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Press Released: 02 Aug 2018

OPERA America Welcomes 10 New Members to its Board Of Directors

Four Current Members Re-Elected

OPERA America, the national service organization for opera and the nation's leading champion for American opera, is pleased to announce that ten members have been elected to its Board of Directors. Elections took place at OPERA America’s February board meeting in New York City and at its Annual Business Meeting, held in June during Opera Conference 2018 in St. Louis.

Elected to first terms are Annie Burridge (general director and CEO, Austin Opera), Tassio Carvalho (senior manager, operations research and advanced analytics, American Airlines), Anthony Freud (general director, president and CEO, Lyric Opera of Chicago), Carol F. Henry (trustee, Los Angeles Opera), Susan G. Marineau (trustee, The Santa Fe Opera), L. Michelle Smith (director of public relations, AT&T Global Marketing Organization), Robert S. Tancer (trustee, Arizona Opera), Ryan Taylor (president and general director, Minnesota Opera), Roger Weitz (general director, Opera Omaha) and Carole Yaley (trustee, Central City Opera). Freud and Henry both return after a rotation period off the board, as required by OPERA America’s bylaws. The terms of the newly elected board members continue through June 30, 2021.

“I am delighted to welcome to our Board of Directors these 10 outstanding new members, each of whom brings valuable skills and insights to enrich our work,” stated OPERA America President/CEO Marc A. Scorca.

In addition to the election of new board members, four current members were re-elected to second terms: John E. Baumgardner Jr. (partner, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP), Wayne S. Brown (president and CEO, Michigan Opera Theatre), Barbara Glauber (trustee, New England Conservatory) and Evan J. Hazell (trustee, Pacific Opera Victoria).

Timothy O’Leary (general director, Washington National Opera) was re-elected to an additional two-year term as chair of the board. Wayne S. Brown and Kathryn Smith (general director, Madison Opera) were both re-elected to additional one-year terms as vice-chairs of the board, and composer Laura Kaminsky was elected to her first term as vice-chair, becoming the first artist to serve as an OPERA America board officer. Perryn Leech (managing director, Houston Grand Opera) was elected secretary.

On June 30, the following board members rotated off the board: Daniel Biaggi (general director, Palm Beach Opera), James Feldman (trustee, Washington National Opera), Christopher Hahn (general director, Pittsburgh Opera), Barbara Leirvik, Susan F. Morris (trustee, The Santa Fe Opera), Esther Nelson (general and artistic director, Boston Lyric Opera) and Francesca Zambello (artistic director, Washington National Opera; artistic and general director, The Glimmerglass Festival). In addition, Charles MacKay (general director, The Santa Fe Opera) will retire at the end of Santa Fe’s festival season later this month, and, consequently, his board membership as a general director will come to an end after decades of distinguished service to OPERA America, especially as board chair. OPERA America, its members and the Board of Directors thank these board members for their dedicated service.

OPERA America’s Board of Directors is an action-oriented think tank that assesses trends in the field and advises the staff on the design and implementation of programs and services that address challenges and take full advantage of opportunities to advance the field. The Board of Directors meets three times each year, and the next meeting will take place in November in Los Angeles.

New Board Members

Annie Burridge
General Director and CEO, Austin Opera

Annie Burridge was named general director and CEO of Austin Opera in October 2016, following a nine-year tenure at Opera Philadelphia, where she most recently served as managing director. Since joining Austin Opera, she has led the development of a new strategic plan, launched a new artistic initiative bringing groundbreaking artists to unexpected and unique venues throughout Austin (Opera ATX), established numerous community and university partnerships, and increased the company’s endowment funds by 33 percent.

As managing director at Opera Philadelphia, Burridge was responsible for implementing the company’s business plan and leading the development, marketing and communications departments. She led the company’s rebranding campaign and a comprehensive consumer study that resulted in the company’s new programming model and the creation of the O17 festival. During her tenure as Opera Philadelphia’s chief development officer, contributed income increased 183 percent.

