Premiere, Chamber Version Co-presented by PROTOTYPE Festival and Gelsey Kirkland Art Center

THE ECHO DRIFT Music by Mikael Karlsson Libretto by Elle Kunnos de Voss & Kathryn Walat January 10–20, 2018 – World Premiere Co-produced with HERE and American Opera Projects Co-presented by PROTOTYPE Festival and Baruch Performing Arts Center

Marilyn Horne

Renée Fleming

Graham Johnson

This annual celebration of art song nurtures gifted young singers (ages 18–35) through APPLY TODAY! a weeklong series of master classes, coaching sessions, recitals, and career development panels. Application Deadline: October 16, 2017

SOLDIER SONGS Music and text by David T. Little Film by Bill Morrison April 6–8, 2018 – Tour

The Song Continues is supported, in part, by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. Workshops and master classes are made possible, in part, by Mr. and Mrs. Nicola Bulgari and The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. This program is part of the Marilyn Horne legacy at Carnegie Hall.

Presented by Fargo-Moorhead Opera

For more information, please contact INFO@BETHMORRISONPROJECTS.ORG

BETHMORRISONPROJECTS.ORG Artists, programs, and dates subject to change. © 2017 CHC. Photos: Horne by Erick Gfeller, Fleming by Decca / Timothy White, Johnson by Clive Barda / ArenaPAL.




n a few short years, the Opera Grants for Female Composers (OGFC) program has gone a long way toward addressing gender parity in opera composition. In 2013, when the program was established, OPERA America in its decades-long history of support for new American opera had bestowed merely five percent of its grant funding to works by women. But OGFC, founded with support from the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, has to date awarded an impressive $700,000 toward repertoire by female composers. “We’re seeing works by women gain traction on stages across North America,” says Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. “This year, we received more applications for Commissioning Grants than ever before, which is a testament to our members’

investment in operas by female composers.” The Commissioning Grants arm of OGFC has provided a total of $100,000 this year for commissions from six companies. Three of the composers represented are first-time OGFC grantees: Missy Mazzoli, Rachel J. Peters and Paola Prestini, all fixtures of New York’s new-music scene. The other three are former recipients of OGFC Discovery Grants: Laura Kaminsky, for As One in 2014; Sheila Silver, for A Thousand Splendid Suns in 2014; and Nkeiru Okoye, for We’ve Got Our Eye on You in 2016. (While Commissioning Grants of up to $50,000 are awarded to the producing organizations in support of commissions, Discovery Grants of up to $15,000, adjudicated separately, are awarded to the composers themselves.)

2 017 O G FC : CO M M I S S I O N I N G G R A N T S

HOUSTON GR AND OPER A Home of My Ancestors Nkeiru Okoye, composer Anita Gonzalez, librettist

M I N N E S O TA O P E R A The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane Paola Prestini, composer Mark Campbell, librettist

O P E R A PA R A L L È L E Today It Rains Laura Kaminsky, composer Mark Campbell/Kimberly Reed, librettists

Taking place during a present-day celebration of Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the 1865 abolishment of slavery in Texas, Home of My Ancestors centers on Olivia, an African-American doctor living in Chicago. She returns to her childhood home in Houston’s Third Ward for her grandmother’s memorial service, dreams of her ancestors, and awakens with a revived understanding of home and heritage.

Based on the young adult novel of the same name by Kate DiCamillo, this family-friendly opera follows the adventures of toy rabbit named Edward whose comfortable life in a loving household abruptly ends when he is thrown into the sea from the Queen Mary.

Today it Rains dramatizes the moment in 1929 when Georgia O’Keeffe left New York City and her tumultuous marriage with Alfred Stieglitz to move to Santa Fe, where the New Mexican landscape would inspire her artistic output for decades to come.

S A R A S O TA O P E R A Rootabaga Country Rachel J. Peters, composer and librettist

S E AT T L E O P E R A A Thousand Splendid Suns Sheila Silver, composer Stephen Kitsakos, librettist

Adapted from Carl Sandburg’s whimsical 1922 Rootabaga Stories, the opera tells the story of Gimme the Ax and his two children, Please Gimme and Ax Me No Questions, who travel to Rootabaga Country, a land in the sky.

36  O P E R A A M E R I C A

Adapted from the novel by Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns focuses on two Afghan women from different backgrounds who form a bond when they are forced to share a physically and psychologically abusive husband.

WA S H I N G T O N N AT I O N A L O P E R A Proving Up* Missy Mazzoli, composer Royce Vavrek, librettist

Based on a coming-of-age short story by Karen Russell, Proving Up depicts a group of Nebraska families that struggle to claim their land under the Homestead Act of 1862. *A co-commission with Opera Omaha and the Miller Theatre at Columbia University

Phil Marino (Okoye), Erika Harrsch (Prestini), Rebecca Allan (Kaminsky), Luke Redmond (Peters), Roy Volkmann (Silver), Marylene Mey (Mazzoli)





OCT 7 at 2pm, Scorca Hall, National Opera Center - 330 7th Ave, NYC. Plus Indian Summer Concert OCT 8 at 2pm. NOV 25, 26, 27 at 8pm and NOV 28 at 3pm in Victor Borge Hall, Scandinavia House - 58 Park Ave, NYC. A Chamber Opera - About one of the Jewish “hidden children” found after the Holocaust in 1947 - very relevant today. MORE MUSIC BY MIRA J SPEKTOR: VILLA DIODATI - A Chamber-Opera/Film about Mary Shelley creating Frankenstein’s Monster with lyrics by Colette Inez, Byron, Shelley, Spektor & Wordsworth (from Bank Street Films and Albany Records) GIOVANNI THE FEARLESS - A New Folk Musical Seeks Co-Producers - Libretto by Carolyn Balducci FOR SCORES, CDS, DVDS & INFORMATION CONTACT: TICKETS: $25 at the door or,, phone: (866) 902-2531

