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Keynote Speakers

 


© Lourdes Almeida
Daniel Catán

Daniel Catán's lyrical, romantic style lends itself particularly well to the human voice, which features prominently in the majority of his works. Catán's proficiency can easily be heard in his opera Florencia en el Amazonas — the first Spanish-language opera commissioned by a major American company. Catán describes his objective for the opera: “I set out to write beautiful music for a story of the journey to transcendent love; it concerns all of us who have lived love with all its intricacies, subtleties, wretchedness and glorious happiness.”

In 1994, San Diego Opera premiered his symbolist opera, La Hija de Rappacini (Rappaccini's Daughter), a work written in collaboration with librettist Juan Tovar. The success of La Hija de Rappacini led to Catán's next opera, Florencia en el Amazonas — a collaboration between Catán, Columbian author Gabriel García Márquez, and García Márquez's protégée, Marcela Fuentes-Berain. The opera is loosely based on García Marquez's novel Love in the Time of Cholera. Florencia en el Amazonas taps deeply into García Márquez's world of magical realism. “It is,” says Catán, “the story of the return journey that we all undertake at a certain point in our lives: the moment when we look back at what we once dreamed of becoming, and then confront what we have now become.” In celebration of its 50th anniversary, Houston Grand Opera commissioned Catán's third opera, Salsipuedes, A Tale of Love, War and Anchovies — a dark comedy which takes place on the fictitious island of Salsipuedes and premiered in 2004. Catán's next opera, Il Postino, based on the Oscar-winning film, will debut at LA Opera with Plácido Domingo and Charles Castronovo in the leading roles. Subsequent performances are scheduled for Vienna and Paris.

Though Catán was born in Mexico he is a product of both British and American schooling, receiving degrees from University of Sussex (in philosophy), University of Southampton and Princeton University — where he studied with Milton Babbitt — before returning to Mexico to take up the post of music administrator at Mexico City's Palace of Fine Arts. There, apart from establishing himself as an essayist writing about music, he came to love opera.

His influences belie his native land: he has been compared to Debussy, Richard Strauss and Puccini — with a wisp of Japanese influence. Catán attests gladly to his wide spectrum of influences. “I have inherited a very rich operatic tradition,” he says. “In my work, I am proud to say, one can detect the enormous debt I owe to composers from Monteverdi to Alban Berg. But perhaps the greatest of my debts is having learnt that the originality of an opera need not involve the rejection of our tradition (which would be like blindly embracing the condition of an orphan), but rather the profound assimilation of it, so as to achieve the closest union between a text and its music.”

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Photo Courtesy of LA Opera
Plácido Domingo

Plácido Domingo is a world-renowned, multifaceted artist: now in his late 60s, he is recognized as one of the finest and most influential singing actors in the history of opera, yet he is also a respected conductor and a major force as an opera administrator, in his role as General Director of Washington National Opera and LA Opera.

As a singer, Domingo's repertoire encompasses 130 stage roles — a number unmatched by any other celebrated tenor in history. His more than 100 recordings of complete operas, compilations of arias and duets, and crossover discs include Deutsche Grammophon's anthology of the complete Verdi arias for tenor and EMI's albums of Wagnerian roles that he has not sung on stage: Siegfried in both Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, and Tristan in a complete recording of Tristan und Isolde. His extensive work in the recording studio has earned him eleven Grammy Awards and two Latin Grammy Awards, and he was won Emmy awards for the television film "Homage to Seville" and for the Met's "Silver Gala" program. He has also made more than fifty music videos in addition to four feature films of operas: Carmen, La traviata, Otello and Tosca. He has conducted many opera performances with the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, the Vienna State Opera, and LA Opera, among many other ensembles, and symphonic concerts with the Chicago Symphony, National Symphony, London Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, and numerous other orchestras. In 1990, Domingo and his colleagues José Carreras and the late Luciano Pavarotti spontaneously formed the Three Tenors, which performed from time to time and with enormous success all over the world and attracted many new fans to opera.

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Photo by Bob Millard
James Conlon

One of the world's preeminent conductors, James Conlon has cultivated a vast symphonic, operatic and choral repertoire, and has conducted virtually every major symphony orchestra in North America and Europe. Conlon is music director of LA Opera, the Ravinia Festival and the Cincinnati May Festival, where he celebrated his 30th anniversary in 2009. Conlon served as principal conductor of the Paris National Opera (1995-2004); general music director of the City of Cologne, Germany (1989-2002); and music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic (1983-1991). He has conducted more than 250 performances at the Metropolitan Opera since his debut in 1976.

Through worldwide touring to North and South America, Asia and Europe, an extensive discography and frequent television appearances, Conlon has become one of today's most recognized conductors. He is also known for his work with young musicians, and for his efforts to raise public consciousness to the significance of works of composers whose lives and compositions were suppressed by the Nazi regime. For his efforts in championing these works he received the Crystal Globe Award from the Anti-Defamation League. In 2009, Conlon was awarded two Grammy Awards, Best Classical Recording and Best Opera Album, for conducting LA Opera's production of Weill's Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny released on EuroArts DVD. He is the recipient of a Medal of the American Liszt Society, Italy's Premio Galileo 2000 Award and the Opera News Award for his distinguished achievement in opera. He was named an Officier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government in 1996, and in 2004 was promoted to Commander. Conlon also received France's highest distinction from the President of the French Republic, Jacques Chirac — the Légion d'Honneur.

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Photo by Steve Henry
Anthony Freud

Anthony Freud was appointed as Houston Grand Opera's (HGO) third general director and first CEO in July 2005, and began work full-time with the company in March 2006. Since joining HGO, he has seen the completion of a five-year strategic plan, inclusive of a rolling three year business plan; the staging of acclaimed new mainstage productions, three world premieres; the launch of a multi-year cycle of works by Benjamin Britten; the creation of HGOco, a radical initiative aiming to deepen HGO's relevance throughout Houston and to restore culture and the arts to positions of central importance in our communities; the Founder's Council for Artistic Excellence, a multi-year giving society that has to date resulted in over $7.5 million of pledges and income; and the establishment of the NEXUS Initiative, a new audience development program that provides underwriting for free and affordably-priced performances for new audiences.

As general director of the Welsh National Opera (WNO), Freud produced 120 performances annually throughout England and Wales. Under his leadership, WNO established long-term relationships with the BBC, and nurtured lasting relationships with many of the field's brightest conductors, directors and singers. During his time as general director, the company doubled its contributed income and was heavily involved in the campaign to build the new $210 million Wales Millennium Centre, the recent opening of which garnered international acclaim.

Freud lived in Holland as executive producer for Philips Classics (a division of PolyGram), an experience that afforded him an insider's knowledge on electronic media initiatives and the recording industry.

Freud graduated, with honors, with a law degree from the University of London King's College in 1978 and qualified as an attorney in 1979. From 2002 until 2005, Freud served as chairman of Opera Europa, Europe's largest professional opera association (affiliated with OPERA America) consisting of 90 member companies from 29 different countries. He currently is chairman of the board of OPERA America. In 2006, he was appointed a trustee of the United Kingdom's National Endowment for Science, Technology, and the Arts, making him the only performing arts representative on the board, which oversees a $500 million endowment to promote talent, creativity and innovation. He was awarded the honor of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) from Queen Elizabeth II during her 2006 Birthday Awards.

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Photo by Monika Rittershaus
Achim Freyer

Achim Freyer made his LA Opera debut with Bach's Mass in B-minor in 2002, returning in 2003 for La Damnation de Faust. His staging of Der Ring des Nibelungen for LA Opera began last season with Das Rheingold and Die Walküre. His new production of Götterdämmerung will follow in April, followed by three complete presentations of the Ring cycle in the summer of 2010. He studied painting before turning to theater, staging productions with a number of theater companies, including the Berliner Ensemble and the Burgtheater in Vienna. In 1982, he directed a production of Die Zauberflöte in Hamburg which made theater history and still sells out to this day. The production appeared also in Vienna at the Salzburg Festival and the Schwetzingen Festival, and in Strasbourg at the Opéra National du Rhin. His other productions include Der Freischütz in Stuttgart, Tristan und Isolde in Brussels, Turandot/Persephone in Venice, Haydn's L'Anima del Filosofo for the Schwetzingen Festival and Ariodante at the Frankfurt Opera. Freyer has undertaken world premieres of works by Helmut Lachenmann, Dieter Schnebel, Mauicio Kagel, Philip Glass, Erhard Grosskopf and Alvin Curran. The world premiere of Sciarrino's Macbeth at the Schwetzinger Festival was later performed in Frankfurt, Graz and New York. His most recent projects include the world premiere of Luca Francesconi's Ballata (Brussels), Salome (Deutsche Oper Berlin), Die Zauberflöte (Moscow, Warsaw), Médée and La traviata (Mannheim), Unsuk Chin's Alice in Wonderland (Munich) and Eugene Onegin (Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Berlin). In 1992, he founded the Freyer Ensemble, with which he has created over 20 large-scale theater productions.

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David Kasunic

Assistant Professor of Music History and Cultural Studies David Kasunic received his Ph.D. in musicology from Princeton University in 2004, and taught both at Princeton and Haverford College prior to arriving at Occidental in fall 2008. He wrote his dissertation on Chopin, opera and the reception of singing in 19th-century France, work that has given rise to several related articles and to his current long projects on piano-vocal scores of opera, on 19th-century landscape art, and on the relationship between diagnostic pathology and music analysis. Three other current projects include articles on the early reception of the music of Gustav Mahler, on the relationship between dance and piano technique in Chopin’s music, and on the relationship between music and food. This latter project will assume the form of an upper-level interdisciplinary seminar offered at the College next spring.

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Diane Paulus

American Repertory Theater Artistic Director Diane Paulus is a director of opera and theater. Her recent theater work includes The Public Theater's revival of Hair at the Delacorte in Central Park, now transferred to Broadway (nominated for eight Tony Awards, including Best Director, as well as winner of a Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama League Award for Best Revival of a Musical). She is the creator and director of The Donkey Show, a disco adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which ran for six years Off-Broadway, and toured internationally to London, Edinburgh, Madrid and Evian, France. As an opera director, her productions include Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, The Turn Of The Screw, Così fan tutte and all three Monteverdi operas: Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, L'incoronazione di Poppea and Orfeo at Chicago Opera Theater. She is a frequent collaborator with British conductor Jane Glover. In 2002, their critically acclaimed production of Orfeo was presented as part of The Monteverdi Cycle at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York City. Paulus has taught at Barnard College/Columbia University and the Yale School of Drama, and was recently appointed Professor of the Practice in Harvard University's English Department. She is a 2009 recipient of the Harvard College Women's Professional Achievement Award and Columbia University's I.A.L. Diamond Award, presented each year to a Columbia University alumnus/a who has demonstrated continued commitment to and has found success in the arts.

