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Press Released: 01 Apr 2012

OPERA America Chooses Participants for 2012 Leadership Intensive Program

Developing Future Leaders and Strengthening Opera Companies

14 Participants from U.S., Canada and Europe to Gather in Philadelphia and New York

OPERA America, the national service organization for opera, is pleased to announce that 14 participants from the United States, Canada and Europe have been selected for its 2012 Leadership Intensive program. These future industry leaders were chosen by a team of opera executives, trustees and executive search consultants from a competitive pool of nearly 60 applicants.

The 2012 Leadership Intensive participants are:

  • Dottie Allen, director of learning and community engagement, the Metropolitan Opera
  • Daniel Anderson, multimedia designer
  • Cristina Barbulescu, coordinator of public relations, Bucharest National Opera in Romania
  • Annie Burridge, director of development, Opera Company of Philadelphia
  • James Byrne, liaison to the office of the general director, Houston Grand Opera
  • Nathan DePoint, company manager, Fort Worth Opera
  • Claire Friday, production administrator, Boston Lyric Opera
  • Scott Guzielek, artistic administrator, Washington National Opera
  • Brian Hotchkin, artistic administrator, Opera Santa Barbara
  • Emmalee Iden, director of education, The Atlanta Opera
  • Lee Anne Mylewski, administrative director, Wolf Trap Opera Company
  • Ian Rye, director of production, Pacific Opera Victoria
  • Lena Vizy, marketing manager, De Nederlandse Opera
  • Tom Wright, director of artistic planning, Vancouver Opera

Two participants each from Canada and Europe were chosen in collaboration with OPERA America’s sister organizations, Opera.ca and Opera Europa, to give the Leadership Intensive an international dimension.

The Leadership Intensive is part of OPERA America’s firm commitment to develop leaders who will advance the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera for years to come. The Leadership Intensive seeks to identify the most promising emerging leaders in a range of opera administration fields and provide them with the skills and contacts needed to advance to an executive level position.

As part of the Leadership Intensive, participants will attend seminars and workshops during Opera Conference 2012 in Philadelphia in June, where leaders from across the opera industry will come together to hone their craft and learn from one another. This experience will put the emerging leaders into direct contact with industry experts and current practitioners, who can provide guidance and help open doors in the future. Topics to be addressed during these Leadership Intensive sessions include marketing, development, communications and strategic planning.

Building upon the work of Opera Conference 2012, Leadership Intensive participants will attend a week-long session in New York City in July. Focusing on personal leadership development, participants will also gain exposure to decision-makers from within and outside the opera field and attend several performances.

Through these diverse training activities, the Leadership Intensive will prepare participants to become successful executive-level leaders, contributing to the strengthening of opera companies across the country.

“There is a steep learning curve when new staff take their first positions guiding entire departments or opera companies because there is no formal training process for these high-stakes positions,” stated Marc. A. Scorca, president and CEO of OPERA America. “The impressive number of applications that we received, in just the first year of the program, is evidence that our industry’s emerging leaders need this combination of valuable knowledge, skills and contacts.”

Thanks to a generous gift from American Express, Leadership Intensive participants pay no registration fees and receive a generous subsidy for travel and accommodations.

2012 Leadership Intensive Participants

Dottie Allen
Director of Learning and Community Engagement, The Metropolitan Opera

A native of South Carolina, Dottie Allen is a graduate of Columbia College of South Carolina with a B.A. in music (emphasis on bassoon performance) and a minor in theater, which she taught for several years in South Carolina public schools. Searching for a way to make a greater impact in arts education, she made her way to New York and graduated with an M.F.A. in theater/performing arts management from CUNY Brooklyn College. After a graduate residency in New York City Opera’s education department, Allen migrated across Lincoln Center Plaza to the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s education department in lectures and community programs, where she is currently director of adult learning and community engagement. In addition to hear leadership of the community programs, she delights in presenting introductory courses to opera newcomers and grooming fellows and interns for careers in arts administration. Allen loves all things Baroque, cheap tacos and gourmet coffee.

Daniel Anderson
Multimedia Designer

Daniel Anderson is a multimedia designer, specializing in video, audio, motion graphics and interactive content for opera and performing arts organizations. A California native, he has lived, worked and enjoyed opera in Sydney, Vancouver, Kyoto, Amsterdam, Minneapolis and, most recently, Santa Barbara. Anderson brings a boldly entrepreneurial spirit to the field of arts administration, leveraging new and emerging technologies to expand opera’s artistic and social frontiers.

