Backstage Brunch 2021

A virtual salon and fundraiser in support of OPERA America’s Mentorship Program for Women Administrators

Saturday, April 17, 2021
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. ET
Presented Live on Zoom

Karen Slack
Soprano and Advocate
Artistic Advisor, Portland Opera
Creator and Host, Kiki Konversations

Justine F. Chen & Niloufar Nourbakhsh
OPERA America Grant Recipients

Anne Midgette
Former Chief Classical Music Critic, The Washington Post

Networking Hangouts (optional)
1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET

Chaired by Generous Women in Communities Across North America

  • Sue Bienkowski, Long Beach Chair
  • Astrid Baumgardner, Past Chair (New York City)
  • Michele Fabrizi, Pittsburgh Chair
  • Margee Filstrup, Tulsa Chair
  • Carol Henry, Los Angeles Chair
  • Laura Kaminsky, Past Chair (New York City)
  • Sue Marineau, Santa Fe Chair
  • Jeri Sedlar, Past Chair (Sarasota)
  • Jill Steinberg, Past Chair (New York City)
  • Rhonda Sweeney, Houston Chair
  • Shoshana Tancer, Phoenix Chair
  • Elisabeth Waltz, Austin Chair

Are you interested in serving as a regional chair in your community? Learn more.

Mitra Sadeghpour
, Education Director, Minnesota Opera (Protégé 2018)
Stacy C. Brightman, Vice President, LA Opera Connects (Mentor 2018)

Rebekah Diaz
, Manager of Community Engagement and IDEA Initiatives, Pittsburgh Opera (Protégé 2019)

Empowering Women in Opera

OPERA America’s Mentorship Program for Women Administrators promotes the advancement of women into leadership positions across the field. Established in 2018 with support from the inaugural Backstage Brunch, the program responded to an unfortunate reality: Women are underrepresented in opera’s top positions, especially in larger companies.

The Mentorship Program pairs the field’s most promising women professionals with accomplished opera leaders who can support these protégés in achieving their career goals. Overseen by the Women’s Opera Network, an action group of opera stakeholders dedicated to advancing gender parity, each protégé-mentor pair works together over twelve months, with an orientation meeting at the mentor’s home company and coaching throughout the year. Mentors guide protégés in identifying and overcoming barriers to their achievement.

The 2021 Backstage Brunch will support the next cohort of protégé-mentor pairs, while highlighting stories of female empowerment and advocacy by leading women in opera.

Special Thanks to the Sponsors of the 2021 Backstage Brunch

Confidante - $5,000

Roma Wittcoff

Counselor - $1,000

Susan Bienkowski
Margee Filstrup
Sara S. Morgan
John Nesholm
Sarah Billinghurst Solomon
Jill Steinberg

Coach - $500

Nancy Barton
Lisa Bury
Carol Domina
Betty Eveillard
Joan Faber
Robert W. Garrett
Kathleen Kelly
Susan Marineau
Julia Noulin-Mérat
Susan Roberts
Shoshana Tancer
W. Elisabeth Juen Waltz

Companion - $250

Astrid Baumgardner
Eden Bishop
Anne-Marie Blancquaert-Bruyninckx
Renee Cavalovitch
Susan Esco Chandler
Karin Eames
Kim Eberlein
Michele Fabrizi
Nicole Freber
Catherine French
Jeanne Goffi-Fynn
Julie Grady Heard
Carol Henry
Corey Kinger
Karen Kubin
Sally Kurnick
David Lind
Lynn Loacker
Andrea Miller
Lee Anne Myslewski
Gloria Portela
Roberta Ramo
Marc A. Scorca
Jeri Sedlar
Rhonda Sweeney
Carole Yaley

Event Tickets
  • Single - $100
  • Household - $200
    Two or more people with a single Zoom log-on.
  • Professional - $50
    Administrator or artist working in opera.
  • Sponsored - Free
    Administrators or artists who are unable to purchase a ticket may request a ticket underwritten by event sponsors.
Sponsor Tickets
  • Companion - $250
    Household ticket plus sponsorship of one professional.
  • Coach - $500
    Household ticket plus sponsorship of six professionals.
  • Counselor - $1,000
    Sponsorship of an orientation meeting of a protégé-mentor pair, plus a household ticket.
  • Confidante - $5,000
    Sponsorship of a protégé-mentor pair for a full year, plus a household ticket and additional event tickets for friends and family, upon request.
  • Donations to the Backstage Brunch underwrite the participation of administrators and artists who are unable to purchase tickets to the event, and support the protégés and mentors of the 2021 Mentorship Program for Women Administrators.

All tickets and contributions are 100% tax-deductible.

Regional Chairs

Regional chairs of the 2021 Backstage Brunch serve as ambassadors in rallying local support around the national event and Mentorship Program. Regional chairs:

  • Commit to purchasing a Sponsor Ticket ($250+) to the Brunch.
  • Extend invitations to recruit at least 3 additional friends or colleagues to purchase tickets or make contributions.
  • Are recognized on the Backstage Brunch webpage and virtual event program as representatives of their local community.
  • Can contribute video messages to the opening Brunch greeting and post-event communications.

If you're interested in serving as a regional chair, contact Dan Cooperman, chief advancement officer, at DCooperman@operaamerica.org or 646.699.5266.

R.S.V.P. by Wednesday, April 14, 2021

See who's coming this year.

Backstage Brunch Photos: 2016-2020

Formerly held in-person at our National Opera Center in New York City.