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Marc A. Scorca

Marc A. Scorca joined OPERA America in 1990 as president and CEO, and is responsible for the strategic leadership and management of the entire organization. Since that time, the OPERA America membership has grown from 120 opera companies to nearly 2,500 organizations and individuals. An additional 16,000 subscribers now receive a variety of free and fee-based services.

A strong advocate of collaboration, Scorca has led several cross-disciplinary projects, including the Performing Arts Research Coalition, National Music Coalition and the first National Performing Arts Convention. Under his leadership, OPERA America has administered two landmark funding initiatives in support of the development of North American operas and opera audiences and launched a $20 million endowment effort in 2000 to create a permanent fund dedicated to supporting new works and audience development activities.

Scorca has led strategic planning retreats for opera companies and other cultural institutions internationally, and has participated on panels for federal, state, and local funding agencies, as well as for numerous private organizations. He also appears frequently in the media on a variety of cultural issues. Scorca attended Amherst College where he graduated with high honors in both history and music.

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Marc I. Stern

Marc I. Stern is vice chairman and interim chief executive officer of The TCW Group Inc., an asset management firm with over $100 billion in assets under management. Stern is a member of the management committee of Sociètè Gènèrale Group and Chairman of Sociètè Gènèrale's Global Investment Management and Services (GIMS) North America unit. TCW was acquired by Sociètè Gènèrale in 2001. Stern currently serves as a director of Qualcomm, Inc. (NASDAQ), a cirector of Rockefeller & Co., Inc. and is a member of the Advisory Board and an owner of the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club. He also serves on the Boards of the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the California Science Center, the Aspen Music Festival and School, the California Institute of Technology and Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Stern was recently named as one of the 100 most powerful individuals in Southern California by the Los Angeles Times, as well as one of the 30 LA notables who "wield their clout with kindness." He has also been appointed as a "Commandeur de l'Ordre National du Mèrite" by the President of France. A native of Vineland, NJ, Stern holds degrees from Dickinson College, Columbia University Graduate School of Public Law and Government and Columbia University School of Law.

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General Session Speakers



Ronald Florance

Ronald Florance is a senior vice president and director of investment strategy and asset allocation at Wells Fargo Private Bank. His responsibilities include providing comprehensive strategic asset allocation, financial planning and investment management solutions for affluent and high-net-worth individuals and families. Florance has more than 20 years experience in financial services, with 15 of them in investment management. Earlier in his career, Florance worked for Wells Fargo/Nikko Investment Advisors as the lead portfolio manager in the strategic wealth group. He later managed the quantitative equity strategies at First Interstate Bank and The Vanguard Group. Florance has experience managing private client assets and mutual fund portfolios, as well as developing strategic and tactical asset allocation policies. Florance earned his B.S. in applied mathematics and economics from Brown University. He was awarded a Chartered Financial Analyst® designation in 1995. Florance chairs the Wealth Management Asset Allocation Committee, is a voting member of the Due Diligence Committee and works closely with the chief investment officer on the Investment Policy Committee.

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David McIntosh

David McIntosh is a strategy consultant, teacher, futurist and facilitator. He is the co-author, along with Stan Davis, of The Art of Business. McIntosh has spent the last decade helping arts organizations and businesses work more effectively and creatively. He helps boards become more engaged and effective by affirming their fundamental role of "owning the brand" of their organizations. He has worked with boards of opera companies in Houston, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Austin and Sarasota, addressing questions of mission, strategy and governance. Since 1995, he has taught executive development programs at companies in over a dozen countries, on topics including finance, strategy, innovation, post-merger integration and personal leadership. McIntosh is on the faculty of the Harvard Extension School, where he created and now teaches a course on behavioral economics and decision-making. The essays and book reviews McIntosh wrote while at the Ernst & Young Center for Business Innovation can be found online at dsmcintosh.com. McIntosh has been a featured speaker at conferences and conventions in North America, Europe and Asia, including the 2004 and 2008 National Performing Arts Conventions, the 2009 Arts Marketing Project Conference and several of OPERA America's annual conferences. He served as treasurer of OPERA America, where he was on the board of directors for six years.

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Gregory C. Swinehart

Gregory C. Swinehart is the United States and North American managing partner of Deloitte’s Forensic & Dispute Services practice. Swinehart has spent 23 years providing specialized economic, operational and other consulting services to clients; he has been with Deloitte over 14 years. Prior to joining Deloitte, he was a partner in a boutique consulting firm. Before getting his M.B.A. and starting in the consulting world, he was a product and process engineer at 3M. Prior to his current roles at Deloitte, he led practices in Minneapolis, New York and Chicago. Swinehart has provided service to clients in a number of areas, including economic modeling, valuation, bankruptcy and business process improvement. He has extensive experience as an expert witness. He has been quoted in a number of major publications, he has published professional articles and he has given numerous presentations to professional groups. Swinehart has an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering, an M.B.A. in finance from the University of Chicago and he completed all requirements but his dissertation for a Ph.D. in finance from the University of Minnesota. He is a licensed certified public accountant, a chartered financial analyst and a certified management accountant. Swinehart serves or has served on a number of boards of directors.

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Timothy H. Throckmorton

Newly appointed as the national director of philanthropic services at Wells Fargo Private Bank, Timothy H. Throckmorton is the senior business unit leader with the overall responsibility to provide strategic direction, functional oversight and leadership to the Wells Fargo national philanthropic business. He leads a team of approximately 100 philanthropic specialists across the country, who manage over $17 billion of assets in endowments, private foundations, personal charitable trusts, donor advised funds and institutional planned gifts. Prior his new role at Wells Fargo, Throckmorton was a part of the philanthropic leadership team at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and, before the merger, co-led the philanthropic business at Merrill Lynch Trust Company. Before he joined Merrill Lynch Trust Company, he worked with philanthropic individuals and charitable institutions at U.S. Trust and was a trusts and estates partner of various law firms, including New York-based Davidson, Dawson & Clark LLP. Throckmorton holds an L.L.M. in taxation from Quinnipiac Law School, a law degree from New York Law School and a finance and marketing degree from the University of Denver. He is admitted to practice in New York and Connecticut and has been active in various bar associations. A frequent speaker on charitable topics, he has participated in numerous seminars for professional groups and assisted charitable organizations to explain charitable giving techniques to their constituencies, including an original entertaining case study for the Metropolitan Opera Association titled, The Magic Statute or Why the Queen of the Night needs an Estate Plan.

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Seminar Speakers



Jim Bell

Jim Bell began his career at the Music Center over 40 years ago as an usher while in college. After graduating, he was offered a job in the box office for the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera under the management of the late Edwin Lester. In the following years, he worked in box offices for the Los Angeles Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Shubert Theatre, and was also house manager/events coordinator at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium from 1985 through 1988. In 1988, he returned to the Music Center as assistant box office manager for LA Opera, and in 2000 became the box office manager/treasurer, a post he still holds. 2010-2011 marks his 22nd season with the company.

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Peter Bilotta

Peter Bilotta is the director of development for Portland Opera, which serves more than 500,000 people annually through its performances, education and community programs, and broadcasts. In this role, he oversees a $4 million annual fund accounting for half of Portland Opera’s $8 million operating budget, as well as a $30 million capital and endowment campaign. Bilotta is a certified fund raising executive (CFRE) with nearly 25 years of experience in nonprofit leadership and development. Prior to coming to Portland Opera, he spent seven years as the director of development for the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, worked in development for the Tony Award-winning Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis and served for nine years in executive positions with the Boy Scouts of America. Bilotta was the national treasurer for Theater for Young Audiences USA, the U.S. chapter of the International Association of Theatre for Youth; he served as vice president of the Greater Cincinnati Planned Giving Council; chaired Leave a Legacy Greater Cincinnati; and was the vice chair of the City of Cincinnati Arts Allocation Committee. A graduate of the University of Saint Thomas, he holds degrees in business administration, political science and economics, as well as a certificate in nonprofit management.

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Ian Campbell

Ian Campbell sang with the Australian Opera from 1967 to 1974, was with the Australia Council for two years and from 1976 was general manager of The State Opera of South Australia. In He came to America in 1982 as an assistant artistic administrator at the Metropolitan Opera, and in July 1983 moved to San Diego Opera as general director and artistic director. His stage directing includes La bohème and The Tales of Hoffmann for The State Opera of South Australia, and Katya Kabanova, Falstaff , Il trovatore, Tosca, La traviata and La bohème for San Diego Opera. For 20 years, he produced and hosted programs on San Diego radio. In 2003, his At the Opera with Ian Campbell was awarded First Place for a Radio Series, as well as Best of Show for Radio by the San Diego Press Club. He is a past chairman of OPERA America. Born in Australia, he is a graduate of the University of Sydney and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.

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Ling Chan

Ling Chan is the social media manager for Vancouver Opera. Since Vancouver Opera's first foray into social media in fall 2008, Chan has been instrumental in increasing Vancouver Opera's presence and success online. Chan is responsible for such innovations including Blogger Night at the Opera, Flickr Fashion at the Opera and OperaNinja, as well as being the voice behind the @VancouverOpera Twitter stream, the author of numerous blog posts and the series "Operamania 101." Chan has placed Vancouver Opera in the forefront of social media for the opera industry in the span of 10 short months. Chan brings her background in media, fashion, events management and photography together to design innovations for Vancouver Opera's social media team. Chan graduated with distinction from the British Columbia Institute of Technology's public relations program.