Cristina Barbulescu
Coordinator of Public Relations, Bucharest National Opera

Cristina Barbulescu is currently coordinating the public relations department of the Bucharest National Opera, Romania, and she is a member of the Opera Europa Young Delegates Team (Opera Think Tank). She is also working within an EU funded program with Accademia di Teatro alla Scala (Milan), and is in charge of the online strategy for promoting the project. Within the same program, she will soon deliver her own course of lectures on the PR techniques used to promote an opera house. In May 2011, the French editor l’Harmattan published her first book, European operas nowadays: how to promote a performance. Her professional experience also consists of PR projects on different artistic fields: cinema, architecture and symphonic music. One of her recent enriching experiences is that of communication assistant at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival, France.

Annie Burridge
Director of Development, Opera Company of Philadelphia

Annie Burridge is the director of development at Opera Company of Philadelphia, where she oversees 70% of the company’s revenue — including $7 million in annual support from individual, foundation, corporate and government sources. Over the past three years, she has successfully completed a $5 million major gifts campaign, launched a $10 million campaign and has increased the company’s overall contributed income by 62%. Burridge also currently serves as adjunct faculty at Drexel University, where she teaches “Writing for the Arts and Fund Development for the Arts” in the arts administration graduate program. Burridge holds a graduate certificate in nonprofit administration from the University of Pennsylvania; a M.M. in voice performance and a M.M. in opera studies from the New England Conservatory; and graduated the valedictorian of the College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State University, where she earned a B.M. in voice performance with a minor in business administration.

James Byrne
Liaison to the Office of the General Director, Houston Grand Opera

James Byrne has been an arts administrator for four years and currently works in the office of the general director at Houston Grand Opera. In 2009, Byrne was named an inaugural marketing fellow by the League of American Orchestras and managed projects for single ticket campaigns at the New York Philharmonic, mentored by their vice president of marketing. In 2006, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English and music in the public school system of Hamburg, Germany. Byrne holds a B.A. in music from Westminster Choir College and has pursued graduate studies in German at Middlebury College’s renowned Language Schools. He is a classically trained pianist, flutist and singer, and has performed in choirs with the New York Philharmonic, Dresden Philharmonic and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra under the batons of Lorin Maazel, Charles Dutoit, Rafael Frübeck de Borgos, Richard Hickox and Neeme Järvi.

Nathan DePoint
Company Manager, Fort Worth Opera

Nathan DePoint has been involved in opera for the past 10 years. Earning both a B.A. in music and a M.M. in opera performance, he has portrayed about 20 different operatic characters during his time on stage. DePoint was tapped to switch to administration in 2008, and since then has been on the staff of Fort Worth Opera (FWO). He began his career as a development associate, managing fundraising initiatives for the annual campaign and board functions of FWO. That position expanded into annual fund manager, which gave him more responsibilities such as Opera Shots (a cultivation tool held in local bars), helping facilitate and participating with the FWO Board of Directors’ strategic planning sessions and planning and implementing the new Fort Worth Opera Endowment, Inc. DePoint is currently the company manager for Fort Worth Opera, promoted in September 2011 as the artist liaison on staff. His current responsibilities range from casting and audition management, to artist travel and housing, to managing the Fort Worth Opera Chorus, among others.

Claire Friday
Production Administrator, Boston Lyric Opera

Claire Friday has always been deeply invested in the arts. Ever since the age of five, music and the performing arts were at the forefront of her life. Growing up, Friday studied dance and theater. During her undergraduate work, she discovered the art of opera — having never experienced it before her first undertaking as a production assistant on Puccini’s Turandot at Opera Pacific. Since then, Friday knew that her life would be dedicated to working in opera production and administration. In addition to her work in opera, Friday has also production coordinated on television events including The Kennedy Center Honors, The American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award and Christmas in Washington. She was recently named production administrator for Boston Lyric Opera. Friday resides in Boston and loves traveling, music, shopping, dining and a good glass of red wine.

Scott Guzielek
Artistic Administrator, Washington National Opera

Scott Guzielek has recently been named artistic administrator after serving as artistic administration manager of Washington National Opera (WNO) since 2006. He joined WNO full-time in 2002. In this position, he is involved 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.