*Developing, mentoring, & celebrating volunteers * Creating networking opportunities in the US & Canada * Providing grants for opera volunteer groups




Prisoners of War — and Peace

fractured American dream home serves as the setting for Glory Denied in a production concept now on exhibit as part of OA’s Robert L.B. Tobin Director-Designer Showcase. Tom Cipullo’s 2006 chamber opera tells the true stories of Jim Thompson, a soldier in Vietnam who became the longestheld American prisoner of war, and his wife, Alyce, struggling to move on with her life in his absence. It has inspired the production team — director Ashley Tata, scenic designer Stephan Moravski, costume designer Liene Dobraja, lighting designer Abigail Hoke-Brady and projection designer Brad Peterson — to come up with a concept that draws parallels between the two characters’ circumscribed lives. The individual rooms of the unit set, with their idealized 1960s décor, stand on platforms, as if in a Sears showroom. Dobraja’s costumes characterize the four characters — older and younger versions of both Alyce and Thompson — who simultaneously inhabit the set. The prim pink house dress of Younger Alice and 38  O P E R A A M E R I C A

the crisply pressed uniform of Younger Thompson capture the optimism of the early 60s, while the drab 70s rags of Older Alyce and Older Thompson convey post-war disillusionment. Over the course of the opera’s two acts, lighting and projections evoke the Vietnam jungle, as well the contemporary American political and social landscape. “In our production, Alyce’s bars of matrimony and motherhood, while not as obvious as those of a POW cell, become equally relevant to the action,” says Tata. The Glory Denied exhibition, running through February 2018 at the National Opera Center, is the first of three from of the 2017 round of the Director-Designer Showcase, a biennial program supported by the Tobin Theatre Arts Fund. Over the next two years, two more finalist-team exhibitions, both presenting concepts for Wagner’s Flying Dutchman, will bow at the Opera Center. The Director-Designer Showcase presentations from Opera Conference 2017 are available on OA’s YouTube channel.

The Shepherd School of Music


With a dedicated faculty, extraordinary


performance opportunities, beautiful

Barbara Clark, Co-Chair Stephen King, Co-Chair Julie Simson

facilities and an unparalleled education

Opera Studies

The Shepherd School of Music voice and

at one of America’s premier universities,

David Effron, guest Music Director Debra Dickinson Susan Lorette Dunn Tara Faircloth Matt Hune Adam Noble Melissa Noble

opera programs equip students with the necessary skills for professional success. Robert Yekovich, Dean The Shepherd School of Music

Vocal Coaching

Patrick Harvey Thomas Jaber Bethany Self Karen Roethlisberger Verm

2017 Production of Julius Caesar. Photgraphy by Ted Washington

The Shepherd School of Music Rice University, Houston, TX,


Jacques Offenbach and the Making of Modern Culture By Laurence Senelick Cambridge University Press

History Is Our Mother: Three Libretti By Alice Goodman New York Review of Books

The Ring of Truth: The Wisdom of Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelung By Roger Scruton The Overlook Press

Offenbach’s lighter-than-air theater works are often seen as more style than substance. But Senelick, a Tufts drama professor, argues that they had a profound impact on 19thcentury culture — not only in France, but around the world — and also introduced cutting-edge innovations in stagecraft and scenic design.

Alice Goodman has not written a libretto since 1991, when The Death of Klinghoffer set off a storm of controversy. The present volume includes her Klinghoffer libretto along with Nixon in China, her other John Adams opera, as well as her translation of Die Zauberflöte.

Experiencing Carl Maria von Weber: A Listener’s Companion

“O Ma Carmen”: Bizet’s Fateful Gypsy in Portrayal from 1875 to the Present

The Romantic Overture and Musical Form from Rossini to Wagner

The soprano Geraldine Farrar wrote of Carmen, “Each one of us probably sees something that the others have not seen — or thinks she does — and that ‘something’ is her individual Carmen.” This book takes to heart Farrar’s thesis, exploring the history of operatic portrayals of Bizet’s elusive heroine.

This musicological survey offers a comprehensive account of operatic and concert overtures in continental Europe from 1815 to 1850, investigating a broad range of German, French and Italian works.

By Joseph E. Morgan Rowman & Littlefield

The author examines the biographical, aesthetic and political currents that inform Weber’s greatest works — including Der Freischütz, Euryanthe and Oberon — with special attention to Germany’s Romantic and nationalist movements.

40  O P E R A A M E R I C A

By Victoria Etnier Villamil McFarland

English philosopher Roger Scruton takes on the meaning of Wagner’s monumental masterpiece, detailing its drama, music, symbolism and philosophy, while considering its major themes — love, death, sacrifice and liberation. He demonstrates how Wagner, through text and (especially) music, expressed essential truths about the human condition

By Steven Vande Moortele Cambridge University Press

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER— NOW IN PAPERBACK He overcame poverty, abuse, and incarceration… to f ind his voice.