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John Conklin

John Conklin's set and costume designs are seen in opera houses, theaters and for ballet companies across the world. He has designed for Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Opéra National de Paris, The Dallas Opera and Seattle Opera. Conklin's credits at the Metropolitan Opera include costumes for Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina, sets and costumes for John Corigliano's Ghosts of Versailles, and sets for Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor and Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande. For Glimmerglass Opera, where he served as associate artistic director for 18 years, he designed sets for Puccini's La fanciulla del West and Mozart's Abduction from the Seraglio, and costumes for Richard Rodney Bennett's Mines of Sulfur, among numerous others. Conklin has designed extensively on Broadway, receiving a Tony Award nomination for his set design for The Au Pair Man. He recently received the Robert L.B. Tobin Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theatrical Design. Conklin joined Boston Lyric Opera in January 2009 as the company's artistic advisor and teaches at the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU.

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Ceci Dadisman

Ceci Dadisman is the e-marketing communications manager at Palm Beach Opera. She handles all aspects of the company's technology and new media projects, including social media, Web site, iPhone app and live Web streaming. She is the voice of the company’s Twitter stream (@PalmBeachOpera), as well as their Backstage Blog and Facebook fan page. She has brought Palm Beach Opera to the forefront of the social media and new technology realm proving that companies of all sizes and budgets can do great things in the world of electronic communication. Dadisman was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, and graduated from West Virginia University (let's go Mountaineers!) with a music degree in vocal performance and is a professional singer.

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Susan Danis

Susan Danis has served as executive director of Sarasota Opera for the past 10 years. During this time, the company's budget has grown from $3.2 million to more than $8 million, both the board of trustees and staffing structures have been reconfigured to meet the changing needs of the company, and a $20 million renovation of the opera's 1926 historic theater has been completed, as well as the renovation of the company's 16-unit apartment complex. Danis had previously served as the general director of Lake George Opera at Saratoga for eight years. Prior to that, she served as a consultant to both nonprofit performing arts groups and start-up firms in the San Francisco Bay area. She has been a member of the adjunct faculty at Hudson Valley Community College and Siena College in the Capital Region of New York, where she taught courses in marketing, advertising, human resource development and business communications. She worked in New York City for the Young Adult Institute, where she produced an award-winning educational television show, initiated successful large-scale programs and special events, and served as the agency's lobbyist. Danis is the treasurer of OPERA America's board, and was recently appointed secretary/treasurer of the board of the Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau. Danis holds a M.B.A. from the University of Hartford's Paris Program and a B.S. from Indiana University.

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David B. Devan

David B. Devan joined Opera Company of Philadelphia (OCP) in January 2006 as managing director — overseeing all income-generating departments, as well as board development and community programs. In March 2009, he was appointed as executive director. Since his arrival, Devan has worked closely with board and administration on strategic planning initiatives and building partnerships within the community. Key achievements include the first cycle of the education department's Hip H'Opera collaboration with Arts Sanctuary's after-school program; the successful partnership between OCP, Curtis Institute of Music and Kimmel Center Presents to produce a fully-staged opera each season at the Perelman Theater with joint marketing strength; OCP's selection for a Wallace Foundation Excellence Award to support marketing programs; and a $5 million fundraising campaign supporting the company's artistic goals, of which $4.1 million has been raised in a most difficult economic climate. Devan came to OCP from Pacific Opera Victoria, where he was executive director from 1997 to 2005. During his tenure at Pacific Opera Victoria, his accomplishments included maintaining accumulated surpluses and increasing the company's annual giving more than threefold, establishing a successful endowment campaign strategy and achieving strong subscription sales while pursuing an artistically innovative program.

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Margo Drakos

Margo Drakos is chief operating officer and co-founder of InstantEncore.com, a classical music platform providing 21st century tools for artists and arts organizations to harness the power of the internet to connect with fans anywhere, anytime. Drakos’ focus is on InstantEncore's business development and strategy and is currently working with over 1,500 partner organizations ranging from Aspen Music Festival to Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, LA Opera and the New York Philharmonic. Prior to her work in business and technology, Drakos performed as a solo cellist and chamber musician throughout Asia, Europe, North and South America. Drakos has served as artist-in-residence and professor at the Manhattan School of Music and Aspen Music Festival, and has recorded and produced for Arabesque, Sony and Longhorn Records. Drakos is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and received a Master’s in international affairs from Columbia University. Her leadership abilities were recognized this year with the appointment by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader, a community of extraordinary achievers under the age of 40, headed by Queen Rania of Jordan.

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Kay Sprinkel Grace

Kay Sprinkel Grace, CFRE, is an organizational consultant, providing workshops and consultation to local, regional, national and international organizations in strategic development planning, case and board development, staff development and other issues related to leadership of the fundraising process. From March 2004 to June 2007, she was principal external consultant to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's Major Giving Initiative. 110 public television licensees participated in the program, which included webinars, on-site consulting and facilitation of national meetings. She speaks frequently at regional, national and international conferences, including CASE, AFP, AHP and DMA. She is the author of six books, and she has contributed chapters to several books. Her B.A. (communications-journalism) and M.A. (education) are from Stanford University, where she served as the first woman Volunteer Chair of the Stanford Fund. She has received Stanford's highest award for volunteer service, the Gold Spike, as well as their Associates' Award, Outstanding Achievement Award, Award of Merit and Centennial Medal.

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John Nuckols

John Nuckols is the vice president, advancement for LA Opera. He oversees individual, corporate, foundation, government and planned giving. He joined the company in 2002 and since that time has led the fundraising for several special artistic initiatives, including LA Opera’s first production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. Prior to joining LA Opera, he was a director of development for the Andrus Gerontology Center at the University of Southern California (USC). He has lectured on arts fundraising at UCLA and USC, where he has also taught a class on arts management.

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JoAnn LaBrecque-French

JoAnn LaBrecque-French is currently the director of marketing and communications for Washington National Opera, a position she has held since February 2008. Previously, LaBrecque-French was the director of program resources at Neuhaus Education Center in Houston, TX, a professional teacher development organization where she developed and implemented marketing, Web site and communications initiatives. Her extensive background in performing arts marketing and communications includes working at Houston Grand Opera for 13 years in various capacities, including the director of marketing and communications; public relations manager for LA Opera; and as an account executive for Davidson & Choy Publicity in Los Angeles, where she managed clients including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and Los Angeles Master Chorale. Her board and committee leadership includes OPERA America Strategic Planning, NEA Opera Honors, Fairfax Police Youth Rugby and Robinson Crew. Previous board and committee leadership includes the Laura Recovery Center for Missing Children, Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, The Orange Show for Visionary Art, Texas Contemporary Dance Initiative and other nonprofit and volunteer organizations. LaBrecque-French is currently a member of the American Marketing Association, D.C. Marketing Association, Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington and Destination D.C.

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Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith was appointed president of The Minnesota Opera in 1986, having previously served as general manager, company administrator and production stage manager for the company since joining the staff in 1981. In his current position as chief executive officer, Smith is responsible for all company affairs — artistic, financial and managerial. Since Smith became the company's leader, The Minnesota Opera's budget and audiences have more than doubled. Prior to coming to Minnesota, he was based in New York as a freelance production/stage manager and assistant director, working with numerous regional opera companies including Virginia Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Theatre of Rochester and San Francisco Spring Opera. He received a B.A. in piano performance from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1973 and did graduate work in conducting and stage direction at Santa Barbara and the University of Southern California.

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Marc van Bree

Dutch native Marc van Bree is a public relations practitioner with more than five years of experience communicating — on and offline — in the nonprofit environment. van Bree is currently employed as public affairs associate at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, where he implements research dissemination strategies and produces events and conferences. He joined Chapin Hall from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, where he served as public relations coordinator and later as publicist. At the Chicago Symphony, van Bree took on an active role in the organization's online communications strategy. He developed the company's first online, multimedia press room; initiated the organization's Facebook and Twitter pages; built relationships with industry and local bloggers; and managed weekly dynamic Web content for BP CSO Radio Broadcasts. Prior to his position at the Chicago Symphony, he worked as assistant account executive at Carol Fox & Associates, Chicago's largest marketing and public relations firm dedicated solely to promoting the arts. van Bree graduated cum laude from Columbia College Chicago with a B.A. in marketing communication and a concentration in public relations.

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Diane Wondisford

This year, Diane Wondisford celebrates her 28th anniversary with Music-Theatre Group (MTG). During her tenure, she has produced more then 80 new works, either on her own or with MTG's founder, Lyn Austin. Highlights of this extraordinary body of work include Diedre Murray and Cornelius Eady's Running Man, directed by Diane Paulus, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Julie Taymor and Elliot Goldenthal's Juan Darien, nominated for five Tony Awards including Best Musical; and Tan Dun and Paul Griffith's Marco Polo, directed by Martha Clarke, and winner of the Grawemeyer Award. In New York City, she is on the board of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York, the service organization for the nation¹s largest not-for-profit theatre community. Recently, she designed and co-directed The New School for Drama's Summer Music Theatre Immersion Experience, an intensive training conducted by distinguished master creative and performing artists as its teachers.

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Darren K. Woods

Darren K. Woods was appointed general director of Fort Worth Opera in July 2001. Under his leadership, the company has increased subscription and donor bases, and has received rave reviews for production quality. The Fort Worth Opera Studio was founded during the 2002-2003 season with four members who participated in mainstage productions, performed for more than 100,000 children and received coaching and lessons from visiting guest artists. In May 2007, Fort Worth Opera converted its regular fall/winter schedule to a condensed festival format. During the inaugural festival season, the company presented its first world premiere: Frau Margot by Thomas Pasatieri. Prior to his appointment in Fort Worth, he was the general director of the Shreveport Opera (LA), where he founded Shreveport Opera Express (SOX) — a touring arts-in-education program. Until January 2008, Woods also served as general and artistic director of the Seagle Music Colony in upstate New York. He has served as a panel judge for the Richard Tucker Foundation, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Lieber Competition, the Denver Opera Guild Competition, the Dallas Opera Guild Competition and the Marguerite McCammon Competition. Woods performed as a tenor for 20 years at New York City Opera, Carnegie Hall, Washington National Opera, L'Opera Madrid, Opera Trieste, Seattle Opera, The Dallas Opera, Baltimore Opera and The Santa Fe Opera.

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Open Session Speakers

Michael Alexander has been the director of Grand Performances' free public concert series presented in the heart of downtown Los Angeles since 1990. In addition to leading this award-winning concert series — also known for its innovative community-involvement programs — focusing on the cultural diversity of his native city, he serves as the State Assembly's appointee to and current chair of the California Arts Council, and on numerous nonprofit arts and community service boards where his skills in policy development, government affairs and community relations are regularly put to use. He is a strong believer that the arts play a vital role in building healthier communities.

