LSM Newswire

Monday, June 1, 2009

Marc A. Scorca to lead Opera America through 2016; Two elected to Board of Directors



OPERA America, the national service organization for opera, is pleased to announce that the contract of its president & CEO, Marc A. Scorca, has been extended through 2016. Anthony Freud, chairman of OPERA America’s Board of Directors, announced the news at the organization’s Annual Business Meeting, which took place during OPERA America’s recent conference in Houston, Texas. During Opera Conference 2009, the Board of Directors also elected two new members to join its ranks: Gregory C. Swinehart and Darren K. Woods.

Mr. Scorca’s extended tenure will encompass several significant anniversaries. In 2010, OPERA America will celebrate 40 years of service to the opera community and Mr. Scorca’s 20th anniversary with the organization. He will also mark his 25th anniversary with the organization in 2015.

“The level of service OPERA America has provided to the field has increased dramatically over the last 20 years, and Marc Scorca has been the driving force behind these initiatives,” stated Mr. Freud. “As the entire opera field has expanded, OPERA America has played an important role in the significant number of North American opera premieres and in the formation of dynamic new opera companies. Marc has been a superb president and CEO of OPERA America for the last nineteen years. He is a truly major figure in our field, commanding great respect and admiration, nationally and internationally, for his vision, expertise and leadership. As OPERA America approaches its fortieth anniversary, and as Marc approaches his twentieth, we are thrilled that this outstanding partnership will continue to evolve and develop in the years to come."

The newly-elected members of OPERA America’s Board of Directors are Gregory C. Swinehart, United States and North American managing partner of Deloitte’s Forensic and Dispute Services practice, and Darren K. Woods, general director of Fort Worth Opera.

Mr. Swinehart has spent 22 years providing specialized economic, operational and accounting consulting services to clients. He has also served on a number of boards of directors, including The Minnesota Opera. Prior to joining Deloitte, Mr. Swinehart was a partner in a boutique consulting firm and worked as a product and process engineer at 3M. With his legal experience at Deloitte and as an opera lover, Mr. Swinehart will bring fresh perspective to OPERA America’s Board of Directors.

A former operatic tenor who has gone on to lead Fort Worth Opera, Shreveport Opera and the Seagle Music Colony, Mr. Woods possesses significant insight about the needs of performers and companies. He is an advocate of contemporary American compositions, and in 2007, Fort Worth Opera celebrated its first operatic commission: Frau Margot by Thomas Pasatieri and libretto by Frank Corsaro. Mr. Woods is a frequent vocal competition judge, serving on the panels for the Richard Tucker Foundation and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, among many others.


Monday, January 26, 2009

OPERA America Announces Recipients of the 2009 National Opera Trustee Recognition Award



New York, NYOPERA America, the national service organization for opera, is proud to announce the 2009 recipients of the National Opera Trustee Recognition Award. In its second year, this award honors trustees of U.S. opera companies for exemplary leadership, generosity and audience building efforts on behalf of their respective opera companies.

The 2009 National Opera Trustee Recognition honorees are Mr. John T. Cody, Jr. of The Dallas Opera, Mr. Richard Holland of Opera Omaha, Mrs. Beth Ingram of Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Mr. C. Guy Rudisill, III of Piedmont Opera.

OPERA America is committed to recognizing strong trustee leaders, understanding the pivotal role they play in the success of opera companies and the vitality of the communities they serve. In acknowledging and celebrating the dedication of board members at the national level, the National Opera Trustee Recognition Program seeks to strengthen the relationships between opera companies and their trustees and to inspire exemplary service to opera companies across the United States.

“Presenting consistently high-quality opera requires a dedicated staff guided and supported by a strong board,” stated Marc A. Scorca, president & CEO of OPERA America. “The value of dedicated board members who provide passion, vision and generous support cannot be overstated. We are pleased to be joined by Bank of America in recognizing the achievements of these trustees.”

“Bank of America is a leading supporter of the arts and believes that these institutions are critical to ensuring the cultural and economic vitality of our communities,’” said Keith Banks, head of Bank of America Global Private Client, Institutional and Investment Management. “We are pleased to sponsor this noble initiative as the trustees play an important role in developing their local opera company as cultural pillars in their community.”

