Palm Beach Opera is dedicated to producing live opera at an international standard of excellence and to enriching the life of the communities it serves with a diverse offering of educational programs.
Founded in 1961, the fully professional Palm Beach Opera presents mainstage performances at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach and is a proud member of the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County.
Guest artists come to Palm Beach Opera from both the US and abroad, and have performed at all major opera houses worldwide. The Palm Beach Opera Chorus consists of up to 50 local singers who are committed to the highest musical values. The Palm Beach Opera Orchestra was created by the Board in 1993 to enhance the artistic quality of the company’s offerings, and includes musicians who have worked with major professional orchestras both nationally and internationally.
Palm Beach Opera maintains a Young Artist Program for emerging professional opera singers. The 5 month residency provides strong performance opportunities while allowing young artists to develop and polish essential stagecraft and performance skills, aided by the Palm Beach Opera Music & Artistic staff. Young Artists are featured in the company’s One Opera in One Hour Series, giving the public a taste of opera in a non-traditional setting at the Harriett Himmel Theater, which seats up to 400 people.
Palm Beach Opera is committed to arts education and offers a variety of educational programs for all ages and levels. Throughout the season, middle school and high school students are invited to watch working dress rehearsals as part of Opera Rehearsal 101. The PBO Studio brings high school students who are enrolled in a theater or vocal program in direct contact with opera professionals, giving them behind-the-scenes access to performances and rehearsals, interaction with artists and stage personnel, voice lessons with Palm Beach Opera’s artistic personnel and visiting artists and hands-on technical production experience. Concerts in the Classroom allows students to experience the magic of opera without leaving the classroom. Palm Beach Opera’s Young Artists sing arias and ensembles from favorite operas and discuss elements of opera with students, while adjusting the repertoire to conform to curriculum requirements. Adults enjoy an informative and entertaining look at the upcoming productions at the popular Lunch & Learn Series, first launched during the 2007-2008 season and immediately selling out, or at the Curtain Warmers prior to each performance at the Kravis Center.
The Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition was established in 1969 to assist the careers of aspiring opera singers and became one of the most prestigious national contests for young singers. Accomplished finalists competed for cash awards, before a distinguished judging panel of experts from the opera world, and have gone on to illustrious international careers in the opera world. The competition was last held in 2011.
Palm Beach Opera is governed by a 25-member Board of Directors, under the leadership of Board Chairman Dennis Williams. The company’s operating budget is $4.1 million. The company has a full-time staff of 10, seasonally growing to a staff of 20 under the leadership of General Director Daniel Biaggi. The Palm Beach Opera Guild provides volunteer and financial support for the company and its educational programs.
Dennis Williams, Chairman
Sanford H. Fisher, Vice Chairman
Gladys Benenson, Vice President
Dr. David I. Kosowsky, Vice President
Ari Rifkin, Vice President
Marc S. Solomon, Vice President
John J. Raymond, Secretary/Treasurer
Sanford M. Baklor
Dr. Elizabeth Bowden
John A. Domenico
Paul A. Goldner
Peter A. Hoffman
Dr. Marsha Laufer
Mary M. Montgomery
RADM Philip Whitacre
Helen K. Persson*
M. Mac Schwebel
Daniel Biaggi, General Director
Now entering his fourth season as General Director of the Palm Beach Opera, Daniel Biaggi is committed to expanding the company’s mission of presenting high quality opera productions and engaging educational and community outreach performances to the communities it serves. Under his leadership, the company ended the fiscal year 10 for the first time with a budget surplus after successful fundraising initiatives including a major Matching Grant Campaign and Board of Director’s expansion plan.
As Interim Managing Director in addition to his responsibilities as Director of Artistic Operations, he spent the past 4 years casting and contracting Palm Beach Opera’s seasons in collaboration with Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Bruno Aprea. He oversees all staff activities and organizational events, including the Palm Beach Opera Young Artist Program and annual Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition. Daniel Biaggi has become the spokesperson for the organization in private and public affairs, and serves as Host of the Grand Finals Concert of the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition.
