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Event Published: 09 Apr 2022

Backstage Brunch 2022: Event Hub

Thank you for joining us for the 2022 Backstage Brunch!
A recording of the Brunch is available below.


Donations to the Backstage Brunch support the protégés and mentors of the 2022 Mentorship Program for Women Administrators.

All tickets and contributions are 100% tax-deductible.

Event Program

Katherine Baltrush Little
 (Protégé 2021)
Associate Director of Operations, San Francisco Opera

Katie Preissner (Protégé 2018)
Director of Production and Artistic Services, Opera Colorado



Laura Lee Everett
Chief Programs Officer, OPERA America
Co-Chair, OA's Women's Opera Network

Greetings from the Regional Chairs
View list of regional chairs


Performance I

Tamar-kali, Composer

Excerpt from We Hold These Truths
View synopsis and excerpt text

Selah Gospel Choir 

Poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar 
Cinematography by dream hampton 
Produced by Los Angeles Opera 

This project is generously supported by a consortium of donors to LA Opera’s Contemporary Opera Initiative, chaired by Nancy and Barry Sanders. 


Keynote Presentation

Nataki Garrett 
Artistic Director, Oregon Shakespeare Festival 
2021 OPERA America awardee for the Opera Grants for Women Stage Directors and Conductors, for her work with Portland Opera's The Central Park Five 


Performance II

Johanny Navarro, Composer 

Excerpts from ¿Y los pasteles? Ópera jíbara en dos actos 
“Aprende de tu madre”  
“Si me dan Pasteles”
View synopsis and excerpt text

Zulimar López as Doña Tere
Nasha Padilla as Amiga 1
Gabrielle Timofeeca as Amiga 2
Jehú Otero as Amigo 1
Martín Nieves as Amigo 2

Libretto by José Félix Gómez
Conducted by Yabetza Vivas
Audio Mix by Edgar Segarra
Video by César “Che” Figueroa

Developed with support from an OPERA America Opera Grants for Women Composers: Discovery Grant.


Featured Interview

How Far We've Come
A featured presentation and interview of past grantees and protégés about where they have gone in their careers. 

Laura Lee Everett

Chief Programs Officer, OPERA America
Co-Chair, OA's Women's Opera Network 

Laura Kaminsky (Discovery Grant Awardee 2014), Composer of As One 
Rebekah Diaz (Protégé 2019), Director of Community Engagement and IDEA Initiatives, Pittsburgh Opera 
Julia Noulin-Mérat (Protégé 2019), General Director and CEO, Opera Columbus 


Networking Hangouts

1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET (Optional)
You will be invited to breakout rooms with the featured guests to ask questions and converse with fellow attendees.

Regional Event Chairs

  • Nancy Barton, New York City Chair
  • Sue Bienkowski, Long Beach Chair
  • Jessica Burton, Columbus Chair
  • Kristina Flanagan, Santa Fe Chair
  • Laura Kaminsky, New York City Chair
  • Gloria Portela, Houston Chair
  • Karen Ritz, Denver Chair
  • Jeri Sedlar, Sarasota Chair
  • Rhonda Sweeney, Houston Chair 
  • Shoshana Tancer, Phoenix Chair 
  • Elisabeth J. Waltz, Austin Chair 

About the Featured Guests

About the Featured Composers

About the Featured Performances

About the Emcees & Interviewers

Special Thanks to Our Sponsors

Angel - $5,000

Jacqueline Badger Mars

Benefactor - $1,000

Nancy Barton
Sue Bienkowski
Sara Morgan
Maryanne Tagney
Elisabeth J. Waltz
Roma Wittcoff
Eva Womack

Contributor - $500

Elizabeth Eveillard
Julia Noulin-Mérat
Nicole Paiement

Supporter - $250

Astrid Baumgardner
Stacy Brightman
Annie Burridge
Jessica Burton
Ana De Archuleta
Nancie Dominic
Rebecca Duncan
Karin Eames
Kim Eberlein
Joan S. Faber
Kristina Flanagan
Gail Guillet
Laura Kaminsky
Corey Kinger
Miranda Lind
Lynn Loacker
Andrea Miller
Gloria Portela
Karen Ritz
Laura Roskind
Deborah Sandler Kemper
Marc A. Scorca
Rhonda Sweeney
Shoshana Tancer
Dannehl M. Twomey
Judith Wolf
Eileen Woodbury
Eden McNabb Bishop

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 2022 Backstage Brunch will support the next cohort of protégé-mentor pairs, while highlighting stories of women’s empowerment and advocacy by leading women in opera.