Each year, OPERA America member companies are invited to nominate one of their trustees for this award. A single honoree from each of the four OPERA America budget levels is chosen by an adjudication committee through a competitive selection process.

The honorees represent a significant range of accomplishments, generosity and a deep commitment to promoting opera in their communities. The following profiles illustrate just a few examples of the dedication of these trustees.

After fourteen seasons with The Dallas Opera, John Cody held the top administrative position for a year while the company searched for its new general director. He has resumed the position in the wake of the brief tenure of George Steel. Mr. Cody is the retired President and COO of J.C. Penney with more than 35 years of executive experience. He joined the Board of Directors of The Dallas Opera in 1993 and has served on the Development, Finance and Marketing committees, as well as on the Board of The Dallas Opera Foundation. Mr. Cody became President of the company in June 2004 and guided a two-year project to develop a strategic positioning statement and roadmap designed to take The Dallas Opera through its historic move into the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House. He served as Chairman of the Board of Directors from 2006-2008 and as Interim General Director from June through September 2008. He resumed the position of Interim General Director as of January, 2009.

Native Omahan and retired advertising executive Richard Holland has been a tireless advocate of Opera Omaha. Shortly after its 1958 founding, Mr. Holland joined other community leaders in helping them grow from a community enterprise to a budding professional regional company. He served as Board President from 1966 to 1970 and, over the past 40 years, has remained a constant supporter, both in a governance capacity and as a donor. In his forward for the book Opera Omaha: The First Fifty Years, Mr. Holland wrote “…we believe we have helped make Omaha a better place to live and work.” While maintaining and expanding his leadership giving to Opera Omaha, Mr. Holland is a major supporter of many social service organizations. He called on the Peter Kiewit Foundation to co-commission a study on the economic impact of performing arts in Omaha, which clearly proved the high value these groups bring to the region.

Beth Ingram is an enthusiastic promoter and generous patron of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. As a 42-year member of the Board of Directors, she has held the officer positions of secretary, treasurer, vice-president, president, vice-chairman and chairman. She was the first woman president on the Lyric Opera Board and continued in her leading role by serving on the Executive Committee for the majority of those years. Mrs. Ingram was the lead donor and honorary chairman for the Company’s 2003 Endowment Campaign that raised $11.5 million to establish a fund to enhance the artistic quality of productions and twice has served as honorary chairman for the Company’s major fund raising event, the Lyric Opera Ball. The Golden Anniversary Ball held last season raised a record-breaking $1.4 million for the Company and ensured adequate funding for their ambitious 50th Anniversary Season.

C. Guy Rudisill, III has been involved with Piedmont Opera for more than ten years, serving as President of the Board from 2000 to 2002. A member of Piedmont Opera’s Major Gifts Committee, Mr. Rudisill is highly involved with fundraising for the company and last year helped raise $200,000 over and above the company’s budget. For a period of time during his tenure as Board President, Piedmont Opera was without a General Manager. Until a successor could be identified, Mr. Rudisill assumed many of the General Manager’s duties. Mr. Rudisill also serves on the Advocacy Committee of the local Arts Council and takes an active role in reminding the local, state and national elected officials of the importance of the arts to the community, state and nation.

OPERA America and Bank of America will pay tribute to the 2009 honorees and celebrate their remarkable achievements at a dinner and reception on Saturday, February 21, 2009, in New York City.

OPERA America’s commitment to recognizing excellence in governance is shared by its sister organization, the Canadian national association for opera. honors Mr. J. Rob Collins of the Canadian Opera Company as the first recipient of its National Opera Directors Recognition Program.

About OPERA America

OPERA America leads and serves the entire opera community, supporting the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera.

  • Artistic services help opera companies and creative and performing artists to improve the quality of productions and increase the creation and presentation of North American works.
  • Information, technical and administrative services to opera companies reflect the need for strengthened leadership among staff, trustees and volunteers.
  • Education, audience development and community services are designed to enhance all forms of opera appreciation.

Founded in 1970, OPERA America’s worldwide membership network includes nearly 200 Company Members, 300 Associate and Business Members, 2,000 Individual Members and more than 18,000 subscribers to the association’s electronic news service.