Burridge holds a graduate certificate in nonprofit administration from the University of Pennsylvania; an M.M. in voice performance and an M.M. in opera studies from the New England Conservatory; and a B.M. in voice performance and a minor in business administration from Penn State University, where she graduated valedictorian of the College of Arts and Architecture. She is an alumna of Wharton’s Women’s Executive Leadership program and OPERA America’s Leadership Intensive program, and she was a 2017 Emerging Nonprofit Leadership Fellow at the Aspen Institute.

Tassio Carvalho
Senior Manager, Operations Research and Advanced Analytics, American Airlines

Tassio Carvalho is a senior manager at American Airlines’ Operations Research and Advanced Analytics department. His department provides analytical consulting to Sales, Marketing and Loyalty and coordinates all activities across the company on machine learning and artificial intelligence through a center of excellence. Carvalho has been with American Airlines since 2002 and has worked extensively with Pricing, Revenue Management, Scheduling, Alliances and Finance. Prior to American Airlines, he worked for Enron Global Markets and for IBM Research. He serves on the Board of Directors of The Dallas Opera and chairs its Audit Committee. He also serves on the Board of Directors of HP Arts, a nonprofit in Dallas that funds arts education in the Highland Park Independent School District. On behalf of American Airlines, he has provided numerous arts nonprofits with pro bono analytical consulting. He received his doctorate from Princeton University in 1996 and holds an aerospace engineering degree from the Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica in São Paulo, Brazil. Carvalho lives in University Park, Texas.

Anthony Freud
General Director, President and CEO, Lyric Opera of Chicago

Anthony Freud became general director of Lyric Opera of Chicago in October 2011. In addition to directing the company's artistic and business operations, he conceived of and launched the Lyric Unlimited initiative, and is forging important new relationships with a variety of other cultural organizations. A native of England, Freud is recognized internationally for his achievements as general director of Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera (2006–2011) and Welsh National Opera (1994–2005).

Former chair of both OPERA America and Opera Europa, Freud is the only person ever to have served as chair of both organizations. He chaired the jury for the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition (1995–2005) and was also a board member of the National Opera Studio in London (1994–2005). He has served on the juries of numerous international singing competitions. Freud was an executive producer for Philips Classics (1992–1994), where he managed recording projects for some of the world's leading classical artists. He was director of opera planning for Welsh National Opera (1988–1992), and was previously company secretary (1984–1988). Freud began his professional life at London's famous Sadler's Wells Theatre (1980–1984), where his duties included those of theater manager and company manager.

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, but chose instead to follow his passion for opera.

Carol F. Henry
Trustee, Los Angeles Opera

Carol F. Henry is one of the founders of Los Angeles Opera. She began volunteering for the company’s support organization, Los Angeles Opera League, in 1981, and has served on the board of the opera company since its founding in 1985. She is currently chair of the board’s executive committee, and she has previously served as its president.

Henry is involved with several civic and charitable organizations. She initially began her volunteerism with the Junior League of Los Angeles. She then went on to serve on the boards of trustees of the KCET Women's Council, the National Council on Alcoholism, the Cate School, Teach for America, the Pasadena Art Alliance and the ArtCenter College of Design. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music. Henry is a 2018 recipient of OPERA America’s National Opera Trustee Recognition Award, and she previously served as chair of the award’s selection committee.

After receiving a master’s degree from Stanford, Henry taught in public schools in Manhattan Beach, California, from 1962 to 1966.

Susan G. Marineau
Trustee, The Santa Fe Opera

Susan G. Marineau is the president of The Santa Fe Opera. She also currently serves on the board of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. In a long career of service, she has been a board member of the University of San Francisco and the Women’s Foundation of California. Marineau was also the president of the board of the Chicago Foundation for Women and founding president of Friends of Battered Women and Their Children.

Marineau has worked as an advertising copywriter, buyer for a large retailer and marketing consultant. She now has a studio in Stinson Beach, California, where she paints when her opera duties allow. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana and her M.B.A. from Loyola University in Chicago.