Opera Naples

Renata Scotto Opera Academy Now Accepting Applications

STUDY SESSION JAN 22 - FEB 2, 2018 apply by NOV 1, 2017

L’ELISIR D’AMORE FEB 11-24, 2018 apply by DEC 1, 2017

STUDY SESSION APRIL 5-16, 2018 apply by FEB 1, 2018

Progr am Director: Renata Scotto Artistic Director: R amón Tebar, Oper a Naples

“RIVETING…Ryan Speedo Green’s story is harrowing and rewarding in unexpected ways.” —Renée Fleming

“DEEPLY MOVING…. A testament to the limitlessness of the human spirit.” —New York Times Book Review

Also available in ebook and downloadable audio |


Opera Naples’ Renata Scotto Opera Academy offers a once-in-a-life-time opportunity for exceptional singers from around the world to work with legendary soprano, Renata Scotto. In its second year, the Academy will have three sessions: two study sessions in which singers will have lessons with Madame Scotto and coachings on repertoire of their choosing and one performance session in which Madame Scotto will serve as the stage director for public performances of L’Elisir d’Amore under the baton of Maestro Ramón Tebar. Due to generous sponsorship, each selected participant will receive a full or partial scholarship up to $2,500, which may cover the costs of the program fee, housing and travel to and from Naples, Florida. For more information or to apply, visit 239.963.9050

www.OperaNaples.Org WANG OPERA CENTER 2408 Linwood Avenue Naples, FL 34112 USA





NATIONAL OPERA CENTER LEADERSHIP GIFTS OPERA America is indebted to the individuals and institutions whose transformational support made possible the construction of the $14.5 million National Opera Center, a state-of-the-art performance and rehearsal facility designed to provide a New York home for the national opera community.



$250,000 – $999,999

Pamela J. Hoiles The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Horace H. Irvine II Anonymous

City of New York Baisley Powell Elebash Fund Barbara and Ronald Leirvik William C. and Susan F. Morris Anonymous (2)

Jane A. Gross Cynthia Fry Gunn and John A. Gunn Henry Family Fund Jay Lesenger Sherrill Milnes and Maria Zouves Milnes New York Community Trust

Dr. Steve and Rochelle Prystowsky Marc and Cathy Solomon Jill and William Steinberg Barbara Augusta Teichert The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Anonymous

The Jeanette and H. Peter Kriendler Charitable Trust Michael and Noémi Neidorff Brig. Gen. (Ret) George B. Price and Dr. Laura G. Kafra-Price and Family

James and Deborah Reda Jane A. and Morton J. Robinson Rita G. Rudel Foundation James R. Seitz, Jr. Anonymous (2)

Isabel and Algernon M. Ellien Foundation Anthony Freud and Colin Ure Jane Hartley Lyric Opera of Chicago Charles MacKay Minnesota Opera Paul and Sandra Montrone Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Bernard A. Osher John J. Pohanka

Friends of Lenore Roseberg San Diego Opera Board of Directors Marc A. Scorca Marilyn Shapiro Gregory C. Swinehart Thomas E. Terry Mr. and Mrs. Stephen L. Trampe John G. Turner and Jerry G. Fischer Vancouver Opera

$100,000 – $249,999 Bloomberg Philanthropies Booth Ferris Foundation Plácido Domingo Elizabeth and Jean-Marie Eveillard Jim Feldman The Filstrup Foundation Mary Ann and Lloyd Gerlach

$25,000 – $99,999 Spring Point Partners Emilie Roy Corey Allen R. and Judy Brick Freedman Samuel H. Kress Foundation

$10,000 – $24,999 Jane Goddard Akin and Steven Paul Akin Gus and Mary Blanchard Luigi Caiola, Rose Caiola and Edward Mermelstein Patricia C. Compton Alexa Davidson-Suskin Des Moines Metro Opera Carol E. and David A. Domina The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation

For the complete listing of National Opera Center Campaign contributors, visit

PATRICIA SCIMECA FUND FOR EMERGING SINGERS The Patricia Scimeca Fund for Emerging Singers, established in 2013 in memory of singer and vocal teacher Patricia Scimeca, supports OPERA America’s services to young singers. OPERA America extends its thanks to the family and friends whose ongoing contributions underwrite the annual Feedback Auditions at the National Opera Center. Maria Oesterreich Allen Jamie Bernstein Steven Blier Anna Burton, M.D. Christine Donahue Mayo Dr. Heather F. Clarke

Dr. Thomas J. Heffernan and Ms. Judith Jennings Ronald and Ellen Herzman Margaret Lopez Anne Lutkus Michael J. McGinley

New gifts made from September 1, 2016, to August 31, 2017. For the complete listing of Patricia Scimeca Fund contributors, visit 42  O P E R A A M E R I C A

John Musto Suzanne and Chad Paeglow Beth Schneider and Steve McFarland Dr. Michael M. Scimeca Ron Slusky Peter and Abbe Steinglass Vincent R. Ventiera





OPERA AMERICA ANNUAL SUPPORT OPERA America is grateful for generous annual support from individuals and institutions that provides the essential foundation for strengthening the opera field with programs devoted to professional development, new work cultivation, audience engagement, industry research and national advocacy.


SILVER $50,000 or more

Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation* The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation* National Endowment for the Arts* The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation The Wallace Foundation

American Express Foundation* Bank of America* Howard Gilman Foundation Cynthia Fry Gunn and John A. Gunn

CHAIRMAN'S CIRCLE CHAIRMAN $20,000 or more Emilie Roy Corey* Carol E. and David A. Domina* Barbara Winter Glauber* Barbara and Ronald Leirvik*

Frayda B. and George L. Lindemann* Susan F. and William C. Morris* Spring Point Partners* The Tobin Theatre Arts Fund

John G. Turner and Jerry G. Fischer*

Carol Lazier New York City Department of Cultural Affairs* New York State Council on the Arts* Jane A. and Morton J. Robinson*

Jill and William Steinberg William T. Weyerhaeuser and Gail T. Weyerhaeuser*

Evan Hazell and Jacqueline Pyke* Carol and Warner Henry* Pamela J. Hoiles James E. Johnson and Lucy Rosenberry Jones Paul V. Lorton, Jr.* Beth Madison* Rick Miners and Jeri Sedlar John Nesholm

Mr. and Mrs. E. Lee Perry* The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation Marc S. Solomon* Dr. Eugene and Mrs. Jean Stark Robert S. and Shoshana B. Tancer Barbara Augusta Teichert* Carole J. Yaley* Anonymous (3)

