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Press Released: 01 Apr 2013

OPERA America Selects Participants for 2013 Leadership Intensive Program

Developing Future Leaders and Strengthening Opera Companies

13 Participants from U.S., Canada and Europe to Gather in Vancouver and New York

OPERA America, the national nonprofit service organization for opera, is pleased to announce that 13 participants from the United States, Canada and Europe have been selected for its 2013 Leadership Intensive program. These future industry leaders were chosen through a competitive selection process.

The Leadership Intensive exemplifies OPERA America’s firm commitment to identify and nurture leaders who will advance the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera for years to come. This program 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 their careers.

The 2013 Leadership Intensive participants are:

  • Jamie Andrews, community education director, Minnesota Opera
  • Jennifer Bradner, executive director, Opera Memphis
  • Garrett Collins, communications coordinator, Los Angeles Opera
  • Peggy Kriha Dye, general manager, Opera Columbus
  • Carolyne Hall, assistant to the artistic & general director, The Glimmerglass Festival (Cooperstown, NY)
  • James Hampton, artistic services manager, The Dallas Opera
  • Zackery Hayhurst, associate artistic administrator, Arizona Opera
  • Bert Huffman, director of development, The Atlanta Opera
  • Christopher Powell, music administrator, Pittsburgh Opera
  • David Rubeo, manager of external affairs, Gotham Chamber Opera (New York, NY)
  • Katherine Semcesen, associate director, education and outreach, Canadian Opera Company (Toronto, ON)
  • Michael Mori, associate artistic director, Tapestry (Toronto, ON)
  • Audrey Jungers, manager, Opera Europa (Brussels, Belgium)

OPERA America’s sister organizations, Opera.ca and Opera Europa, each selected their own participants, giving the program an international dimension.

The first meeting of the 2013 Leadership Intensive will take place during Opera Conference 2013 in Vancouver in May. During a series of seminars, participants will explore the opera industry, establishing a baseline of knowledge that will be built upon during the core of the program: a week-long workshop in New York City in July.

That session, taking place at OPERA America’s new National Opera Center, will focus on advanced leadership development and will give participants access to decision-makers from within and outside the opera field. The series of diverse training activities will prepare these developing leaders to become successful executive and senior-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 departments or opera companies because there is no formal training process for these high-stakes situations,” stated Marc. A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. “The interest that has been generated by this program in just its first two years is evidence that our industry’s emerging leaders are hungry for 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.

2013 Leadership Intensive Participants

Jamie Andrews
Community Education Director, Minnesota Opera

Jamie Andrews, featured by Musical America as one of the “Top 30 Under 40” arts education administrators in 2012, serves as education director for Minnesota Opera, a position he has had for 10 years. In this position, he has developed award-winning programs that engage teens in performing opera, like Project Opera and Summer Opera Camp, vocal training programs for students ages 8-18 and imagineopera.org, an opera education-specific website for teens. For K-12 students, he has developed coOPERAtion!, an interactive in-school residency program that includes Through the Eyes and Ears of Mozart, an introduction to opera for elementary students. Prior to working at Minnesota Opera, Andrews was a public school music teacher in Forest Lake and Lester Prairie, MN. Andrews earned a bachelor’s degree in music education at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, which awarded him the “Distinguished Recent Alumni” award in 2008.

Jennifer Bradner
Executive Director, Opera Memphis

Jennifer Bradner is a native of South Carolina but a long time Memphian. At Opera Memphis, Bradner has implemented a number of innovative strategies to help the company control costs and generate increased revenue. Bradner is a published author and a frequent organizational consultant. She has lent her expertise to nonprofits including Natural Learning School, Folk Alliance International, Blue Grace Music (Ireland) and Southwest Tennessee Community College. In fall 2012, she was nominated for the Memphis Business Journal’s “CFO of the Year Award” in the nonprofit category. In December 2012, Bradner was promoted to executive director of Opera Memphis.