L. Michelle Smith
Director of Public Relations, AT&T Global Marketing Organization

L. Michelle Smith is a senior PR and integrated marketing leader, writer and speaker who thrives at the intersection of culture, technology and business. She is currently director of public relations for the AT&T Global Marketing Organization, leading all multi-year diversity campaigns, HR diversity and inclusion initiatives, and diversity-related brand, marketing, sponsorships and advertising. She is also the founder of AT&T’s inclusion marketing practice and provides strategic direction for all diversity and inclusion messaging for the company. She directs programs for nine diversity segments across multiple business units: women, veterans, LGBT, disability, 50+, millennials, African-Americans, Hispanic and Asian Pacific Islanders.

She has more than 20 years of experience as an integrated marketer and communicator at global agencies and her own boutique agency. She was recently confirmed as a member of the Board of Visitors for Texas Christian University’s Bob Schieffer College of Communication and is featured as an alumna in the TCU Lead On Campaign, representing Schieffer College. Smith is also a classically trained mezzo-soprano who has sung professionally across a number of genres. She is a frequent contributor to Black Enterprise. She has been named one of the Top 100 Women to Watch by Brand Innovators, a Technology All-Star by Women of Color STEM, a Diversity Distinction Champion by PR Council and PRWeek, and one of the Top 25 Women in Dallas by Rolling Out magazine.

A Dallas native, Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in English, with an emphasis in writing, and a Master of Science in media studies from TCU.

Robert S. Tancer
Trustee, Arizona Opera

Robert S. Tancer is a professor emeritus of international studies at the Thunderbird School of Global Management, now part of Arizona State University Carey School of Business. Professor Tancer received his B.A. and J.D. from the University of Michigan in 1957 and his LL.M. from Harvard University in 1960. He has been a member of the Arizona Opera board from 1996 through 2010 and from 2012 to the present. Tancer served as its president from 1999 to 2001 and from 2015 to 2017, and he is currently chair of the board’s Development Committee. He has served as chair of OPERA America’s National Opera Center Board of Overseers, and is a member of the National Patrons Council of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. He has also been chair of the board of the Phoenix Chamber Music Society and a member of the board of the Phoenix Symphony. He also serves as trustee emeritus of the Desert Botanical Garden. Tancer resides in Phoenix with his wife, Shoshana Baron Tancer.

Ryan Taylor
President and General Director, Minnesota Opera

Ryan Taylor was named president and general director of Minnesota Opera in May 2016, coming full circle to the company where he had been a resident artist 15 years earlier. Taylor previously served as general director of Arizona Opera, having begun his tenure there as director of artistic administration.

Previously, he served as artist manager and public relations director for ADA Artist Management in New York, and as manager of community development for Wolf Trap Opera. He also held posts as general director of the Berkshire Opera Company, artistic director of Singers Beyond Borders and co-founder of the Southeastern Festival of Song. He has served as a judge for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Young Texas Artists Music Competition and the Igor Gorin Memorial Award.

Taylor has presented over 70 distinct programs, including recitals, concerts, oratorios, ballets and operas. His producing partners have included the Atlanta Ballet, Atlanta Boy Choir, Bar Harbor Music Festival, Barrington Stage Company, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Dallas Museum of Art, Emily Dickinson Museum, New York Festival of Song, the Phillips Collection, Shakespeare Dallas, Tucson Desert Song Festival and Wolf Trap Foundation.

Before turning to artistic management and administration, Taylor enjoyed a 10-year career as an operatic baritone, performing over 30 operatic roles and numerous concerts and symphonies throughout North America, Germany and Asia.

Roger Weitz
General Director, Opera Omaha

A native of Omaha, Roger Weitz assumed the role of Opera Omaha’s general director in 2011. He holds a degree in music from Carleton College, where he studied voice and piano. His opera administration career began in 2000 with Chicago Opera Theater, where he served as artistic administrator for seven years under the leadership of General Director Brian Dickie. Weitz left COT in 2007 to accept an Arts Management Fellowship at the Kennedy Center, a highly selective international program. Following the Kennedy Center fellowship, Weitz returned to Chicago Opera Theater, where he served as the company’s general manager for three years before moving to Omaha.