COUNCILMAN-AT-LARGE $10,000 or more John E. and Astrid Baumgardner, Jr. Jane Bernstein and Bob Ellis* Sarah Billinghurst Solomon and Howard Solomon Jim Feldman* COUNCILMAN $5,000 or more Jim and Nancy Barton* Boosey & Hawkes The Aaron Copland Fund for Music* Karin Eames* Elizabeth and Jean-Marie Eveillard* Allen R. and Judy Brick Freedman* Louise Gaylord* Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts Jane A. Gross*

AMBASSADOR CIRCLE AMBASSADOR-AT-LARGE $2,500 or more The Amphion Foundation Gus and Mary Blanchard* Mrs. Nadine E. Bognar* Drs. Robert N. Braun and Joan A. Friedman Keith and Jennifer Cerny* Judith-Ann Corrente David DiChiera* Terry and Catherine Ferguson*

Scott H. and Margee M. Filstrup* Sherwin M. Goldman Jake Heggie* Perryn Leech Nathan Leventhal Holly and Tom Mayer NoĂŠmi and Michael Neidorff

David Morris and Evelyn Krache Morris, in honor of William C. and Susan F. Morris Ruth Orth and Rick Harper* Meredith Hathorn Penick* Pamela Rigg Richard Russell* Ian, Annie and Jacqueline Sale*

Marc A. Scorca* James R. Seitz, Jr.* Mira J. Spektor* Eva and Marc Stern* Stephen Trampe* Universal Music Publishing Classical Mitra Walter and Greg Swinehart*

F A L L 2 0 1 7   43





AMBASSADOR CIRCLE (CONTINUED) AMBASSADOR $1,000 or more Carla and Fernando Alvarado Roger and Julie Baskes* Daniel Biaggi and David Espinosa* Susan Bienkowski* Willa and Taylor Bodman Eloise Bouye* Jim and Phyllis Bratt Murray Bring and Kay Delaney Wayne S. Brown and Brenda E. Kee Anne M. Burridge* Gregory Carpenter* Joyce Castle* Charles Cesaretti Patrick Corrigan Henry Cox and Michael D. Kunkel* Simon Crookall Patrick and Jean Cummins Don Dagenais* Edgar Foster Daniels Foundation Susan T. Danis* Wayne C. Davis* Dr. and Mrs. Joseph S. DeLeese* Robert B. Downing Thomas Dreeze and Evans Mirageas* Michael Egel Feinberg Rozen LLP Garry and Louise Frederickson*

Catherine French* Anthony Freud and Colin Ure* Margaret Genovese Lloyd Gerlach* Jeanne Goffi-Fynn Todd Gordon and Susan Feder Christopher Hahn* Elba Haid Jane Hartley* Ronnie and Sylvia Hartman* Mrs. Patricia G. Hecker,* Hecker Family Charitable Foundation of the Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation Rita Elizabeth Horiguchi Bruce Hyman and Simone Quarré* Kay and David Ingalls* Plato and Dorothy Karayanis* Joseph H. Kluger* Woody and Nandini Kuehn Lori Laitman and Bruce Rosenblum Sally Levy* Bernice Lindstrom Mr. and Mrs. William Lockwood Charles MacKay* Susan Graf Marineau Jacqueline Badger Mars Jim McCoy

David S. McIntosh* James A. Merritt Leonard Michaels* Robert G. Milne Dr. R. Ranney Mize Alan E. Muraoka* Dr. and Mrs. Eugene Myers Esther L. Nelson* Theodore F. Newlin, III J. Boyce and Peggy F. Nute Timothy O’Leary* Ann Owens Frederick W. Peters Gloria M. Portela* Charlotte Prince Dr. Steve and Rochelle Prystowsky* Stanley Rabinowitz Carey Ramos and Catrina Bentley* James and Deborah Reda* Nancy and Ed Rosenthal* Chandra and Michael Rudd Nicholas G. Russell* Norman D. Ryan Deborah Sandler* Olin Sansbury and Mary Ann Claud Melody and Warren Schubert* Susan and Jeremy Shamos* John Shannon & Jan Serr Marilyn Shapiro*

Simon Charitable Foundation/ Eve and Fred Simon* G. Whitney and Gretchen F. Smith Kathryn Smith Brett A. Stover* Steve Suellentrop Mr. and Mrs. Donald G. Sweeney* Maryanne Tagney Ryan Taylor Tom Terrell, in memory of Charles J. Hofbauer, M.D., M.P.H. Thomas E. Terry* L M L Thompson Mr. and Mrs. Terrence A. Tobias* Joanna and Peter Townsend* Rochelle A. Weiner Mr. and Mrs. Robert Weiss* Sara Widzer and Family, Seniel Ostrow Foundation Dr. Judith G. Wolf* Chip and Jean Wood Sharon and Fillmore Wood* James W. Wright* Margaret and Angus Wurtele Francesca Zambello and Faith Gay* Anonymous

Christopher Mattaliano* Marcia V. Mayo Lynn McBee Susanne Mentzer* Paul Meecham Robert C. Miller* Erie Mills and Tom Rescigno* Karl and Kristen Mills Carlos A. Mollura* Clemmer and David Montague Zizi Mueller and John LaCava Lee Anne Myslewski* Karen Kriendler Nelson* David O’Dell Nicole Paiement Pelham G. Pearce, Jr.* Gabriela Porges Elkhanah Pulitzer Rajika and Tino Puri* Joel Revzen Martha Peak Rochelle Rosemarie Ruggiero

Ian Rye Idee German Schoenheimer Cherie and Bob Shreck* Yuval Sharon Manny Smith Reed W. Smith and Judy Berry Linda P. Spuck Virginia L. Stringer Melia Tourangeau* Dona D. Vaughn and Ron Raines Dr. Rosemary Watt and Charles L. Arnao Roger Weitz Gae Whitener* Wilma B. Wilcox* Diane B. Wilsey* Kathleen Wilson Keith A. Wolfe Bruce Munro Wright* Anonymous (2)

