Essentials of Opera Governance

A Snapshot Series for Opera Company Trustees Led by Marc A. Scorca, President/CEO of OPERA America

OPERA America invites you to a webinar series on the fundamentals of opera company governance. Drawing from his board workshop curricula, President/CEO Marc A. Scorca offers afternoon insights into key topics that are essential to a strong board. Join us for one or more sessions over the course of the series.

Register for Fall 2021

The Essentials of Opera Governance is free to OPERA America Individual Members.

Trustees who are not Individual Members of OPERA America can join for $75 while registering for the series.

For assistance, contact us at or 646.699.5248.


Fall 2021

Board-Staff Relationship
Thursday, October 14, 2021
4:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. ET
How do board and staff members succeed together? In this session, we examine the unique nature of the partnership, with a special focus on how trustees can support and collaborate with the development team to achieve company goals.

Board-General Director Relationship
Thursday, October 28, 2021
4:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. ET
How can board members fulfill their obligation to evaluate the performance of their general director? In this session, we review a board’s role in working with company leaders to establish criteria for assessment, as well as discuss company leadership models, succession planning, and leadership transitions.

Strategic Planning
Thursday, November 11, 2021
4:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. ET
How can strategic planning help companies emerge from the disruption of COVID-19? In this session, we review the process, scope, and role board members should anticipate when charting a course for their company.

Measuring Success
Thursday, December 2, 2021
4:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. ET
Revenue, audience counts, reviews, community touchpoints, personal inspiration — what matters when assessing company success? In this session, we discuss the indicators trustees can monitor when evaluating their company’s work.

2020‒2021 Series

Board Roles and Responsibilities
Thursday, September 24, 2020
What do trustees need to fulfill their responsibilities effectively? In this session, we look at the importance of financial understanding, operational awareness, and key indicators of success.

Board-Staff Partnership
Thursday, October 8, 2020
How do board and staff members succeed together? In this session, we discuss the mutually supportive and flexible partnerships that lead to reciprocal effectiveness.

Qualities of a Good Board
Thursday, October 22, 2020
What makes for a good board? In this session, we consider team spirit, strategic clarity, responsiveness, and other qualities identified by opera trustees in workshops across the country.

Board Size and Committees
Thursday, November 5, 2020
Too big or too small? Too many or too few? In this session, we answer these questions by discussing how developing bonds of mutual obligation and creating individual purposefulness fuel engagement.

Increasing Board Diversity
Thursday, November 19, 2020
How can companies diversify their boards? In this session, we identify the historic barriers and show how mutually beneficial partnerships can lead to organic recruitment.

Basics of Civic Practice
Thursday, March 4, 2021
How can companies expand the public value of opera? In this session, we discuss the need for opera companies to engage as active cultural citizens and help address civic priorities, and the role board members play in building strong community partnerships.

Building a Stronger Board
Thursday, March 11, 2021
How can opera companies recruit and retain board members with the skills, connections, and enthusiasm needed to achieve organizational goals? In this session, we look at how strategic cultivation, orientation, and defined purpose — in financial, operational, and artistic areas — can optimize board effectiveness.

Questions of Term Limits and Board Giving
Thursday, March 25, 2021
Rotate or remain? Give or get? Required or not? In this session, we address these provocative questions and how board members can balance answers with the strategic needs of their companies.

Board Members and the Fundraising Process
Thursday, April 8, 2021
Must every board member really ask for money? In this session, we examine the entire fundraising process and the ways trustees can engage productively in the cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of donors.

Planning for Future Possibilities
Thursday, April 15, 2021
Strategic Plan? Operating Plan? Scenario Plan? In this session, we examine the role trustees play in charting the future of their opera companies through three complementary planning processes.