To date, Weitz has managed the planning and creation of over 50 new productions, including several premieres, working with illustrious artists and creative teams from across the country and around the world. In his tenure at Opera Omaha, Weitz has grown the company significantly, doubling the patron base and exponentially expanding the number of community partnerships and individuals engaged. Opera Omaha’s recently completed 60th anniversary season saw the launch of an innovative new spring festival and a groundbreaking civic action initiative, the Holland Community Opera Fellowship — work that is key to Opera Omaha’s ongoing transformation from a performing arts organization to a cultural resource for the community.

Carole Yaley
Trustee, Central City Opera

Carole Yaley was a member of the Statewide Board of Directors for Virginia Opera from 2014–2017 and also served on the company’s Northern Virginia Board of Governors and Statewide Education and Finance Committees. After recently moving to Colorado, she joined Central City Opera’s Board of Directors. She has also been on OPERA America’s National Opera Center Board of Overseers since 2015. Her career was spent working as an attorney for Mobil Oil Corporation and Exxon Mobil Corporation, serving in a number of capacities, including corporate secretary during the merger between Mobil and Exxon and chief attorney for both the Fuels Marketing and Global Services companies of ExxonMobil. The University of Colorado Law School presented her with its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2013, and she is a member of the CU Law Alumni Board.

OPERA America's Board of Directors: FY2019

Chair: Timothy O’Leary (Washington National Opera)
Immediate Past Chair: Frayda B. Lindemann, Ph.D. (Trustee, The Metropolitan Opera)
Vice-Chair: Wayne S. Brown (Michigan Opera Theatre)
Vice-Chair: Laura Kaminsky
Vice-Chair: Kathryn Smith (Madison Opera)
Treasurer: Evan J. Hazell (Trustee, Pacific Opera Victoria)
Secretary: Perryn Leech (Houston Grand Opera)
President/CEO: Marc A. Scorca (OPERA America)

John E. Baumgardner Jr. (Sullivan & Cromwell LLP)
Annie Burridge (Austin Opera)
Ned Canty (Opera Memphis)
Tassio Carvalho (American Airlines)
Rena M. De Sisto (Bank of America)
Larry Desrochers (Manitoba Opera)
David B. Devan (Opera Philadelphia)
Carol E. Domina
Michael Egel (Des Moines Metro Opera)
Robert Ellis (Trustee, San Francisco Opera, Opera Parallèle)
Anthony Freud (Lyric Opera of Chicago)
Barbara Glauber (Trustee, New England Conservatory)
Denyce Graves-Montgomery
Carol F. Henry (Los Angeles Opera)
Carol Lazier (Trustee, San Diego Opera)
Susan G. Marineau (The Santa Fe Opera)
Zizi Mueller (Boosey & Hawkes, Ricordi NY)
John Nesholm (Trustee, Seattle Opera)
Nicole Paiement (Opera Parallèle)
Bill Palant (Étude Arts)
Jane DiRenzo Pigott (Trustee, Lyric Opera of Chicago)
Yuval Sharon (The Industry)
Matthew Shilvock (San Francisco Opera)
L. Michelle Smith (AT&T Global Marketing Organization)
Jill Steinberg (Trustee, National Sawdust)
Robert Tancer (Arizona Opera)
Ryan Taylor (Minnesota Opera)
John G. Turner (Trustee, Houston Grand Opera)
Dona D. Vaughn (Opera Maine, Manhattan School of Music)
Roger Weitz (Opera Omaha)
Carole Yaley (Central City Opera)

Ex-Officio Members
Christina Loewen (Opera.ca)
Nicholas Payne (Opera Europa)


For more information on OPERA America, visit About Us.

For press inquiries, contact Press@operaamerica.org or 212.796.8628.