Garrett Collins
Communications Coordinator, Los Angeles Opera

Garrett Collins is the communications coordinator at Los Angeles Opera, where he implements and manages a variety of audience development programs for young professionals, college students, families, community groups and newcomers to opera. Before joining the marketing team, Collins managed a number of community outreach initiatives within the education and community programs department, including programs for seniors, adults and college students. He also oversaw the company’s team of 65 volunteer community educators. Collins participated in the Los Angeles County Arts Commission’s Arts Internship Program, and served as a grants panelist for the county’s Organizational Grant Program. He received his bachelor’s degree from UCLA in flute performance and obtained a master’s in arts management at Claremont Graduate University. An enthusiast of chamber music, Collins also serves on the board of directors for Pacific Serenades, a self-presenting chamber ensemble based in Los Angeles.

Peggy Kriha Dye
General Manager, Opera Columbus

Peggy Kriha Dye, soprano, has performed over 30 roles with opera companies and orchestras worldwide. After attending The Juilliard School, Kriha Dye became an Adler Fellow with San Francisco Opera. Over the course of her career, she has performed the role of Stella in A Street Car Named Desire with San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera and the Pittsburgh Symphony, along with many other roles with Houston Grand Opera, Tulsa Opera, Shanghai Opera, Opera Atelier and others. During 2012, Kriha Dye sang the title role in Lully’s Armide first with Opera Atelier in Toronto, followed by performances at the Royal Opera House in Versailles and The Glimmerglass Festival. While continuing her singing career, Kriha Dye is pursuing artistic administration. She was recently appointed general manager of Opera Columbus after leading their educational program and mainstage programming during the 2012-2013 season.

Carolyne Hall
Assistant to the Artistic & General Director, The Glimmerglass Festival (Cooperstown, NY)

Carolyne Hall is a young arts administrator from Iowa. She received her B.A. in music from Simpson College and has completed her coursework for an M.A. in arts administration from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She has worked with Des Moines Metro Opera and Cincinnati Opera, and is currently the assistant to the artistic & general director at The Glimmerglass Festival. In her free time, Hall enjoys researching operas, experimenting with recipes and playing board games.

James Hampton
Artistic Services Manager, The Dallas Opera

After a successful career in bank management, James Hampton earned his D.M.A. from the University of Texas, and he now serves as artistic services manager for The Dallas Opera (TDO). In addition to his deft management of the operations of TDO’s artistic department, he recently wrote an English translation of — and is stage director for — TDO’s production of Bizet’s Doctor Miracle. Prior to joining TDO’s staff, Hampton was the orchestra manager and production coordinator for Austin Lyric Opera and an instructional faculty member at Angelo State University. Creatively, he has received critical acclaim as both a stage director and singer. The Washington Post applauded his “pungent” and “tightly paced” direction of Ned Rorem’s Our Town; and he has been praised for his “mellifluous tenor” (The Towson Times) and his “flair for comedy” (The Washington Post).

Zackery Hayhurst
Associate Artistic Administrator, Arizona Opera

Zackery Hayhurst serves as the associate artistic administrator for Arizona Opera, and as company manager for Wolf Trap Opera upcoming in the summer of 2013. He previously served as assistant company manager at The Glimmerglass Festival, and has completed apprenticeships and internships in various departments with organizations such as The Glimmerglass Festival, Wolf Trap Opera, Washington National Opera, Washington Performing Arts Society and The Choral Arts Society of Washington. He has written for Americans for the Arts’ ArtsBlog, and created a guest blogger event on ArtsBlog in conjunction with the fourth annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium at American University. Hayhurst has a B.A. in interpersonal communications, and recently graduated with his M.A. in arts management from American University, where he completed his master's thesis, From Centralized to De-Centralized: The Ongoing Story of Opera’s Adaptation to the Changing American Cultural Landscape.

Bert Huffman
Director of Development, The Atlanta Opera

Bert Wesley Huffman currently serves as the director of development for The Atlanta Opera in Atlanta, GA. Born into a family of musicians and artists, Huffman earned an undergraduate degree in musical theater before beginning a career in performance which eventually led him to fundraising and community relations. The bulk of his career has been spent in the field of higher education development, holding positions at both of his alma maters and Emory University. Huffman came to The Atlanta Opera in August 2011 with the goal of combining a passion with his specific skill set. Since that time, he has systematically reformed the development operation around relationship building, major gifts and goal attainment. In his spare time, Huffman is an avid fan of movies, musical theater and spending time in the mountains of northern Georgia.

