Opera Conference 2014: Audiences Reimagined

Building Opera Audiences: Updates and Inspirations
OPERA America’s Building Opera Audiences grant program, generously funded by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, is dedicated to helping opera companies develop informed and enthusiastic audiences for opera. In this session, learn from projects funded during the first year of this program and gain inspiration from those that won support in the second year of this exciting program. NED CANTY, general director, Opera Memphis; LINDSEY THORESON HANSEN, director of marketing, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra; PATRICIA KIERNAN JOHNSON, director marketing and communications, OPERA America (moderator); RYAN TAYLOR, general director, Arizona Opera.


Speaker Information
NED CANTY, general director, Opera Memphis
Ned Canty is an acclaimed stage director with credits from companies such as The Glimmerglass Festival, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, The Santa Fe Opera and New York City Opera. The New York Times has described his stage direction as having “a startling combination of sensitivity and panache.” Opera News cited his work as evidence that “The future of American opera is in good hands.” Canty’s career in opera reflects a commitment to introducing new audiences to opera, as well as working with emerging artists. He has inspired a new generation of singers through his work with major conservatories such as The Curtis Institute, The Juilliard School, the Israeli Vocal Arts Institute and the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. He has collaborated with a number of composers and librettists on the development of new works through American Opera Projects, and has directed world premieres in New York and Tel Aviv. Prior to assuming his current position, Canty was Director of the New York Television Festival. Over the course of five years, he helped grow the Festival into a nationally recognized forum for discovering new television talent and exploring digital and new media storytelling. Canty has also worked as an actor, director, and stuntman at Hartford Stage Company, The McCarter Theatre and the New York Renaissance Festival, among others.

LINDSEY THORESON HANSEN, director of marketing, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
Lindsey Thoreson Hansen is the director of marketing for The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and oversees all marketing, audience development, public relations, communications, ticketing and audience services efforts for the SPCO. She is also a member of a cross-departmental team at the SPCO focused on deepening patron engagement. In addition to her work for the SPCO, Hansen serves as a member of the board of directors for Gremlin Theatre in Saint Paul and volunteers as the development coordinator for Pet Project Rescue, a nonprofit animal rescue in Minneapolis.

PATRICIA KIERNAN JOHNSON, director of marketing and communications, OPERA America (moderator)
Patricia Kiernan Johnson joined the OPERA America staff as marketing and media manager in October 2008 and was promoted to director of marketing and communications in July 2012. At OPERA America, Johnson is responsible for developing and implementing the organization’s marketing and communications strategy and advising marketing and communications staff at North American opera organizations. Specific projects include creating and organizing National Opera Week, rebranding the organization for the launch of the National Opera Center, coordinating the new Getty Audience Development Grant Program, managing the Electronic Media Forum and consultants, designing professional development resources for the field’s marketing and communications staff. Before joining OPERA America, Johnson was the marketing manager at Opera New Jersey in Princeton. She earned her B.A. in art history and studio art from Fordham University’s Lincoln Center Campus and an M.A. in art history and museum studies from Rutgers University.

RYAN TAYLOR, general director, Arizona Opera
Ryan Taylor joined Arizona Opera in 2012 as director of artistic administration and now serves as the company’s general director. In the span of just over a decade as a baritone, Ryan amassed over thirty roles to his credit, performing with Dayton Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Opera Carolina, Atlanta Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Wolf Trap Opera Company, San Francisco Opera Center, Seattle Opera, Minnesota Opera and the Bayerische Drei-groschen Oper, among others. Following his career as a performing artist, Ryan Taylor has worked in many facets of artistic management and administration. For four seasons, he served concurrently as artist manager and public relations director for ADA Artist Management in New York and as manager of community development in the administration of the Wolf Trap Opera Company, the top residency training program in the industry for emerging artists. Previously he held other notable posts, including general director of the Berkshire Opera Company, artistic director of Singers Beyond Borders and co-founder of the Southeastern Festival of Song (SEFoS).
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