AMBASSADOR DESIGNATE $500 or more Nina Abrams Fund Alan Agle* Robin Angly Patricia K. Beggs David Bennett* Dabby Blatt David J. Bolger Jeanne R. Bonar Doris and Michael Bronson* Lisa Bury Todd L. Calvin* Ned Canty Ellie Caulkins Dr. and Mrs. Gordon M. Cramolini David B. Devan and David A. Dubbeldam* Lawrence Edelson Nicholas Even Anne C. Ewers* Jill A. Fischer* Kristina Flanagan William Florescu* Susan Geyer 44  O P E R A A M E R I C A

David Gockley Dr. Robert and Suzanne Hasl Eugenie Havemeyer* Joe Illick Laura Kaminsky and Rebecca Allan Bob H. Kaplan James M. Kendrick* Waldron Kraemer Karen J. Kubin Taras Kulish Laurie Lam and Larry Desrochers Dr. Francesca LaVecchia and Mary DeRocco Joan Leiman Peter Leone Jay Lesenger* Phyllis Lusskin Raymond and Nancy Lutz* David Lyons Susan Malott Raulee Marcus*





PATRON CIRCLE SUPPORTER $250 or more Mark Adamo Russell P. Allen Susan Shiplett Ashbaker* Karen Bachman Diane Balfour and Carl Adkins Christopher Barberesi James C.P. Berry Cosmo Boyd Arlyn M. Brewster Steve and Anne Bruckner Matthew Buckman Louise B. Carvey Carol Castel Bruce Chemel* Michael Ching* Jerry Clack Marshall J. Cohen Dan Cooperman Barbara C. Cox Billy and Judy Cox Conrad Cummings* Douglas J. Cuomo* Robert Dean and Robert Epstein Dr. Robert and Nanci DeRobbio Bruce Donnell Robert B. Driver Robert B. Dundas Susan D. Eastman* David G. Edwards*

R. A. Edwards, III Lisa Erdberg and Dennis Gibbons Richard and Donna Falvo Roy Fisher* Margaret Galbraith Henry A. Garrity James Develin Geier Erik Gensler/ Capacity Interactive Marsh and Anne Gibson* Timothy Gillette* Josephine Gilmore-Kirchner Sharon Gioia Collin Glidewell and Matthew Sigman* Marie C. Golda Julian Grant Bernard A. Greenberg Kenneth G. Hance David and Melanie Hecker Mary and Craig Henderson Grethe Barrett Holby John Hoomes and Carol Penterman* John A. Johnson Michael Jonson John Junek Ginger Karren* Cecilia Kelly*

Kathleen Kelly, in honor of Sylvia Debenport William T. Kennedy* Arthur J. Kerr, Jr. Paula M. Kimper* Stephen Kitchen* James J. Kolb* C. Thomas Kunz Wendi Kushner Robert L. Lee and Mary E. Schaffner Nancy Main Judith and Leon Major* Marlena Malas Fredrick Martell William Mason* Lori Merkle Ann Meschery Mary C. Meyer Sally and Charles Miley Andrea Miller Carol Modesitt Andrew Morgan Dr. Pina Mozzani Laurie E. Nelson Steven Osgood* Gordon F. Ostrowski Eric Owens Bill Palant, Étude Arts Sue and Richard R. Pieper Sr. Judy and Jim Pohlman*

Christopher M. Powell Patric and Mary Powell William Powers and Sari Gruber* Wendy K. Pylko Allan S. Reynolds, Jr.* Michael Roberts Gregory S. Robertson James Romano, in honor of Stephen Prystowsky Rosemarie V. Rosen* Stacy K. Rosenberg Dolores E. Ruetz* David M. Savard* Craig Shadur, MD Stephen Skaggs Joseph Specter Raymond F. Steckel* Ed and Mary Lee Turner H. Bernt von Ohlen Bradley Vernatter Robert Vineberg Elisabeth J. Waltz Jane Weaver-Sobel Dr. Robert C. White, Jr.* Helen L. Wineke* Melanie Wyler Charitable Fund The Mary and Charlie Yates Jr. Family Fund Anonymous (2)

*Donated in each of the past five years. These listings acknowledge all contributions made to OPERA America during the 12-month period from September 1, 2016, to August 31, 2017. If your name has been omitted or misprinted, kindly notify Dan Cooperman, director of development and membership, at or 646.699.5266.

MATCHING GIFTS Alliance Bernstein American Express Foundation Amgen Foundation

ExxonMobil Arthur J. Gallagher Foundation Illinois Tool Works Foundation

Kress Foundation Loews Foundation Qualcomm

Union Bank



Domoney Artist Management Andrew Kwan Artists Management Artsvest — a program of Business for the Arts

VANGUARD $5,000 or more The Dianne and Irving Kipnes Foundation** Roger Moore** George Cedric Metcalf Foundation†

SUPPORTERS Canada Council for the Arts Ontario Arts Council † denotes Power of 100 donor **denotes multiyear commitment

INNOVATOR $1,000 or more Gail Asper and Michael Paterson** Margaret and Jim Fleck** Claire Hopkinson**

The Martha Lou Henley Charitable Foundation** W. R. (Bob) McPhee** Sandra and Jim Pitblado** Bruce M. Wright** AFICIONADO $500 or more Maria Antonakos and Dr. Harald Stöver** Richard Comparey** Patrick Corrigan Larry Desrochers Cheryl Hickman Christina Loewen

FRIEND Up to $499 Kathy Domoney Angie Gelinas Grégoire Légendre Chris Lorway Roberto Mauro Michael Morres Alexander Neef Virginia Reh Ian Rye Robert Vineburg James W. Wright Tom Wright Tim Yakimec