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John Avery is the director of production and production training at The Banff Centre. Avery started his professional production career over 30 years ago in the entertainment industry when he pursued the three-year intensive Theatre Craft and Design program at The Banff Centre. After graduating, he was hired on as head of lighting at Theatre Calgary, and in 1987, technical director for Alberta Theatre Projects. In 1989, Avery rejoined The Banff Centre, this time as technical director and was appointed director of production in 1994. While at The Banff Centre, he developed and established with industry professionals the competency profiles for all the theater production occupations, building it to become a recognized model of best practices for industry and education in Canada. He serves on the Cultural Human Resources Council (CHRC) Theatre Technicians Steering Committee, as well as the OPERA America Technical/Production Committee.

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Julie Baron is the co-founder of YAP Tracker, the online audition management service for classical singers. Having left a career in technology solutions consulting and training to pursue her passion for the arts, Baron earned her M.M. in vocal performance from the Manhattan School of Music in 2004. She enjoyed a career as a mezzo-soprano singing with many companies throughout the U.S. and abroad, but her affinity for both technology and the arts ultimately guided her to create the popular Web site. YAP Tracker was created in 2005 and has quickly garnered tremendous acclaim for its comprehensive, worldwide list of opportunities and online application service, as well as its organizational features for singers, teachers and company administrators alike.

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Sandra Bernhard is currently director of HGOco, Houston Grand Opera's initiative which explores ways of making opera relevant to its changing audiences. She has directed mainstage productions at companies including Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera and San Francisco Opera. Bernhard held the J. Ralph Corbett Distinguished Chair of Opera at the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) from 2003 to 2007. She has written librettos and opera education materials for productions at San Francisco Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Virginia Opera, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera and Florida Grand Opera, and has taught for the Merola Opera Program, the Adler Fellowship Program, the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Louisiana State University, Utah Opera Young Artist Program, Florida Grand Opera Young Artist Program, Rising Star Audition Program and Chautauqua Opera, among others.

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Susan Boren is an active member of Spencer Stuart's Board and CEO Succession, Life Sciences and Education, Nonprofit & Public Policy practices. Her recent assignments have included CEOs and board members for CARE USA, Habitat for Humanity International, The Kresge Foundation, The Minnesota Orchestral Association, Trinity Health Systems, The Bush Foundation, The University of Minnesota Foundation, and Fairview Health Systems. Boren's expertise in governance has been particularly helpful to Spencer Stuart clients whose boards are undergoing significant transition — either in size, composition or in beginning to work with a new CEO. Prior to joining Spencer Stuart, Boren was president of her own consulting company, where she advised CEOs and boards of directors in the areas of leadership and governance. For 15 years, Boren was a senior executive with Target Corporation. She received a B.A. from Antioch College and an M.B.A. in finance from the University of Dayton.

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LA Opera Director of Education and Community Programs Stacy Brightman is directly responsible for the oversight and production of programs which currently serve 160,000 students and family members annually. She spent 19 years working in the performing arts in Los Angeles, holding senior management positions at Theatre/LA and Shakespeare Festival/LA, and faculty positions at USC, Loyola Marymount University and the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. She frequently serves as a grants and conference panelist for the City of Los Angeles, County of Los Angeles, City of Pasadena's Arts Commission and California Arts Council. In 2009, she was honored by the Opera League of Los Angeles with the Peter Hemmings Award. Brightman holds a Bachelor's degree in theater and religious studies from Pomona College and a Doctorate in theater research from the University of California, Davis.

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Cynthia Campoy Brophy is the executive director and founder of The HeArt Project, a nonprofit arts education organization that brings yearlong programs to 24 continuation high-schools throughout Los Angeles County. Prior to founding The HeArt Project, she was publicist for the Museum of Contemporary Art. Campoy Brophy is a graduate of the Coro Southern California Arts Leadership Fellows program, the recipient of the 1997 Vision Award recognizing social entrepreneurial leaders and was a fellow with the Eureka Foundation. She served as a member of the Los Angeles County Arts Education Program Advisory Group that developed Arts for All: Los Angeles County Regional Blueprint for Arts Education. In 2003, she was selected to attend the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders in the Arts. She currently serves as chair of the board of directors for Arts for LA, an arts advocacy nonprofit.

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Greg Carpenter joined the staff of Opera Colorado as director of development in 2004 and became general director in September 2007. Prior to joining Opera Colorado, he worked as a project manager and the manager of development with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. Carpenter has experience creating both short- and long-term, multi-faceted strategic plans and managing aggressive goals. His previous work experience includes two years as the artist and events manager for the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland. Prior to Carpenter’s arts administration career, he was a professional opera singer, performing leading and supporting roles at Glimmerglass Opera, Central City Opera, Sarasota Opera, Opera Theatre of North Virginia, Cleveland Opera and Lyric Opera Cleveland. He received a B.M. from Wittenberg University; a M.M. from Michigan State University and was a post-graduate studies/D.M.A. candidate at the University of Maryland School of Music.

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William J. H. Chapman joined Opera Boston (then known as Boston Academy of Music) as its second full-time employee in 2000, and has just completed his 10th season with the company. Hired as operations manager and now director of development and marketing, he is responsible for directing all marketing and fundraising activities at Opera Boston. During his tenure the company has grown from 2.5 full-time staff and a budget of $800,000 to 8.5 full-time staff and a budget of $2.8 million for 2009-2010. The company’s subscription base has quadrupled over the last five seasons to over 40% of capacity, and attendance in the 2009-2010 season was 89%, with two of three productions selling out. In the course of the same five seasons, unearned income at Opera Boston has increased by close to 30%, and earned income has doubled. Prior to joining Opera Boston, Chapman was audience development manager at Boston Lyric Opera.

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Beginning as development director of Cleveland Opera in July 2004, William Cole was integral in securing $1.1 million in funding for the unprecedented merger of Cleveland Opera and Lyric Opera Cleveland in 2006. As executive director, he is directly responsible for a development fundraising plan, prospect acquisition and cultivating relationships with foundations and corporations. Prior to his work in Cleveland, Cole was director of marketing and development for Winston-Salem Symphony from 1999 to 2004. Notably, during his five-year tenure there, he increased the symphony's annual fund by 56 percent. He received his Master's of arts administration from American University, at which he was a Theory Fellow in the department of performing arts.

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Alan Cooke is a marketing manager at Convio, a leading provider of marketing and fundraising solutions to the nonprofit sector. Cooke has worked in high-tech marketing for over 20 years, notably at Hewlett Packard Corporation where he worked on new product strategy. He has been a marketing manager at Convio for three years and frequently talks to nonprofit organizations about fundraising and marketing best practices. Cooke earned an M.A. from University College Dublin and an M.B.A. from HEC Paris. He loves opera, from Monteverdi to Messiaen.

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Samuel A. Culbert is an award-winning author, researcher and tenured professor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management. His laboratory is the world of work where he puts conventional managerial assumptions under a microscope to uncover and replace dysfunctional practices. Culbert has developed a blunt yet sensitive way of framing situations that allows for all parties to engage in open, non-judgmental discussions. He is author of Beyond Bullsh*t and, with Lawrence Rout, Get Rid of the Performance Review!, among other titles. SmartMoney Magazine named Beyond Bullsh*t on its 2008 list of 10 top reads. Culbert is the winner of a McKinsey Award for an article published in the Harvard Business Review, is a frequent contributor to management journals and has authored numerous chapters in leading management-related books. He holds a B.S. in systems engineering and Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

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Jim DeGood joined Lyric Opera of Kansas City as director of marketing and communications in March 2008. An employee of Kansas City performing arts organizations for most of his career, DeGood has worked with the Kansas City Symphony, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Mid-America Arts Alliance and Unicorn Theatre. As director of performing arts for Mid-America Arts Alliance, DeGood managed and awarded grants to support performing artists touring through a six-state region and developed the Latino Culture Project. As strategic marketing manager of the Kansas City Symphony, he was in charge of creation and implementation of subscription renewal and new acquisition sales campaigns. DeGood earned a Bachelor’s in communications studies from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He holds a Master’s in art administration from Goucher College in Baltimore, MD.

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Tracy Galligher is the director of marketing and communications for Opera Company of Philadelphia, where she has served in both marketing and public relations capacities since 1998. Prior to joining Opera Company of Philadelphia, she was a member of the marketing department at San Diego Opera and completed an OPERA America Fellowship focused on marketing, public relations and outreach. Her Fellowship assignments included Boston Lyric Opera, San Diego Opera, San Francisco Opera and an independent placement in the press office at English National Opera. A graduate of Villanova University, Galligher is a member of the Philadelphia Public Relations Association, Philadelphia Power PR, the board of directors for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund and the National Arts Strategies Future Leadership program.

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Olga Garay is the executive director of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), a position she assumed in 2007. Reporting directly to the Mayor of Los Angeles and managing a $35 million budget, the executive director is DCA’s chief administrative officer. Since her appointment, DCA has been awarded $8.8 million in funding support from private and public entities. Prior to joining the City, Garay was an independent producer and performing arts consultant who worked with organizations such as the Lincoln Center Festival, the National Performance Network and El Museo del Barrio. As program director for the arts for the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (1998-2005), Garay was responsible for the planning, design, management and evaluation of the Arts Program, one of the largest national arts funders in the United States. A total of $145 million was awarded to arts organizations during Garay’s seven-year tenure.

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Arlene Gladstone was appointed to the Vancouver Opera board of directors in 2001 and served as chair from 2004 to 2006. She serves on the committee on directors, compensation and special projects fundraising committees. Gladstone is also a trustee of the Vancouver Opera Foundation. She was chair of the 10th Canadian Arts Summit and has served on the advisory committee to Opera.ca to support the Canadian Opera Creation Fund. Since Gladstone retired as executive director of Family Services of the North Shore, she has been active in many civic activities including the Vancouver Foundation, Jewish Community Federation of Greater Vancouver, the Vancouver Police Board and Temple Sholom Synagogue.