A frequent panel discussion guest and competition judge, Daniel Biaggi has served among others as panelist for the 2008 Opera America Conference in Denver, and has been jury member for the Tucker Foundation Career Grant Competition and Awards Nomination Panel, Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition, Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition, Shreveport Opera Singer of the Year Competition. His commitment to Young Singers has led him to be invited to MissionAudition as part of Sherrill Milnes’ V.O.I.C.Experience, NYIOP pre-selection auditions in New York, Berlin and Zurich, and has been Advisor and Judge for the National Society of Arts and Letters Local Florida Chapter Competition.
Prior to his engagement at the Palm Beach Opera, Daniel Biaggi was Associate Director at Guy Barzilay International Artist Management in New York, co-managing the careers of over 40 singers worldwide. He has served on the faculties of Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College of Music, and Sarah Lawrence College in New York, coaching singers in operatic and art song repertoire with an emphasis on languages and diction. Daniel Biaggi has given master classes and performance seminars at the Juilliard School of Music as well as the Chautauqua Voice Institute. He has worked extensively for the Metropolitan Opera Guild, giving pre-performance introduction lectures and participating in the organization’s various Teaching Artist Programs as performer and educator.
A classically trained singer, Daniel Biaggi has performed operatic roles and recitals in the US as well as Europe. He holds a Post-Graduate and Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, a Bachelor of Music Degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and a Certificate of Musicology from the University of Berne, Switzerland.
Daniel, aka Swiss D, oversees all artistic planning, organizational events and staff activities, and is spokesperson for the organization in private and public affairs. He loves casting operas as much as raising money, and tries to emulate American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest as Host of the PBO Vocal Competition Grand Finals Concert. Prior to coming to PBO, Daniel was Associate Director at Guy Barzilay International Artist Management in New York, served on the faculties of Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College of Music, and Sarah Lawrence College, and worked extensively for the Metropolitan Opera Guild, giving pre-performance introduction lectures and participating in the organization’s various Outreach Programs. A classically trained singer, Daniel has performed operatic roles and recitals in the US and Europe. In his spare time, he loves playing sports, cooking up a storm, and anything that has to do with air travel, including jumping out of planes. Email Daniel
Managing Director of Productions & Facilities
As Director of Production for Palm Beach Opera’s 2011-2012 season, Greg was responsible for the productions of Madama Butterfly, the 50th Anniversary Gala, Romeo et Juliette and Lucia di Lammermor. Prior to PBO, his multifaceted career includes nearly 400 productions divided between opera, theatre and television. A sampling includes: Director of Production—Portland Opera (Jenůfa, Sweeney Todd); —San Diego Opera (Boris Godunov, La Boheme). Production Manager—Dallas Opera (Götterdämmerung, La fanciulla del West), Tulsa Opera (The Flying Dutchman, Tosca). In musical theatre, he has worked with such luminaries as Ann-Margaret, Raul Julia, Richard Kiley, Robert Goulet, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Yul Brynner. As a lighting designer for opera and musical theatre, Greg has received two Drama-Logue awards, and the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle and Emmy awards. He serves as a Councilor of Actors’ Equity Association and First Vice Chair of the Stage Managers’ Association. Email Greg
Director of Artistic Operations
Scott is excited to begin as the Director of Artistic Operations at PBO! Previously, he was the Artistic Administrator of Washington National Opera since 2006. Here at PBO he will work with Daniel on all things artistic, including the Young Artist Program. He was selected by OPERA America to be part of the Leadership Intensive 2012. Originally from Johnstown, New York, he received a B.A. with honors in Vocal Performance from the State University of New York College at Geneseo in 2001 and later earned a M.A. with distinction in Arts Management from American University in 2004. He was a bartione soloist for four years at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church and was a singer, soloist and board president of the Thomas Circle Singers in Washington, D.C. In 2012 he became a member of the Board of Trustees of The Point Foundation where he and a group of friends in Washington created “Wig Night Out”- a silly night of wearing wigs for a good cause. A huge fan of the beach, he is looking forward to grabbing the few off hours in a week to relax and enjoy the Palm Beach sun. Email Scott