F A L L 2 0 1 7   45






2 017




OPERA America thanks the following institutional funders and sponsors for their generous support of Opera Conference 2017 and its programming:







46  O P E R A A M E R I C A


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11.19.17 Bellini’s La straniera 2.18.18 Donizetti’s Maria di Rohan Lisner Auditorium Washington, DC


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OPERA America’s Business Members serve the North American opera field by providing key resources and services to artists, administrators and trustees. The following Business Members invite inquiries at the contact information provided. A D M I N I S T R AT I V E SERVICES AGMA Health and Retirement Funds 212.765.3664 Arts Insurance Program 410.547.3183

Dean Artists Management 416.969.7300 Domoney Artists Management 416.892.4382 Étude Arts 929.777.0775

DCM — Telemarketing and Telefundraising for the Arts 718.488.5577

Fletcher Artist Management 347.875.7146

SD&A Teleservices Inc. 310.693.2900

Guy Barzilay Artists Inc. 212.741.6118

TAYLAR Development 312.757.5934

IMG Artists LLC 212.994.3500


Jeffrey James Arts Consulting 516.586.3433

ADA Artist Management 212.567.7670 Barrett Artists 212.245.3530 Bel Canto Global Arts LLC 718.772.4024 Black Tea Music 917.363.9501 Boulev’art, Inc. 514.667.0880 Cadenza Artists 310.396.8527 Columbia Artists Vocal LLC 212.841.9680 Couret & Werner Artist Management 646.847.9924 48  O P E R A A M E R I C A

JEJ Artists 404.663.4135 L2 Artists LLC 646.926.0522 Latitude 45 Arts 514.276.2694 Leota Arts Management 630.235.8676 Opus 3 Artists 212.584.7500 Pinnacle Arts Management Inc. 212.397.7915

Quarterline Design Management LLC 802.773.6111 Randsman Artists Management 212.244.5874 Robert Gilder and Co. International Artist Management +44 (0)20.7580.7758 Schwalbe & Partners 212.935.5650

CO N S U LT I N G Arts Consulting Group 888.234.4236 Capes Coaching 212.777.2270 Catherine French Group 202.965.0999 Fisher Dachs Associates Inc. (FDA) 212.691.3020

Sempre Artists Management 212.653.8869

Genovese Vanderhoof & Associates 416.340.2762

Uzan International Artists 212.969.1797

Maynard Leigh Associates 516.780.1857

Vocal Artists Management 925.954.8164

Robert F. Mahoney & Associates 303.443.2213

ARTISTIC SERVICES American Guild of Musical Artists 212.265.3687

Robert Swaney Consulting Inc. 317.300.4443

Balance Arts Center 646.526.6515

Slover Linett Audience Research Inc. 773.348.9200

Byrd Hoffman Water Mill Foundation 212.253.7484

The TAI Group 212.924.8888

The Growing Studio Inc. 646.491.3559 NYIOP International 646.319.9486 Olympia Arts 910.232.1236

Theatre Projects 203.299.0830 TRG Arts 719.651.5566



InstantEncore 858.366.4586

Dallas Stage Scenery Inc. 214.821.0002

Patron Technology 212.271.4328 ext. 9076

Four Corners Productions 917.804.1870

Tessitura Network 888.643.5778

JAGS Consulting Ltd. 310.454.2834


Ravenswood Studio Inc. 847.679.2800

Boosey & Hawkes Inc. 212.358.5364 C.F. Peters Corporation 718.416.7801 ECS Publishing 800.647.2117 G. Schirmer, Inc./Associated Music Publishers/Music Sales Classical 212.254.2100 Motet Music Publishing Company 510.559.9563 Peermusic Classical 212.265.3910 ext. 116 Schott Music Corp. & European American Music Dist. Co. | eamdc. com 212.461.6940 Theodore Presser Company 610.592.1222 Universal Music Publishing Classical 212.461.6950

Schuler Shook 312.944.8230 Soundmirror Inc. 617.522.1412 Stivanello Costume Company Inc. 718.651.7715 Threshold Acoustics LLC 312.386.1400 T R AV E L A N D TOURISM Act 1 Tours 646.918.7401 EUROPERA Ticket GmbH +43 1968.8622 The Offstage Group 212.878.3620 OTHER Productions Opéra Concept M.P. Inc. 514.843.3636

Listing current as of September 1, 2017. For information on becoming a Business Member of OPERA America, please contact Vincent Covatto, organizational membership manager, at or 646.699.5237.








813.229.STAR (7827) • OPERATAMPA.ORG Group Sales (10+): 813.222.1016 or 1047

Events, days, dates, times, performers and prices are subject to change without notice. Handling fees will apply. Thank you to our 2016-2017 Season Sponsors: Helen Torres Foundation; Dr. Zena Lansky and Mr. Warren Rodgers; Dr. Yi-Hwa Outerbridge, M.D. and Mr. Felix Cannella, Jr.; Florida Health Care News/ Dr. Barry Levine and Gina d’Angelo; Charlene and Mardy Gordon; Greenberg Traurig, P.A.; Mary Ann and Brad Morse; Anonymous; Judith McLeod; Regenerative Orthopedic Institute/Dr. Erick Grana and Ms. Katherine Grana Knoll; Charles A. and Faith S. Simmons; Neiman Marcus. Media Sponsors: Tampa Bay Magazine, WEDU

F A L L 2 0 1 7   49






Marc A. Scorca, President/CEO Kurt Howard, Director of Programs and Services Kevin M. Sobczyk, CIO Traci Djonne Schanke, Executive Assistant

Brenda Huggins, Learning and Leadership Manager G OV E R N M E N T A F FA I R S Brandon Gryde, Director of Government Affairs M A R K E T I N G A N D CO M M U N I C AT I O N S


