Essentials of Opera Governance

A Two-Part 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 10 key topics that are essential to a strong board. Join us for one or more sessions over the course of the fall and spring series.

The Essentials of Opera Governance is free to OPERA America Individual Members. Trustees who are not Individual Members of OPERA America can join to participate.

Registration for a Fall 2021 Series will open in late-summer.

For assistance, contact us at or 646.699.5248.


Part 2: Spring 2021

Basics of Civic Practice
Thursday, March 4, 2021
4:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. ET
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
4:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. ET
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
4:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. ET
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
4:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. ET
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
4:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. ET
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.

Part 1: Fall 2020

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.