Audrey Jungers
Manager, Opera Europa (Brussels, Belgium)

Audrey Jungers has lived close to the stage since she could walk. She confirmed her love for the performing arts while devoting her free time as a teenager to creating the European young opera friends group Juvenilia, in parallel to her university marketing studies in Brussels and professional theater and dance course in London. She went on to join the communications department of the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, first as press officer, then as young audiences manager. In 2003, she joined Opera Europa, the European association of opera companies and festivals, where she has contributed to expanding to the network to 127 members in 35 countries and professionalizing the services offered. Among others, she has initiated several projects such as the European Opera Days and the Opass European Opera Passport.

Michael Mori
Associate Artistic Director, Tapestry (Toronto, ON)

Michael Mori has lived in New York, Basel, Vancouver, and Toronto, working as a performer in opera, musical theater and contemporary music for the last 20 years and more recently working as a staging director and artistic administrator for Tapestry in Toronto. He is an ardent champion of modern playwrights and librettists working with living composers to bring relevancy, cultural currency and new audiences to the operatic form. His work as a stage director with Tapestry has been innovative and pushes the genre through Tapestry’s Studio and Workshop Series. As an assistant director, Mori has worked closely with director Tim Albery, and will be assisting him again at The Dallas Opera this year. Before moving to Toronto, Mori was co-artistic director and artistic coordinator for the a capella ensemble musica intima. During his leadership, musica intima won the Westcoast Music Awards for Best Classical Album, and was nominated for two Juno awards following three tours to Europe and numerous feature performances at the American Choral Directors Association Conference in the U.S. and Canada.

Christopher Powell
Music Administrator, Pittsburgh Opera

Christopher M. Powell is currently in his 12th season as the music administrator for Pittsburgh Opera. Concurrent with his Pittsburgh Opera employment, Powell was the personnel manager for both the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, MA (2005-2009) and the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, SC (2011-2012). In addition, he has served as an adjudicator for the artist residency program at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and as a member of the board of directors for the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society. Powell received his B.S. in music education from Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, PA) in 1993, an M.M. in french horn performance from the University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL) in 1995, and will complete his M.B.A. in international business management in April 2013 at Point Park University (Pittsburgh, PA) where he serves as the school of business chair for the Graduate Student Association Board.

David Rubeo
Manager of External Affairs, Gotham Chamber Opera (New York, NY)

David Rubeo (manager of external affairs) began working for Gotham Chamber Opera as a volunteer in April 2010 and was hired full-time in August of that year. He comes to Gotham with 18 years’ experience in New York’s nonprofit market, primarily in classical music and the performing arts. Rubeo worked for nine years at the Metropolitan Opera both in artistic administration and marketing. He was the tour manager for the Metropolitan Opera in Japan in 2001 and 2006, and for the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in Europe in 2002. His work in marketing coincided with Peter Gelb’s first seasons, and he managed the advertising campaign that first appeared in subways, on street signs and phone booths all over New York City. Before working for the Met, Rubeo was marketing director for the Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College, and prior to that worked for Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers. Rubeo enjoys all forms of culture including opera, theater, jazz and visual arts. He is also an avid runner and has completed six marathons in New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago.

Katherine Semcesen
Associate Director, Education and Outreach, Canadian Opera Company (Toronto, ON)

Katherine Semcesen is the associate director, education and outreach at the Canadian Opera Company and has worked in the education and outreach department since the opening of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in 2006. Her love of opera began as a student at Queen’s University while completing her B.M. Some of her most memorable projects at the Canadian Opera Company have included the expansion of their popular After School Opera Program, and most recently, GrimmFest, a week‐long celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Grimm’s first published book of fairy tales and the 500th performance of the Canadian Opera Company’s opera for children, The Brothers Grimm. As an active member of the arts education community in Toronto, Semcesen is also a board member of the Professional Arts Organizations Network for Education.


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