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Michael Grice is director of education at Vancouver Opera. During his 34-year teaching career, he taught secondary school band and choral programs, and was the K-12 fine arts program coordinator for the Coquitlam school district (75 schools with 35,000 students). While in the classroom, his performing ensembles were successful in both regional and national festivals in Canada. Grice has held executive positions with the BC Music Educators Association, the Pacific Coast Music Festivals Association, the BC Arts Administrators Association and the BC Festival of the Arts. In addition, he has adjudicated numerous music festivals and presented clinics/workshops throughout BC. Grice is a graduate of the School Of Music, UBC, with a double major in trombone and voice. He continues to be active in community music as the music director of the 65-voice Adult Choir of the Coastal Sound Music Academy.

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David Grindle is the executive director of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT). Prior to this, he created the stage management curriculum for the Indiana University Department of Theatre and Drama. While at Indiana, he sought to give students the opportunity to explore stage managing all types of productions, including plays, musicals, operas, ballet and modern dance. His students have gone on to work at Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Santa Fe Opera, Blue Man Group, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and other regional theaters and opera companies around the U.S. He was the head of the B.F.A. Stage Management Degree standards committee and has been an active voice for stage manager training in the U.S. A stage manager for many years prior to teaching, he worked at The Atlanta Opera, Baltimore Opera, the Aspen Music Festival and Opera Columbus, among others.

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Lillian Groag is an actress, writer and director. Her acting credits include Broadway, Off-Broadway, Mark Taper Forum and regional theaters throughout the country. She has directed at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Old Globe Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Mark Taper Forum’s Taper Too, New York City Opera and Chicago Opera Theater, among others. Her plays The Ladies of the Camellias, The White Rose (AT&T award for New American Plays), The Magic Fire (Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays) and Menocchio and Midonis have been produced variously by the Old Globe Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Kennedy Center, The Guthrie Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Yale Repertory, among others. Upcoming engagements include A Nervous Splendour, adaptation, The Shaw Festival; Così fan tutte and Die Walküre at Virginia Opera; Agrippina at Boston Lyric Opera; and Diary of a Man who Disappeared with Frauenliebe und Leben for Chicago Opera Theater.

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Scott Guzielek has been artistic administration manager of Washington National Opera since 2006, after joining the company full-time in 2002. In this position, he assists Plácido Domingo and Christina Scheppelmann in all aspects of artistic planning, including casting, scheduling, budgeting, repertoire and season planning. Originally from upstate New York, he received a B.A. with honors in vocal performance from the State University of New York College at Geneseo and later earned an M.A. in arts management from American University. He was a soloist for four years at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church and a member and board president of the Thomas Circle Singers in Washington, D.C.

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Sam Helfrich has directed theater and opera at companies including Boston Lyric Opera, Portland Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Boston, Berkshire Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Wolf Trap Opera and Boston Baroque Orchestra, among others. Recent productions include The Turn of the Screw at Boston Lyric Opera, Philip Glass's Orphée at Portland Opera and Glimmerglass Opera, The Consul at Glimmerglass Opera, Louise and Amistad at Spoleto Festival/USA, Der Freischütz, Semele and Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny at Opera Boston, Aida at Opera Omaha, and Don Giovanni and Agrippina with Boston Baroque. Upcoming projects include Così fan tutte at Delaware Valley Opera, Les Indes Galantes with Boston Baroque, Michael Dellaira’s The Secret Agent with Center for Contemporary Opera, an off-Broadway production of Stephen Belber’s Tape, as well as the libretto for Dial M for Murder, the opera. He holds a B.A. in Russian literature and an M.F.A. in theater, both from Columbia University.

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Brian Holt is the author of OutWestArts.com, Los Angeles’ longest running independent performing arts blog. Now entering its fifth year, OutWestArts.com has become one of the principal voices on opera and classical music in Southern California, providing reviews and commentary on events both locally and around the country. Holt is not a journalist, nor a music or theater professional. He intends outwestarts.com as a platform for his own passions and interests in music and theater and to encourage discussion among readers.

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Paul Horpedahl is currently the production director for The Santa Fe Opera. He received his B.A. from the University of Washington in Seattle and began his career in theater production as an apprentice at The Santa Fe Opera. He has served as faculty technical director for San Francisco State University and as assistant technical director for the Juilliard School, Trinity Square Repertory Theatre, The Santa Fe Opera and The Santa Fe Festival Theatre. Prior to returning to The Santa Fe Opera 12 years ago, he was the production director of Skylight Opera Theatre in Milwaukee, WI.

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Julie House joined Boston Lyric Opera’s education & community programs department in 2007. She oversees all aspects of the company’s engagement programming, including its annual Opera for Young Audiences production, Open House at the Shubert Theatre and several adult lecture series. She also maintains the company’s relationships with the Boston public schools and the Boston Centers for Youth and Families. Prior to her work at Boston Lyric Opera, House served as education, community relations and diversity assistant for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She holds a B.A. in communication studies from Marquette University and a M.A. in theater education from Emerson College. In addition to her passion for arts education, House is a dedicated runner and coach for a Boston-area marathon training program.

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John D. Jones has served as general director of Opera Birmingham since 1999. In Birmingham, he has provided many young singers the opportunity to successfully expand their repertoire, and he has also brought many internationally-acclaimed artists to the city in both recital and staged performances. Sopranos Kallen Esperian, Elizabeth Futral, Renée Fleming and Angela Brown; mezzos Susan Graham and Kristine Jepson; tenor Jay Hunter Morris and baritone Nathan Gunn are among those performing for Birmingham audiences during the past decade. Prior to joining Opera Birmingham, Jones served as public relations director for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, marketing director for Opera Memphis and director of institutional development at Virginia Opera. He also completed an administrative internship at The Santa Fe Opera. As a young singer, he appeared in Opera Memphis productions of Carmen and Tosca, as well as serving as production manager for productions of Aida, La bohème and Ariadne auf Naxos.

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Marsha M. LeBoeuf has over 30 years of experience in costume design and management, and has served as the costume director for Washington National Opera since 1988, overseeing more than 140 productions. Prior to joining Washington National Opera, LeBoeuf was a freelance costume designer and held costume management positions at a number of companies, including Missouri Repertory Theater, Indiana University School of Music, Chicago Opera Theater and Central City Opera. LeBoeuf has been a guest speaker and lecturer for numerous organizations, including the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum for Women in the Arts, U.S. Institute for Theater Technology, Wolf Trap Opera, George Mason University and University of Maryland Opera Studio, where she recently designed costumes for Eugene Onegin and Xerxes. She has been a member of OPERA America’s Technical/Production Committee since 1995.

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Robin Lithgow is the administrative coordinator for the Arts Education Branch of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). She was born into a theater family and raised backstage, and is probably one of the only people on earth to have seen all of Shakespeare's plays before the age of 12. She has taught and produced theater with students from kindergarten through high school for 25 years. As theater specialist, then elementary arts coordinator and now administrative coordinator, Lithgow has worked for the past 11 years to embed substantive and sequential arts education into the core curriculum of all LAUSD schools from kindergarten through grade 12. LAUSD's Elementary Arts Program now has dance, music, theater and visual arts itinerant teachers in all 501 elementary schools. Lithgow believes, quite simply, that the arts are the best way to teach all things.

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Camille Lombardo brings over 20 years of corporate experience to her leadership role as executive director of Friends of the Observatory, the nonprofit support group for Griffith Observatory. Her experiences in management positions in major financial institution and growing a start-up photo lab in Santa Fe, NM into the largest full-service lab in the area were excellent training for her second career. Lombardo personally raised over $30 million in public and private funding for Griffith Observatory's renovation and expansion project, including $8.5 million from the State of California, and $4.25 million from the Federal government. She also worked closely with senior officials of the City of Los Angeles to secure $30 million in city funds, negotiated multi-million dollar exhibit and equipment contracts and now works closely with community partners to extend the reach of public astronomy and improve the community by "Inspiring the future, one imagination at a time."

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Treseen McCormick has over 19 years of experience in research and evaluation. As senior project director with the evaluation research program at WestEd, she directs national, state and local evaluations focusing on summer school, after school, arts education and elementary science. She has served as senior researcher on evaluations of distance learning, professional development, partnership, mathematics, science, comprehensive school reform, low performing high schools, charter schools and at-risk youth programs. McCormick has been a reviewer for the American Journal of Evaluation, and served as chair of the American Evaluation Association's Evaluating the Arts and Culture Topical Interest Group. She also co-authored a sourcebook for educators committed to the success of students experiencing homelessness, a prevention curriculum for addressing the needs of children in foster care and an article on equity issues in the Journal of Research on Educational Computing.

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Anne Midgette is the classical music critic of The Washington Post. Long a regular contributor of classical music and theater reviews to The New York Times, she has also written frequently for The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Town & Country, Opera News and many other publications. She is co-author of The King and I, a candid and controversial book about Luciano Pavarotti told from the perspective of his long-time manager, Herbert Breslin, and of the forthcoming memoir of the pianist Leon Fleisher, My Nine Lives, which will be published by the Knopf Doubleday Group on November 30.

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Andreas Mitisek has been the artistic and general director of Long Beach Opera since October 2003, where he has conducted a number of productions including Elektra, Bluebeard's Castle, Volo di Notte by Dallapiccola, Jenůfa and, most recently, The Ring of The Nibelung by Richard Wagner. He is also increasingly sought after as a guest conductor in North America, leading productions for Seattle Opera (Der Freischütz, Eugene Onegin and Così fan tutte), Opera Company of Philadelphia (Salome), Vancouver Opera (The Rake’s Progress), Austin Lyric Opera (Salome, Faust, Rigoletto), Hawaii Opera Theater (Le nozze di Figaro, Cavalleria rusticana and I Pagliacci) and Yale Opera (Le nozze di Figaro). Mitisek is originally from Vienna, Austria, where he studied organ and conducting at the Hochschule für Musik and Darstellende Kunst in Wien, and studied voice, piano, harpsichord and composition at the Konsvervatorium der Stadt Wien.

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Peggy Monastra is the director of promotion at G. Schirmer, Inc., the oldest continuously active North American music publisher and a part of the international Music Sales Group. Prior to G. Schirmer, which she first joined in 1993, she worked at the Library of Congress Music Division as a music specialist, with a focus on the Aaron Copland Collection. She holds a B.M. in piano pedagogy from Loyola University (New Orleans), and an M.A. in musicology from The Eastman School. She spent over 10 years teaching piano and music history in New Orleans, Cleveland, Rochester and Paris. As a performer, she has worked as a pianist/accompanist, sung in various choirs and played both Balinese and Javanese gamelan. She and her husband, conductor Steven Osgood, are proud parents to two young sons.