Patricia Kiernan Johnson, Director of Marketing and Communications Nicholas Wise, Communications and Publications Manager Fred Cohn, Editor, Opera America

Kirk A. Curtis, Director of Finance and Operations Susan Schultz, Controller Audrey Saccone, Digital Media and Technology Manager Alissa Abrams, Research Manager Claire Gohorel, Grantmaking Manager


ARTISTIC PROGR AMS AND SERVICES Laura Lee Everett, Director of Artistic Services Noah Stern Weber, Artistic Services Manager DEVELOPMENT AND MEMBERSHIP Dan Cooperman, Director of Development and Membership Grayson Price, Individual Giving and Membership Manager Vincent Covatto, Organizational Membership Manager Kevin O’Hora, Institutional Giving Manager Brian Gilling, Development Coordinator



American Opera Projects 12, 52 The Atlanta Opera 12 Austin Opera 10, 34 Beth Morrison Projects 10 Canadian Opera Company 12 Charlottesville Opera 10 Chicago Opera Theater 10, 15 Cincinnati Opera 24 The Dallas Opera 10, 12, 15 Houston Grand Opera 4, 10, 18, 23, 36 Eugene Opera 6, 10 Florentine Opera Company 12 Florida Grand Opera 4, 6 Fort Worth Opera 10 Hawaii Opera Theatre 10

50  O P E R A A M E R I C A

Sarah McCann, Director, Opera Center John Lynd, Opera Center Facilities and Technical Manager Noelle Deutsch, Opera Center Manager Brian Mextorf, Booking Coordinator Jude Thomas, Technical Coordinator C U S T O M E R S E R V I C E A S S O C I AT E S

Joanna Blieden, Daniel Brave, Kimberly Espinosa, Kim Feltkamp, Laura Ferranti, Vincent Grosso, Jasmine Jones, Karen Lackey, Mariah Muehler, Stephanie Polonio, Amber Treadway



Juventas New Music Ensemble 15 LA Opera 12, 28, 34 Lyric Opera of Chicago 1, 10, 19, 28, 34 The Metropolitan Opera 10, 12, 28 Michigan Opera Theatre 12 Minnesota Opera 20, 34, 36 Nickel City Opera 10 On Site Opera 21 Opera Columbus 10 Opera Maine 10, 34 Opera Memphis 10, 34 Opera Omaha 36 Opera on the Avalon 34 Opera Parallèle 36 Opera Philadelphia 12, 28, 34

OPERA San Antonio 34 Opera Tampa 10 Opera Theatre of Saint Louis 4, 10, 12, 28 Pacific Opera Victoria 34 Pittsburgh Opera 6 San Francisco Opera 10, 19, 28 The Santa Fe Opera 10, 12, 19 Sarasota Opera 36 Seattle Opera 12, 24, 28, 36 Townsend Opera 10 Tri-Cities Opera 6 Tulsa Opera 4, 10 Vancouver Opera 12 Washington National Opera 10, 36

Call Toll free: 888.224.9829 Email Go online

2018 Signature Series — First Announcement New York Met Magic February 18-23

Semiramide (Benini; Meade, DeShong, Camarena, Green), Parsifal (Nézet-Séguin; Herlitzius, Vogt, Mattei, Pape), La Bohème (Armiliato; Yoncheva, Phillips, Fabiano), Madama Butterly (Armiliato; Jaho, Aronica, Bizik), Empire Hotel, One World Observatory at One World Trade Center.

Mariinsky Ring Cycle, Saint Petersburg March 3-9

London & Glyndebourne July

Tour details and performance information to follow.

Aix-en-Provence & Baden-Baden Festivals July 14-23

Aix Festival: Ariadne auf Naxos, The Fiery Angel, Dido and Aeneas, Seven Stones, Orfeo et Majnun. Baden-Baden: Gergiev: Mussorgsky and Scriabin, Pictures at an Exhibition & Great Symphonies, Premiere: Adriana Lecouvreur (Gergiev: Netrebko). Space limited.

The best of Saint Petersburg: Ring performances at Mariinsky II new stage. Five nights at the exceptional Hotel Astoria, expert Englishspeaking guides, Hermitage Museum, sightseeing programs, premium theater seating, top level dining. Extension available.

OPERA America Ambassadors in Munich

Munich & Baden-Baden

Les Vêpres siciliennes, La traviata, Orlando Paladino, The House of the Dead (Janáček), Parsifal (Petrenko; Kaufmann, Stemme). Bayreuth: Lohengrin (Yuval Sharon new production), Der fliegende Holländer. Space limited and subject to ticket confirmation.

March 20-28 with Extension Three nights at the 5 star Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski Munich, Der Rosenkavalier (Petrenko; Pieczonka) & Les Vêpres siciliennes. Five nights Roomers Hotel Baden-Baden, Parsifal plus Berlin Philharmonic Garanča & Rattle, Finley & Daniel Harding. Space limited.

Classical Cities, Vienna & Prague April 21-28

Vienna: Die Walküre (A.Fischer; Ventris, Park, Konieczny), Andrea Chénier (Armiliato; Kaufmann, Frontali), Fidelio (A.Fischer; Konieczny, Seiffert), Prague: Mefistofele (Guidarini; Iriarte, Simková), Don Giovanni (Chalupecký; Hájek, Horák).

with Bayreuth Extension July 24-July 31, Extension Aug 1-4

Starry Nights in Santa Fe July 30 - August 5

Candide, Madame Butterfly, Doctor Atomic, The Italian Girl in Algiers, Ariadne auf Naxos. Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival concerts, opera lectures, first rate dining, historical and cultural sightseeing, optional Taos excursion.