Brian Hotchkin
Artistic Administrator, Opera Santa Barbara

Brian Hotchkin came to Opera Santa Barbara in 2009 from an active performing career that included performances with Virginia Opera, Opera New Jersey, Chamber Opera Chicago and Opera Santa Barbara. He used his music training, along with 12 years of management experience at Rose Media Sales, a Chicago-based publishers representative firm, to effectively transition to a career as an effective arts administrator. In his three years with Opera Santa Barbara, Hotchkin has put his broad experience to good use and communicates fluently with artists, colleagues, patrons, stakeholders and the public. In his close collaboration with new Artistic Director José Maria Condemi, as well as Opera Santa Barbara’s board and staff, he has been an important part of the company’s recent rapid growth. Hotchkin holds degrees from DePaul University and the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

Emmalee Iden
Director of Education, The Atlanta Opera

Emmalee Iden joined The Atlanta Opera in 2007 as a grant writer, and transitioned into a new education position in 2008. Since that time, she has extended the company’s education and outreach programming to include a membership group for young professionals, a high school opera training institute, original 24-Hour Opera Project and formal arts administration internship program. She has led the company’s National Opera Week initiatives and forged new relationships with community partners including the Emory University Center for Ethics and Wren’s Nest House Museum. In 2011, The Atlanta Opera premiered their first opera commission, an opera for children entitled Rabbit Tales, initiated and managed by Iden. Prior to The Atlanta Opera, Iden worked in arts education for organizations including the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts where she was managing editor of the start smart online performing arts curriculum for early childhood educators.

Lee Anne Mylewski
Administrative Director, Wolf Trap Opera Company

Lee Anne Myslewski is a graduate of vocal performance degree programs at Carnegie Mellon University and the Maryland Opera Studio at the University of Maryland. She began her musical career as an educator, but found her true path when she wandered into the offices of Wolf Trap Opera to intern during their 2004 production of John Musto’s Volpone. A full-time member of the Wolf Trap Opera & Classical Programming team for six years, her current responsibilities include casting and programming for the Studio Artist tier of singers, and programming Wolf Trap’s chamber music series, The Discovery Series. She considers herself fortunate to be surrounded by fine music-making on a daily basis, without having to practice.

Ian Rye
Director of Production, Pacific Opera Victoria

Celebrating his sixth season with Pacific Opera Victoria, Ian Rye has stewarded the advancement of artist training programs, community engagement projects, the development of over two dozen original opera productions and a world premiere with the company. His background in theater production and design has informed an expansion of the creative and design capacities to support an organization that now designs exclusively original productions, balancing artistic refinement, financial planning and expense controls. Previously, Ian was production manager at the Belfry Theatre, where he contributed to the expansion of a six production season plus second stage series of contemporary work, and supervised the renovation of a heritage performance facility. His designs for theatre, opera and dance have played at many notable Canadian companies. He studied theater production and design at Ryerson and the Banff Centre for the Arts.

Lena Vizy
Marketing Manager, De Nederlandse Opera

Since 2008, Lena Vizy has worked as marketing manager for De Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. In 2011, her area of responsibility was expanded to include the entire Amsterdam Music Theatre. In addition to now being responsible for the marketing management of De Nederlandse Opera and the Dutch National Ballet, she is also an active member of the Opera Europa Think Tank. Vizy is strongly committed to the idea of accessibility of the art form opera and to the development of new audiences. She invented and introduced the OperaFlirt project, successfully building up a new audience for the opera and winning the SponsorRing 2009, the national award for best sponsor campaign of The Netherlands. In addition to her thesis on audience development, she published articles on innovative marketing management in her home country, Germany. Vizy studied cultural management and worked in Berlin for the Friends of the Staatsoper and for the Jewish Museum.

Tom Wright
Director of Artistic Planning, Vancouver Opera

Tom Wright has gone full circle in his 25-year career in the performing arts. Raised in North Vancouver, British Columbia, his integral role in several high school productions resulted in a scholarship to The Banff Centre in Alberta, where he received his theater/stagecraft training. It was there, under the mentorship of Colin Graham, that his passion for opera grew. This was fostered over his 12-year career with Calgary Opera. In 1998, Wright moved to the U.S., where he was director of production and artistic administration at Arizona Opera for nine years. In Arizona, he gained experience in all facets of production and artistic planning and IT for the two-city opera company. In 2007, he returned home to Vancouver as director of artistic planning at Vancouver Opera. As part of the senior management team, he currently oversees all areas of production, education and artistic planning.


For more information on OPERA America, visit About Us.

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