OPERA America’s long tradition of supporting and nurturing the creation and development of new works led to the formation of The Opera Fund, a growing endowment which allows OPERA America to make a direct impact on the ongoing creation and presentation of new opera and music-theater works. Since its inception, OPERA America has made grants of more than $10.5 million to assist companies with the expenses associated with the creation and development of new works.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Opera America Announces Opera Fund Director-Designer Showcase Finalists

New York, NYOPERA America, the national service organization for opera, announces that four finalist teams have been chosen for its first Director-Designer Showcase.

As part of a continuing effort to foster emerging opera artists, the bi-annual Director-Designer Showcase seeks to benefit promising stage directors and designers interested in breaking into the world of opera. It is intended to bring new talent to the forefront and connect promising artists with those who are in a position to hire them. To be administered as part of OPERA America’s Opera Fund, the inaugural Director-Designer Showcase is supported by a special grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Working from a diverse list of American operas, applicants were asked to complete a production concept, including an explanation of the staging; ideas and initial research for scenery, props and costumes; required personnel; and suggestions for adaptations and/or editing, if any. A total of 41 director-driven teams submitted proposals for consideration; four of these were selected as finalists.

Each finalist team will be given $1,000 to be used toward the production of renderings and models. Up to two representatives from each finalist team will be flown to OPERA America’s Opera Conference 2009 in Houston to present their proposals to general and artistic directors at a special session.

“The Director-Designer Showcase supports talented emerging artists by providing them with unparalleled access at the Opera Conference to the field’s decision-makers,” stated Marc A. Scorca, president & CEO of OPERA America. “The production proposals displayed the remarkable range of talent and creativity of these young directors and designers. By highlighting these artists at the Showcase, OPERA America is proud to assist in furthering their careers.”

The four finalist teams were selected by a panel that included Peter Dean Beck, designer; John Duykers, singer/teacher; Christopher Mattaliano, stage director/general director of Portland Opera; Diane Paulus, stage director and Darren K. Woods, general director of Fort Worth Opera.

“I was astounded at the level of preparation and creativity of the applicants,” declared Mr. Woods. “Most all of them had done mounds of research and then translated them into incredible images and drawings. I think the winning teams’ projects could go directly from the page to the stage – they were that good.”

OPERA America Director-Designer Showcase Finalists

  • Mourning Becomes ElectraAndrew Eggert, director; Anka Lupes, set and costume designer; Aaron Black, lighting designer
  • Florencia en el Amazonas Lawrence Edelson, director; Martin T. Lopez, set and costume designer; Josh Epstein, lighting designer; Lauri Stallings, choreographer
  • AinadamarMike Donahue, director; Anya Klepikov, set and costume designer; Ji-Youn Chang, lighting designer; Sara Erde, choreographer; Daniel Vatsky, projection designer
  • Einstein on the BeachElise Sandell, director; Liz Freese, set and costume designer; Gordon W. Olson, lighting designer; Keturah Stickann, choreographer

As a core tenet of OPERA America’s mission to support North American works, The Opera Fund and its precursor funding programs have awarded more than $10.5 million in grants to companies throughout the U.S. and Canada since 1983. The Opera Fund supports three areas: Repertoire Development – production of new operas; Audience Development – building appreciation of American works; and Artist Development – support of artists who create and interpret the repertoire. The Director-Designer Showcase is a component of The Opera Fund’s Artist Development program.

The Opera Fund has been supported thus far by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, the George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation, Lloyd and Mary Ann Gerlach, Lee Day Gillespie, the Helen F. Whitaker Fund, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The Opera Fund was launched in 2001 and the Director-Designer Showcase is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.

In addition to selecting finalists, the panel recognized four additional noteworthy proposals:

  • Four Saints in Three ActsMichael Rau, director; Sara Walsh, set designer; Jessica Pabst, costume designer; Derek Wright, lighting designer
  • Einstein on the BeachGregory Keller, director; Dipu Gupta, set and lighting designer; Melissa Schlactmeyer, costume designer; Brady Paul, choreographer
  • AinadamarJoseph Cermatori, director; Michael Locher, set designer; Paul Carey, costume designer; Burke Brown, lighting designer; Stephanie Ybarra, producer
  • X – The Life and Times of Malcolm XEric Einhorn, director; Kathryn Kawecki, set designer; Candida K. Nichols, costume designer

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