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Press Published: 09 Aug 2023

OPERA America Announces 2023 National Opera Trustee Recognition Awards

Recipients to be honored at OPERA America Salutes Awards Dinner, January 26, 2024, in New York City

OPERA America is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2023 National Opera Trustee Recognition Awards, which honor outstanding trustees of North American opera companies for their exemplary leadership and service on behalf of their respective organizations.

The 2023 National Opera Trustee Recognition Awards recipients are:

  • Sarah Moulton Faux, The American Opera Project
  • Keith Geeslin, San Francisco Opera
  • Anne Kline, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
  • Russell McColman, BARN OPERA
  • Francis Price, Edmonton Opera (Association for Opera in Canada recipient)
  • Nadege Souvenir, Minnesota Opera

See below for full biographies of the honorees.

The National Opera Trustee Recognition Awards are made possible with the generous support of Bank of America.

All OPERA America Professional Company Members are invited to nominate one board member for recognition each year. Nominees are evaluated based on their contributions to their company’s overall success, board effectiveness, and community impact, as well as their support of their company’s pandemic recovery and commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

U.S. nominees are reviewed by a committee of prior honorees. The 2023 committee was chaired by Carol Lazier of San Diego Opera and included Arlene Ferebee, Opera Carolina; John Fitzgerald, IN Series; Elizabeth Hernandez, Opera Cultura; Chris Murray, Opera Las Vegas; John Nesholm, Seattle Opera; Ruth Orth, Pensacola Opera; Chérie Shreck, Des Moines Metro Opera; and Stacey Hunt Spier, El Paso Opera. The Canadian National Opera Director Recognition Award recipient is selected by a committee from the Association for Opera in Canada. 

“The 2023 National Opera Trustee Recognition Award recipients represent the best of our field’s leadership,” stated Marc A. Scorca, president and CEO of OPERA America. “We shine a light on their service to their opera companies as models of superb nonprofit governance. Their exceptional service to their companies strengthens opera across North America.”

OPERA America will present the National Opera Trustee Recognition Awards at the OPERA America Salutes awards dinner on Friday, January 26, 2024, in New York City. The event will include cocktails, dinner, and musical performances by singers from the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.

The OPERA America Salutes awards dinner generates essential support for OPERA America’s professional development programs. Proceeds underwrite the organization’s Leadership Intensive, New General Director Roundtables, and Mentorship Programs. Single tickets ($350+) and tables ($5,000+) to OPERA America Salutes will be available at operaamerica.org/OASalutes in Fall 2023, reservations are required by Friday, January 5, 2024.

For more information about the National Opera Trustee Recognition Awards, including past recipients, visit operaamerica.org/NOTRA.

2022 National Opera Trustee Recognition Awards Recipients

Sarah Moulton Faux
The American Opera Project
Budget 4 Honoree
(Annual Company Budget $250K – $1M)

Sarah Moulton Faux is board co-president of The American Opera Project (AOP) and previously served on the Governance Committee. A soprano by training, Faux is a champion of women composers and is the 2022 America Prize Winner for her debut album “Where Should This Music Be? Songs of Lola Williams” produced by Judith Sherman and released by New World Records. At AOP, she has effectively recruited new board members; created both a new executive committee and a new board manual; helped the company navigate the pandemic and leadership transitions; and served as an ambassador for the company in the local community and abroad. In addition to her role at AOP, Faux serves on the board of Southampton Cultural Center, an organization that provides arts programming and live performances in Southampton, NY. 

Keith Geeslin
San Francisco Opera
Budget 1 Honoree
Annual Company Budget Over $15M

Keith Geeslin, a partner emeritus at the technology investment firm Francisco Partners, joined the board of San Francisco Opera (SFO) in 2010 and has served as president for the past decade. With General Director Matthew Shilvock, Geeslin has worked to grow SFO’s audiences, establishing new ticketing models, and prioritized building SFO’s endowment, which has doubled in size to more than $260 million during his tenure. In the pandemic, Geeslin’s leadership was pivotal in ensuring the financial stability of the company and prioritizing the well-being of its members. He has also spearheaded initiatives to improve governance processes and practices, making board meetings more participatory, purposeful, and impactful. Outside of his involvement with the SFO, Geeslin is actively engaged in various nonprofits in San Francisco, particularly those addressing homelessness and other pressing social issues.

Anne Kline
Wolf Trap Opera
Budget 3 Honoree
Annual Company Budget $1M – $3M

Anne Kline, director of the Pohanka Family Office at Pohanka Automotive Group, joined the board of Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts in 2015 and has served as chair of the Communications and Marketing Committee since 2021. Kline has been a passionate advocate for the company, especially Wolf Trap Opera (WTO), on every level, from educating her fellow board members to introducing newcomers to the opera. As part of a campaign to grow Wolf Trap’s endowment, Kline established the Geoffrey P. Pohanka and Anne R. Kline Fund to support WTO’s staff, artists, programming, and audience development. She was also the lead sponsor of the company’s 2022 La traviata, its first full-scale production since the pandemic. In addition to Wolf Trap, Kline is a board member of Washington National Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, and Lehigh University and is a member of the Kennedy Center’s National Committee for the Performing Arts.

Russell McColman
Budget 5 Honoree
Annual Company Budget Under $250K

Russel McColman is the technical director at BARN OPERA and has been a member of the company’s board since its inception in 2018, serving as vice president and later as interim president during a leadership transition. In 2020, McColman spearheaded the renovation of the BARN OPERA House, an 1825 post-and-beam barn where the company performs, and led a small team in the construction work necessary to upgrade the building. During his tenure, McColman has used his extensive skills as a self-proclaimed “people person” to attract opera lovers to performances, recruit new supporters and volunteers, and help establish BARN OPERA as a valued community asset. Outside of his board responsibilities, he has played an instrumental role in the technical elements of performances by running lights and projections. 

Francis Price
Edmonton Opera
Association for Opera in Canada Honoree

Francis Price, a board member of Edmonton Opera for over 20 years, is a partner at Reynolds Mirth Richards & Farmer LPP, where he acts as an arbitrator and mediator in various fields of labor and commercial disputes. In his role at Edmonton Opera, he has made significant contributions to the company’s success, notably leading an annual endowment campaign that has raised millions of dollars over the past decade. Price also supports the company as a donor, hosts visiting artists, and provides valuable insights as an attorney to the management team. He has been instrumental in supporting young artists and promoting diverse storytelling through partnerships with other arts organizations, such as the Edmonton International Fringe Festival and Pop Goes the Opera.

Nadege Souvenir
Minnesota Opera
Budget 2 Honoree
Annual Company Budget $3M – $15M

Nadege Souvenir, chief operating officer of the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation, joined the board of Minnesota Opera in 2013 and was elected its chair in 2021 after having served as secretary and vice chair. Souvenir’s accomplishments at Minnesota Opera include helping develop the company’s diversity charter; serving as chair of the Governance and Nominating Committee; guiding the board of directors’ composition from 14% to 23% BIPOC; and developing the board’s successful online meeting format. Souvenir has also championed Minnesota Opera’s causes both locally and abroad and strengthened the company’s connections with local political leaders. In addition to Minnesota Opera, Souvenir is a board member of OPERA America, the Arts Partnership, and the Blandin Foundation, and she serves on the Advisory Board for Fashion Week Minnesota and the Minnesota Compass Governance Committee.


For more information on OPERA America, visit About Us.

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