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Alan E. Muraoka has been working in the entertainment industry as a production designer and art director for film, television and corporate communication, as well as a theatrical set designer, for over 25 years. He has been honored with two Emmy nominations and three Art Directors' Guild Award nominations. He recently completed production designing the feature film Dirty Girl with Mila Jovavic, Mary Steenburgen and William H. Macy. Muraoka's art direction credits include Ace Ventura-Pet Detective, The Specialist, Washington Square, Little Miss Sunshine and Liberty Heights; the television series NYPD Blue and the miniseries The Company. Muraoka's theatrical projects have included Long Beach Opera productions of Ricky Ian Gordon's Orpheus and Euridice (staged in an Olympic swimming pool) and The Diary of Anne Frank (staged in an underground parking garage).

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Carol A. Penterman has been the executive director/CEO of the Nashville Opera Association since 1995. She is responsible for daily operations, staffing, programming, marketing, development, financial stability and strategic planning of the organization, which includes its three subsidiaries with combined assets of over $12 million: the Liff Opera Center LLC, NOA Foundation LLC and Nashville Opera Company LLC. She is a consultant with the Tennessee Arts Commission, specializing in board development, strategic planning, financial oversight and best business practices. She chairs the steering committee for the Nashville Arts Coalition, which handles lobbying activities directed at the Nashville Metro Council and TN Legislators, promoting increased funding for visual and performing arts in greater Nashville. Penterman is a member of the OPERA America board of directors and serves on the OPERA America Strategic Planning Advisory Committee.

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Kevin Ramach has been the production director for The Minnesota Opera for five seasons; previously, he worked for the company from 1988 to 1999. Ramach served as the production manager for Kentucky Opera for seven seasons. He has served as a member of OPERA America’s Technical/Production Committee for a number of years. Ramach was a freelance lighting designer working in opera, theater and industrials, and was also an assistant professor at Northern Illinois University. After graduating from Illinois Wesleyan University, he attended graduate school at The University of Michigan and has participated in the Non-Profit Leadership Certificate Program at Bellarmine University. He currently lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Sara, and their three children.

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Dr. Elizabeth C. Reilly serves as professor of educational leadership in the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA. In the years preceding her appointments in higher education, Dr. Reilly served as a classroom teacher and educational leader in K-12 school systems. Today, she presents and researches internationally on education, leadership, organizational culture and change, and corporate social responsibility. She works with leaders of multinationals, government and non-governmental organizations, and education systems on five continents. Throughout her career, Reilly has demonstrated a commitment to the visual and performing arts by achieving successful funding for the development, research and implementation of exemplary programs for school systems. She is the author and co-author of numerous books and journal articles on education and on leadership in a global society.

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Kenneth Reinhard is associate professor of English and comparative literature at UCLA. His fields of research and teaching include the history of critical and aesthetic theory, contemporary critical theory (psychoanalysis, philosophy, political theory) and Jewish studies. He is the author, with Slavoj Zizek and Eric Santner, of The Neighbor: Three Inquiries in Political Theology (University of Chicago Press, 2006); and, with Julia Reinhard Lupton, of After Oedipus: Shakespeare in Psychoanalysis (Cornell University Press, 1993), as well as articles on French and German philosophy, psychoanalysis, literature and the Bible. Reinhard also writes performance reviews for Opera Quarterly. Currently, he is writing a book on the political theology of the neighbor.

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Pianist, composer and arts educator Nicolas Reveles received a B.A. in music from the University of San Diego, an M.A. in music with an emphasis in choral conducting at the University of Redlands and his D.M.A. in piano performance from the Manhattan School of Music. In 1994, he began a four year relationship with the White Oak Dance Project as pianist for their chamber ensemble, providing integral musical accompaniment for the performance of Mikhail Baryshnikov and his company. Reveles is currently The Geisel Director of Education and Outreach for the San Diego Opera. He hosts OperaTalk on UCSD-TV, and recently won first place in Community Service and Public Affairs Programming from the San Diego Press Club. He composed, in collaboration with librettist J. Sherwood Montgomery of Lyric Opera San Diego, two operas based upon Grimm fairy tales: The Sleeping Beauty and Rumpelstiltskin, which toured with the San Diego Opera Ensemble. Sextet, a chamber opera for the GLBT Diversionary Theatre in San Diego, will be produced in fall 2010.

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Greg Robertson is the chief development officer of Houston Grand Opera (HGO), where he leads and oversees all aspects of HGO’s comprehensive development program. Previously, Robertson served as assistant vice president at Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, the largest not-for-profit healthcare system in Texas, where he was the chief architect and strategist of a multi-million dollar campaign for Life Flight, the nation’s most respected air ambulance service. He helped develop a major gifts program and led a comprehensive strategic planning process for the Memorial Hermann Foundation. In 1996, Robertson joined the University of Houston Law Center as director of external affairs; when he left in 2004, he had been promoted to assistant dean for advancement and was executive director of the University of Houston Law Foundation.

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Stephen D. Rountree was named president and CEO of the Music Center of Los Angeles in 2002. In 2008, he was also named to a concurrent appointment as chief operating officer of LA Opera. Previously, he served the J. Paul Getty Trust for 23 years, starting in 1980 as their deputy director of the museum. In 1984, he was appointed director of the Getty Center Building Program, with the responsibility for managing all aspects of project development, design and construction of the Getty Center in Los Angeles. He advises numerous nonprofit institutions on matters relating to nonprofit management and building programs. Rountree is a native of Southern California and a graduate of Occidental College in Los Angeles. He received a master's degree in management from the Drucker School at Claremont Graduate University.

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Patti Saraniero is principal of Moxie Research, an independent program evaluation firm based in San Diego that collaborates with arts and nonprofit organizations, as well as schools, districts and other educational entities. She specializes in teacher professional development in the arts and arts integration across the curriculum. Saraniero is on faculty at the Institute for Nonprofit Research and Education at the University of San Diego, as well as at the University of California San Diego in the graduate theater program. Her research, writing and teaching interests focus on arts integration, arts assessment, teacher professional development, teaching artists and ethics and the arts. She is currently the principal investigator for the U.S. Department of Education's Arts in Education grant at the San Diego County Office of Education. Previously, she directed the education programs at the Old Globe Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse, and worked as a stage manager in regional theaters around the country.

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Robert Schaub has been Seattle Opera's technical director for 20 years. He was a part of the Seattle Center Theatrical Systems Design Review Team that assisted in the design of Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, and he was named in the 2001 EDDY (Entertainment Design) for his work on Seattle Opera's 2001 production of Der Ring des Nibelungen. Schaub has extensive experience as technical director, lighting designer and technical producer for various aspects of the performing arts, including the Emmy Awards and the Tony Awards, and concerts for major recording artists. In 2002, he served as theater consultant and lighting designer for The Triple Door night club in Seattle.

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Marilyn Shapiro has been executive vice president of LA Opera since February 2006, having joined the company as director of institutional resources in December 2003. Prior to this, she devoted 25 years of service at the Metropolitan Opera. As executive director/external affairs, Shapiro created the Metropolitan Opera's modern development programs, in addition to directing two endowment campaigns and a capital improvements campaign. During her tenure, she also directed the Metropolitan Opera's marketing department in order to integrate the company's development and marketing programs. Shapiro has consulted on development, marketing and board governance issues with many American opera companies throughout her career in opera administration. Shapiro is a graduate of Wellesley College and received a Master's in public law and government from Columbia University.

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Geri Stengel is president of Stengel Solutions, a strategic planning and marketing firm, which works with for-profit companies and nonprofits. She consults on marketing issues, Internet strategy and writes business plans for companies looking for equity financing. Stengel has over 20 years of experience researching, positioning and marketing products and services. In 2002, she conceptualized and co-founded Women's Leadership Exchange (WLE): a for-profit company which educates women leading high-growth companies on how to take their company to the next level. She was responsible for forming national and local advisory boards, and recruited over 150 supporting organizations to help spread the word about WLE. Stengel serves on the National Association of Women's Business Owners-NYC Board, Boardroom Bound Advisory Board and is member of Advertising Women of New York's Executive Committee.

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Sherry Stern is deputy arts and culture editor for the Los Angeles Times. Her responsibilities include the paper's print and online coverage of music and dance and editing latimes.com's blog, Culture Monster. She has been at the Times for 19+ years in a number of editing positions, including daily calendar editor, calendar weekend editor and managing editor of the Los Angeles Times Magazine. She worked five years at the Orange County Register on the features copy desk, five years at the Arizona Daily Star as a reporter and TV critic and two years at the (now defunct) Vista Morning Press, where she was editor-in-chief. She has a Master's degree from Northwestern University and a Bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California.

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Mark Swed is music critic of the Los Angeles Times.

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Lloyd Tanner is director of development and marketing operations at LA Opera.

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Washington National Opera Director of Education Bruce Taylor's 30+ year career as a professional has taken him throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and South America working for theater, opera and dance companies, along with several symphony orchestras. His avocation had been finding ways to work with students and teachers until it became his professional focus. As a result of his experience, Watson-Guptil published his guide to arts in education, The Arts Equation. In his capacity as an arts educator, Taylor has worked with for various arts councils, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), teachers' unions, International Society of Education through Art (InSEA), the New Jersey Department of Education and other entities.

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Melia P. Tourangeau has been president and CEO of Utah Symphony | Utah Opera (USUO) since April 2008. USUO is the only combined 52-week orchestra and opera organization in the U.S. The company has an annual operating budget of $18 million and employs 60 full-time administrative staff and 85 contracted musicians. Prior to joining USUO, Tourangeau was president and CEO of Grand Rapids Symphony, where was responsible for the overall financial, operational and administrative management of the organization. She received her B.M. in 1994 from the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music with a major in piano performance and a minor in musicology and a Master's in public administration with an emphasis on nonprofit leadership at Grand Valley State University in April 2007.

