Opera Roanoke Announces New Leadership Ahead of Exciting Season

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June 22, 2018

Opera Roanoke announced June 20, 2018, that Maestro Steven White, a conductor with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, will lead the company’s 43rd Season as Interim Artistic Director. 

Following the resignation of Scott Williamson, who leaves after eight years to pursue other artistic endeavors, the Board of Trustees announced that Maestro White would lead the company artistically in its 43rd Season. “Scott Williamson leaves big shoes to fill, and I am thrilled that Maestro White is available to step in for our next season. As one of North America’s premier conductors of both symphonic and operatic works, Steven brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, as well as his passion for both opera and Opera Roanoke,” said Betsy Head, President of the Board of Trustees for Opera Roanoke.  Maestro White returns to Opera Roanoke after having served as Artistic Director from 2004-2010.  “Opera Roanoke has always been near and dear to my heart;” said White, who continued, “I’m honored and pleased once again to be able to take a more active role in what I consider to be my home company.”

 Other leadership changes include the announcement of a promotion for Ms. Brooke Tolley to Chief Operating Officer and Director of Opera Roanoke’s innovative Apprentice Artist Program.  “I am thrilled to take on this new leadership role, and to be working more closely with our apprentices by providing opportunities for them to learn and succeed in this art form,” Tolley said.  Tolley was Opera Roanoke’s first apprentice to join the program at its inception in 2011, under the tutelage of Scott Williamson. 

 Opera Roanoke’s 43rd season will look slightly different than previous years, but with no less enthusiasm and excitement.  The company is launching a multi-year “Crescendo Campaign,” led by Director of Development Brent Murrill, with focused fundraising efforts on building the endowment and decreasing debts. 

 Offering a season of “Opera to Live and Die For,” a one-afternoon-only gala concert will be held at the Jefferson Center on October 14, 2018.  This production will feature the full force of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, led by Maestro White, and a cast of “to-die-for” singers, guiding the audience through the last acts of four grand operas. 

 Promising “Opera to Live For” in May 2019, Opera Roanoke will return to the Trinkle Mainstage at Center in the Square for three fully-staged performances of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville.  A raucous comedy that’s sure to please the whole family, Barber is full of familiar melodies, both sung and played by virtuosic musicians, led by the dream-team of conductor Steven White and stage director Scott Williamson. White explained, “The Barber of Seville is the perfect vehicle to showcase the intimate and engaging environment of Mill Mountain Theatre’s Trinkle Mainstage. It will be operatic comedy at its sparkling best—up close and personal!”

Opera Roanoke is Southwest Virginia’s leading opera  company, producing high-quality performances and educational programs throughout each season. Subscription renewals start July 1, and individual tickets are on sale August 1.  For more information, please contact Opera Roanoke at (540) 982-2742 or email manager@operaroanoke.org.