Rossini Opera Festival, Pesaro August

Karlsruhe Ring Cycle

Ricciardo e Zoraide (Sagripanti; Flórez, Yende), Adina, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, The Siege of Corinth. To combine with Verona or Martina Franca Festival della Valle d’Itra.

Der Ring des Nibelungen and new opera Wahnfried, nine nights in the Schlosshotel Karlsruhe, fine dining, daytime regional excursions and sightseeing.

Bayreuth Festival

Verdi in Berlin

Four performances to be confirmed based on schedule announcement and ticket availability: Lohengrin, Parsifal, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Tristan und Isolde, Die Walküre, Der fliegende Holländer. Seven nights at Hotel Arvena Kongress or upgrade to Hotel Goldener Anker.

May 4-13 (5, 6, 10, 12)

May 15-22

Deutsche Oper: La Traviata (Montanaro; Agresta, Glaser), Rigoletto (García Calvo; Kang, Brück), Don Carlo (Runnicles; D’Arcangelo, Kang, Dupuis), Nabucco (Brignoli; Lucic, Rivero, Li, Metlova). 5 star Regent Hotel, premium seating, guided tour, dining and museums. Additional operas, Il Barbiere di Siviglia and King Arthur, staged in the newly reopened Staatsoper Unter den Linden.

San Francisco Opera Ring Cycle II June 19-25

Der Ring des Nibelungen (Runnicles; Grimsley, Herlitzius, Barton, Cangelosi, Margita, Struckmann, Mattila, Brenna, Jovanovich). Six nights Taj Campton Place Hotel, premium seating, lectures, food tasting tour, dining and art museums.

August 22-29

Royal Opera House Ring Cycle I

September 23 - October 2 (24, 26, 29, 1st) Der Ring des Nibelungen (Pappano; Lundgren, Kränzle, Skelton, Magee, Stemme, Connolly, Vinke). Ten nights choice of Radisson Blu Mercer St. or Covent Garden Hotel, premium seating, lecture, sightseeing, dining and art museums optional theater evening. Accredited by

Business Member

All tours and dates subject to final confirmation.

Act 1 Tours ❘ P.O. Box 1137 ❘ New York, NY 10159 -1137 ❘ 646.918.7401

with eclectic and new programming. I conceived a festival meant to play out over 10 years, called “A Century of Change,” where each season we’d honor a different decade of the 20th century. In 1991, we covered the years 1910–1919, so I decided to produce Scott Joplin’s 1911 Treemonisha. It’s a piece with links to African-American music and African rhythms, the new sound of ragtime, Viennese operetta and early American musical theater. I invited Betty Allen, the executive director of Harlem School of the Arts, to join as a partner with Town Hall. My good friend Tania León was the conductor. Wayne Sanders of Opera Ebony assisted Betty and Tania in finding the cast. It was an incredibly fraught experience — so many moving pieces, and never enough resources — and I was learning how to produce an opera as I was doing it. But it was joy-filled. Everyone was so committed, and so supportive of each other. We knew we were making something special. And we were doing it as a team. It was like chamber music writ large. I realized the semi-staged production would look pretty plain with everyone in concert clothes, but I didn’t have enough money for costumes. I talked it over with my mother, Eva, who had trained as a fashion designer at St. Martin’s School of Art in her native London, and she said, “Maybe I can M Y F I R S T O P E R A help.” She designed costumes, put together a team to make them and got a friend who was a fabric collector to donate all these beautiful cotton prints. All the performers with major roles went to my mom’s apartment for fittings. The costumes were beautiful, and they brought the production to life. As a composer, I’ve mostly written instrumental music. ’ve always found the making of art to be fascinating. When I I’ve always thought of myself as a storyteller, but in the was a kid, growing up in Manhattan, my younger sisters and past I perhaps didn’t have the courage to use words; my I would incorporate what we were learning at our various narratives were abstract. But when I got the notion to lessons — piano, guitar, dance — and weave them into a tell the story of a transgender person’s journey to self“variety show” that we’d put on for my parents on Saturday actualization, I knew I had to do it as an opera. I had just nights. What I liked most about produced a project at Symphony these evenings was the producing, Space with Sasha Cooke and Kelly not the performing. I would stage a Markgraf, and I started thinking, scene from Fiddler on the Roof or West “What if they were this person?” Side Story, and my poor sisters would That was the genesis of As One. have no choice but to participate. Mark Campbell and Kimberly Even my first “Oh my God” moment Reed were the librettists, and the with opera wasn’t in the audience, three of us are now working on our but backstage. One of my closest third opera together: Today It Rains, friends in elementary school was about Georgia O’Keeffe. All of our in the Met children’s chorus, and he operas have been chamber pieces. brought me backstage for Boris The things opera has been charged Godunov. The music pulsated and with — that it’s grand and old and the voices were huge and the colors elitist — aren’t so true any longer, were extraordinary. I watched them and largely because so much of Eva Deborah Sarna’s costume sketches for Treemonisha pushing the big sets around and the contemporary opera is on a more cast coming in and out. I was amazed intimate level, and more about the at seeing all this seemingly random activity crystalize and stories of our time and the people we know. I’m really excited become exact, and I thought, “How does this get put together?” about the state of contemporary opera, and that’s why I’m As a young composer, I found my niche in the chamber working so happily in this field. music world. Opera was this big, faraway thing; I preferred the intimacy of chamber music — the sense of dialogue. But Laura Kaminsky is a composer, teacher and producer. She is head then in 1988, I became artistic director of Town Hall. It’s a of composition at Purchase College Conservatory of Music and glorious space, with amazing acoustics and great sight lines, composer-in-residence at American Opera Projects. Her 2014 but it had been more or less dormant in the years since Lincoln opera As One has been performed in 10 cities since its premiere Center opened. I wanted to put it back on the cultural map and has 11 new productions in the works for the upcoming season.

Laura Kaminsky

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