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For over 25 years, Catherine Wadley has been working in performing arts administration and management, bringing a full range of business technology solutions to arts organizations around the world. After working at a number of arts organizations in administrative positions, including the Royal Opera House and the New York Philharmonic, she founded Bliss, a management consulting firm specializing in information technology for the performing arts. For CAMI, she designed and oversaw the development of a comprehensive management, booking and contracting software system still in use today. She founded XMLArts, a nonprofit consortium set up to define, promote and implement industry-wide standards and guidelines in software applications and data collection in arts organizations. Wadley joined ArtsVision in 2005, where she now leads the product development, making use of her deep industry, business and technical knowledge. Wadley holds degrees in fine arts, finance, music, law and arts administration.

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Keith A. Wolfe is managing director and artistic administrator of Fort Worth Opera, as well as the former artistic director of the Fort Worth Men's Chorus. Wolfe is extremely involved in the training of young singers through master classes, seminars and private consultations. He served for seven years as the general manager of the Seagle Music Colony, a young artist training program in upstate New York, where he has returned to conduct Mark Adamo's Lysistrata, and workshops of Jorge Martín's Before Night Falls and Joe Illick's Bliss. With Fort Worth Opera General Director Darren K. Woods, he has developed "The Ten Commandments of Auditions," which was featured in a recent article in Classical Singer magazine. Wolfe holds both Bachelor's and Master's degrees in education and opera.

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Chris Yates graduated from the Centre for Performing Arts in Adelaide in 1982 and pursued subsequent post Graduate Diploma studies in arts administration at Melbourne University in 2000. Yates is currently employed by Opera Australia in the position of director, technical administration &madsh; a position he has held since 2002. He commenced employment with the company in 1989 as deputy head of lighting following a freelance career in theater as production manager/lighting designer. He is a member of the executive team overseeing a department of approximately 100 permanent and seasonal staff. Areas of responsibility include production (lighting, staging, sound/AV, wigs and wardrobe), stage management, manufacturing (sets, costumes and props), premises, storage and transport and new media. Yates also develops co-production opportunities and partnerships as part of his responsibilities at Opera Australia.

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Francesca Zambello is general and artistic director designate of Glimmerglass Opera, and artistic advisor at San Francisco Opera, where she is directing a new Ring Cycle. Her work has been seen at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Washington National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and opera companies throughout Europe. She has staged plays and musicals on Broadway, the Royal National Theatre, Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Guthrie Theater, Vienna's Raimund Theater, the Bregenz Festival, the Sydney Festival, Disneyland, Berlin's Theater des Westens and the Kennedy Center. She has been awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government and the Russian Federation's medal for Service to Culture; other honors include three Olivier Awards, two Evening Standard Awards, two French Grand Prix des Critiques, the Helpmann Award, the Green Room Award, and the Golden Mask in Russia. Zambello began her career as the artistic director of the Skylight Opera Theater and as an assistant director to the late Jean-Pierre Ponnelle.

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Laura Zucker is executive director of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and director of the Master's in Arts Management program at Claremont Graduate University. The Arts Commission provides leadership in cultural services of all disciplines for the largest county in the U.S., encompassing 88 municipalities. The Arts Commission administers a $4.4 million grants program that funds more than 300 nonprofit arts organizations annually; provides leadership and staffing to support, Arts for All, the regional blueprint to restore arts education to all 80 school districts in Los Angeles County; funds the largest arts internship program in the country in conjunction with the Getty Foundation; programs the John Anson Ford Theatres and implements the county's civic art program. The Arts Commission also produces free community programs, including the L.A. Holiday Celebration, which is broadcast nationally on PBS.

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Network Roundtable and Focus Session Speakers

Ann Baltz is founder and artistic director of the performance training program, OperaWorks. A teacher of performance skills and operatic improvisation for opera companies, conservatories and universities, Baltz is also a speaker at national conventions, including National Association of Teachers of Singing, National Opera Association and Classical Singer. She is currently on the steering committee for OPERA America's Singer Training Forum, and a panelist for OPERA America's regional artist workshops. Her students, many of them graduates of OperaWorks, grace the operatic and concert stages, and consistently reach the highest honors in national and international competition. Among her teaching positions, Baltz served as director of apprentice programs for Orlando Opera and Opera Pacific, music director for the Wesley Balk Summer Institute and guest director of the Opera Workshops at Carnegie-Melon University. Baltz is on the opera faculty of California State University, Northridge.

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Jan Hultin has been general director of the Savonlinna Opera Festival since 2002. He is a member of many boards and committees; most recently the board of the Finnish National Opera Foundation and Finland’s Country Brand Delegation. Hultin was employed as a class teacher in the city of Espoo until 1987, when he was appointed producer and placed in charge of productions at the Finnish National Opera. He was the producer for the Finnish National Opera’s visit to LA Opera, which staged the world premiere of Aulis Sallinen’s Kullervo in 1992. In 1994, Hultin was appointed managing director of Savonlinna Opera Festival, responsible for, among other things, the company’s foreign visits and collaboration with international opera houses and festivals.

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Joan Lounsbery's career in arts administration spans more than 40 years. From 1992-1999, she was managing director of Skylight Opera Theatre; in fall 2009, she returned to the company as interim managing director. Upon her departure from the Skylight in 1999, 10 of its major donors came together to create and endow the Joan Lounsbery Arts Administration Fellowship Program. She has held positions with Carnegie Hall, Milwaukee's Artist Series at the Pabst, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters, the Wisconsin Foundation for the Arts and Humanities, the Santa Rosa Symphony, Music in the Vineyards and other organizations. Lounsbery has served on the board of OPERA America and Arts Midwest, and on review panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, Chamber Music America, Arts Midwest and the Wisconsin Arts Board. She has broad experience as an educator and speaker.

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Lyric soprano Anne Ricci has performed with various opera companies in and around New York City. In 2005, she made her Avery Fisher Hall debut with the National Chorale, singing the soprano solo in Aaron Copland's An Immorality. Ricci is the general managing diva (and a founding member) of Opera on Tap (OOT), a nonprofit organization that provides regular affordable operatic performances to New York City, New Orleans, Atlanta, Chicago and Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti, MI residents to date, while at the same time provides opportunity and support to young singers caught between the educational world and the professional world. Founded in 2005, OOT continues to garner great press and has developed into a multi-tiered organization encompassing over 45 singers, 25 instrumentalists, five staff members nationwide, and an active and engaged board of directors.

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Anna Wessely joined the Tessitura Network in January 2004 and manages the Asia Pacific team, as well as working in the software development department. Prior to working for the Tessitura Network, Wessely was with The Santa Fe Opera for seven seasons and she is proud to have been a part of the very first Tessitura licensee go live there in December 2000. Wessely has been working in the arts and technology for the balance of her career and focuses on both the technical areas, as well as an operational and business process focus.

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Wells Fargo SmART Bar Speakers

After a career working in television news, in such positions as an executive producer of MSNBC News Daytime, Lee Abrahamian made a career switch to her true love in 2006: opera. Now the director of communications for the Metropolitan Opera, she oversees all press, publicity and outreach efforts for the Met, including the company’s highly-acclaimed Live in HD series.

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Consultant Janice Mancini Del Sesto earned a reputation for turning cultural institutions around. While serving as general director of Boston Lyric Opera (BLO) from 1992-2008, she took the company from a mainstage season of nine performances of three operas in an 850-seat theater to as many as 28 performances of four productions in a 1,500-seat theater and grew its budget from $800,000 to $6,000,000+. BLO was the catalyst for history-making and award-winning initiatives, including the first city-wide, multi-disciplinary thematic season, Egypt in Boston, a programming, educational and marketing collaboration, and produced the first fully-staged opera performances, Carmen on the [Boston] Common, attracting 140,000 people. The strategic plan she created, “The Business Scorecard”, is taught as a best practice case study at the Harvard Business School. In 2003, Boston Magazine named Del Sesto in its list of the city’s “100 Most Powerful Women.”

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For the past three years, Marsha Drummond has been director of educational outreach for the Metropolitan Opera. Drummond is charged with creating and executing The Met: HD Live in Schools, a program that delivers teacher training, curriculum and live opera to teachers and students in New York City and 18 other cities across the country. Prior to joining the Met, Drummond was the director of the LAB@Thirteen, the educational and community outreach department of Thirteen/WNET. Her work there brought resources from public television into the hands of thousands of educators and community members nationwide, with the creation of Web sites, workshops, interactive online tools and public events.

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For the past decade, Catherine French has worked with not-for-profit performing arts organizations to recruit chief executives and senior management personnel. The Catherine French Group clients include opera companies, symphony orchestras, presenting organizations, music festivals and schools of music. French began her career in orchestra administration and she managed the American Symphony Orchestra in New York City and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. She served as chief executive officer of the American Symphony Orchestra League (now League of American Orchestras) from 1980 to 1996. An active volunteer, French is chairman of the board of The Washington Chorus, vice chairman of the board of overseers of The Curtis Institute of Music and a member of the board of directors of OPERA America and The New York Pops.

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Margaret Genovese is a senior partner in the Canadian consulting firm of Genovese, Vanderhoof & Associates. Prior to coming to Canada, she worked for the Trinity Square Repertory Company, the Theatre Company of Boston, Houston’s Alley Theatre, the Association of American Dance Companies and was marketing director for Houston Grand Opera. For 10, years she was director of planning and community relations for the Canadian Opera Company, prior to starting her own consulting firm. Genovese was the recipient of the 2001 Association of Cultural Executives Award for her “outstanding contribution and dedication to Canadian cultural management.” A graduate of Brown University, she holds an M.B.A. and an M.F.A. from Southern Methodist University and a certificate in Canadian studies from Ryerson Polytechnic University.

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Lee Kappelman joined Arts Consulting Group in 2006 with over 25 years of experience in the performing arts field specializing in fundraising, business development, entertainment client artistic representation and television network programming. Prior to joining ACG, she was senior development director at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra where she was responsible for increasing the BSO’s annual fund donations over four years to an all-time high of $9 million. She produced a 10% revenue increase in individual, corporate, foundation and government donations for the Symphony, raising contributed income to meet its $30 million budget in a volatile and competitive marketplace. During her tenure at the BSO, she launched an innovative $2 million fundraising campaign for Soulful Symphony by creating a partnership between a major Baltimore entrepreneur, the BSO board of directors and the African-American community.

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Bruce Thibodeau founded Arts Consulting Group in 1997 and has extensive experience in arts and business management. He has worked with dozens of clients in interim executive, marketing and development roles, has guided multiple executive search processes. He has also facilitated strategic planning processes, as well as various team building and effective communication seminars. Thibodeau recently led a team of consultants in developing a comprehensive Strategic Marketing and Public Relations Plan for the North Hollywood (NoHo) Arts District, its 23 venues and 21 theater companies. Prior to founding the Arts Consulting Group, Thibodeau was the executive director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. He has also worked in various roles for organizations including Boston Symphony Orchestra, Hartford Symphony, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, The Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles and Price Waterhouse.

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Wendy Westwood is the founder of Wendy Westwood & Associates, an event planning and consulting firm. Westwood was the Metropolitan Opera's Director of Special Events for more than 25 years. She created and executed over 1,500 events from intimate parties to gala seated dinners for 1,200 guests. Guest lists included Presidents and First Ladies, celebrities, and some of the world's most prestigious social and business individuals. Her expertise and passion for presenting elegant and exciting events has inspired her to create this boutique company. Wendy Westwood & Associates works with a limited number of individuals, organizations, and corporations to ensure that each event receives the utmost personal attention.

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OPERA America Staff

Research Manager Alexa B. Antopol joined the OPERA America staff in January 2006. Antopol holds a B.F.A. in theater production from Emerson College, and an M.L.I.S. and an archives certificate from Pratt Institute. She has held production administration positions at Glimmerglass Opera, has been a stage manager for the Juilliard School Concert Office, and has held customer service and operations positions at Rose Brand, one of the nation's largest theatrical suppliers. Antopol is a member of the Theta Chapter of Beta Phi Mu, the national library and information studies honor society; the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF), dedicated to the preservation of First Amendment rights for members of the comics community; and the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), which defends teaching the theory of evolution in public schools.

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Larry Bomback joined OPERA America in February 2008 as director of finance and operations. Prior to that, he managed the financial and administrative operations of the New York Youth Symphony. He is a member of Bridgestar's New York Nonprofit CFO Networking Group; and he recently joined the board of directors of the Bronx Charter School for the Arts, where he serves on the finance and development committees. An opera enthusiast, Bomback has published articles in The Musical Times, Musicological Explorations, Opera America, Faust Studies and The Harmonizer, and he has presented lectures in the United States, Canada and Great Britain. Bomback received a B.A. with honors from Haverford College and a M.A. from City College of New York. He lives with his wife, Coren, on the Upper West Side.

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Art Director Katherine L. Ehle joined the OPERA America staff in July 2002. She is responsible for the layout and design of most of OPERA America's publications, including Opera America magazine. She studied voice at the Crane School of Music and graduated from Ithaca College's Roy H. Park School of Communications with a B.S. in organizational communication, learning and design. She is also an avid live music photographer and is an invited regular contributor to nyctaper.com (one of PC Magazine's top 50 blogs of 2009) and WNYC's Culture Hub. Her photos have also been published on Gothamist, The Village Voice and the Italian indie-rock webzine ondarock.it.

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Director of Information Services Melanie Feilotter joined OPERA America in September 2009, the organization's most recent member. Feilotter coordinates content for OPERA America's Web site, publications and its professional development series. She holds a B.Mus. in music history with a concentration in piano performance, and an M.A. in musicology, both from McGill University in Montreal. Feilotter also earned a certificate in German-to-English translation from New York University. Prior to joining OPERA America, Feilotter spent 11 years with Bloomberg News in a number of capacities, including as manager of their multimedia news department, and as a producer for Bloomberg Television.

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As the director of government affairs for both Dance/USA and OPERA America, Amy Fitterer is responsible for tracking federal legislation and informing members of advocacy news and opportunities. Through coalition activities with the Performing Arts Alliance and the Cultural Advocacy Group, Fitterer advocates in support of funding for the NEA, arts in education programs at the Department of Education, cultural exchange programs at the State Department, visa and tax policies for foreign guest artists, charitable giving and tax regulations, national service and the arts, and communications policies at the FCC. Prior to joining the OPERA America staff, Fitterer served as the president of Student Advocates for the Arts, a national club committed to engaging students in cultural policy and lobbying. She danced professionally with Peninsula Ballet Theatre in the San Francisco Bay area and served as director of Lisa Spector's Music School (Half Moon Bay, CA). She received her ballet training from the Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts, holds a B.S. in piano performance from Indiana University and an M.A. in arts administration from Teachers College, Columbia University.

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In August 2007, Paul Gosselin joined the OPERA America staff as development coordinator. In November 2007, he was promoted to membership and development manager where he oversees customer service for all OPERA America members. Originally from Vermont, he moved to New York City after high school to attend The School for Film and Television and pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a soap opera actor. In 2005, he made his soap opera debut on One Life to Live, posing the question, "And how do you want to do it?" He has since appeared on Saturday Night Live, As the World Turns, Damages, The Good Wife, Rescue Me, in promotional videos for Guiding Light, independent films and the 2007 Daytime Emmy Awards.

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Bill Higgins joined OPERA America in January 2007 as director of external affairs. He has worked in the nonprofit sector for a period of just over 25 years. In 1981, Higgins joined the staff of New York City Opera as director of the Opera Guild, with responsibilities that included fundraising, membership development and special events. In similar roles, Higgins went on to join the staffs of the New York Philharmonic (1988), NYU Medical Center (1998) and Literacy Partners (1999). At Literacy Partners, in addition to fundraising, Higgins was also responsible for all communications and public relations activities.

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Patricia Kiernan Johnson joined the OPERA America staff in October 2008 as the marketing and media manager. Previously, she worked as the marketing manager for Opera New Jersey in Princeton. Johnson earned her B.A. in art history and studio art from Fordham University's Lincoln Center Campus and her M.A. in art history from Rutgers University, where she also earned a museum studies certificate. In the course of her studies, Johnson worked for the medieval art department at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and for the development and photography departments at The New-York Historical Society.

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Jonah Nigh, assistant director of development, joined the OPERA America staff in April 2008. Nigh previously served as the artist representative for Elsie Management, the program development associate for the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts of Massachusetts and the acting concert coordinator for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He has also worked as a freelance grant writer for several nonprofit organizations. A former opera singer, Nigh earned his B.M. and M.M. in vocal performance from Lawrence University and New England Conservatory, and his operatic credits included engagements with companies throughout the country. An avid wine connoisseur, Nigh earned his level one certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers in San Francisco.

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José Rincón, artistic services coordinator, joined OPERA America full-time in July 2008. He is responsible for coordinating OPERA America's programs and resources for artists, including Making Connections, Salon Series: Exploring American Voices, the Singer Training Forum and artistic programming for the annual Opera Conference. A singer at heart, Rincón has performed in productions of The Mikado, The Threepenny Opera, Orpheus in the Underworld and Don Giovanni. These days, he can be seen performing at some of New York City's finest karaoke and piano bars. Rincón holds a B.A. in music from S.U.N.Y. Potsdam and an M.A. in arts administration from Florida State University. He is a proud native of Burlington, VT.

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Kelley Rourke has held various positions at OPERA America since 1998; she currently serves as editor of the organization’s magazine. She is also the dramaturg for Glimmerglass Opera, where she has been on staff since 1994. She has written English adaptations of several operas, including Sir Jonathan Miller’s recent production of The Elixir of Love for English National Opera (2010); Orpheus in the Underworld for Glimmerglass Opera (2007); and The Magic Flute (2005) and The Abduction from the Seraglio (2004), both for the In Series (Washington, D.C.). Rourke has also written supertitles for more than 40 operas; her work has appeared at such companies as the Metropolitan Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Florida Grand Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York City Opera, Arizona Opera and others.

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Traci Schanke joined OPERA America as assistant to the president in December 2005. Schanke previously served as assistant to the vice president of external affairs at the Manhattan School of Music and assistant to the chairman and president of Middleton & Gendron, a public relations and marketing firm. Schanke has appeared as a soloist and chorister with various groups in the New York metropolitan area, including the Kingsborough Musical Society Chorus, Regina Opera Company, Chelsea Opera, Operesque Classical Concerts, the Grace Church Choral Society, One World Symphony Singers & Ensemble and New York Concert Opera. She has also been featured in master classes with the late Oren Brown and with Barbara Bonney.

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Kevin M. Sobczyk, director of information technology, has been with OPERA America since the summer of 2004. His responsibilities include maintenance of current hardware, software and the Web site. He is also in charge of implementing new technology in order to broaden OPERA America’s reach to its members and the public at large. Prior to arriving at OPERA America, Sobczyk helped to create a totally paperless bill and legislation drafting system for the state of Ohio that is considered a high-water mark in governmental automation and efficiency. He also led a research and design team for XML data retrieval methodologies for state government use. He is an IBM XML certified developer.

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Evan Wildstein joined OPERA America in November 2007 as manager of education and adult learning programs. His role affords him the opportunity to work nationally with opera aficionados, teachers and education policy makers to promote opera education for all audiences. Prior to joining OPERA America, Wildstein worked with the educational outreach divisions of both the Juilliard School and Tilles Center for the Performing Arts. At both organizations he helped implement programs that served students who were underrepresented in the arts. He holds a B.F.A. in arts management and also performs as a singer-songwriter.

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Megan Young joined the OPERA America staff in 2005. In her current role as artistic services director she oversees professional development programming for opera artists, administrators and technicians. Young also manages The Opera Fund grant program and has contributed to numerous OPERA America publications, including Opera America magazine and the Perspectives Series for singers. She has spoken on the subject of professional development for opera artists at numerous OPERA America events, as well as at Manhattan School of Music and Westminster Choir College's CoOPERAtive Program, among others. She holds degrees in voice performance and early music from Ithaca College and the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick, respectively. In her time outside the office, Young enjoys practicing yoga, photography and turning pages at chamber music concerts in a variety of New York City venues.

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More speakers coming soon.
If you would like to be a speaker or suggest a speaker for Opera Conference 2010, please contact Larry Bomback at LBomback@operaamerica.org.
Official Airline of Opera Conference 2010:
AA Link
Host Company:
LA Opera
Sponsors of Opera Conference 2010:

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Photo Credits - Images courtesy of Los Angeles Opera. All photos taken by Monika Rittershaus.