Associate Conductor & Chorus Master
Greg (aka G$) has been Chorus Master for over 19 productions with Palm Beach Opera and conducts our Family Opera performances. He is also the Assistant Conductor at Opera Theater of Saint Louis and has been on the music staff at Wexford Festival Opera, Dallas Opera, Central City Opera, and Virginia Opera. Originally from Kentucky, he is also noted concert pianist and has performed throughout Europe and the United States. Greg is an avid golfer, Kentucky basketball fan, and likes to unwind with a glass of premium scotch. Email Greg
Katy joined our Stage Management team in 2012, and relocated from Honolulu (Aloha!) to work as our Company Manager for the 2013 Season! She is a native Texan, and has worked in all four corners of the US as a Scheduler and Stage Manager. She has a BFA in Design from Baylor University, and an MFA in Stage Management from the University of California, San Diego. Katy loves sailing, gardening, and spoiling her little black panther, Manny, as much as possible. Email Katy
Director of Finance and Administration
Joe’s knowledge and experience in accounting comes from over 15 years of working as a controller, manager, business analyst, and senior level accountant for several multi-million dollar corporations, including Compass Group, Fidelity National Title, and Club Corp International. Having pursued a well-rounded education in both business and liberal arts, Joe holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from the University of Houston, and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin. Joe is also an advocate for adoption causes and has worked closely with the Adoption Coalition of Texas on their Heart Gallery of Central Texas project. Although he spent most of his life in Texas, Joe is a native Floridian originally from Orlando. In his spare time, Joe enjoys spending time with his family, swimming, snorkeling, and fishing the beautiful coastal waters of Florida. Email Joe
Lisa L. Huertas
Director of Philanthropy
Lisa comes to the Opera as Director of Philanthropy after spending the last few years in the world of science at Scripps Florida. She volunteers at many organizations and continues to be an active member of the Junior League of the Palm Beaches. She also serves on the boards of Miami City Ballet, the Yale Club of the Palm Beaches and Voices for Children of Palm Beach County. She received a Bachelor’s degree in the History of Art from Yale and an MBA in Arts Administration from SUNY-Binghamton. She loves the arts and also is an avid fan of the Florida Panthers ice hockey team. Go Cats! Email Lisa
Patron Engagement & Grants Manager
Kristina is a development professional with 4 years of nonprofit and grant writing experience. At Palm Beach Opera, Kristina works closely with donors and also writing and maintaining all grants. A Florida native, Kristina received a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences, with a concentration in International Studies from the Wilkes Honors College at Florida Atlantic University. In her spare time, Kristina enjoys gardening, ballet class, and sunset picnics. Email Kristina
Ann E. Baskind
Guild & Patron Relations Liaison
Ann Baskind has been with Palm Beach Opera since 2000. After starting as a Box Office Associate and becoming Box Office Manager, she is currently the Donor Relations Coordinator working with our high-end donors and special events. Ann is also the Palm Beach Opera Liaison for the Opera Guild. Born in New York City, she is a graduate of the University of Connecticut. Ann is the founder and treasurer of SAD SAC Inc., a no-kill animal rescue group. She enjoys tennis, sharp cheeses, and is an avid animal activist. Email Ann
Director of Communications
Ceci is the arts marketing go-to gal! She specializes in the integration of digital marketing and technology into traditional marketing methods. A self-professed digital marketing nerd, Ceci was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA and is a die-hard Steelers fan. She graduated with a degree in music from West Virginia University (Let’s Go Mountaineers!)and is on the National Arts Marketing Project Advisory Committee is the Chapter Leader of Girl Develop It West Palm Beach which is a nonprofit that teaches women how to code, and is the OPERA America Marketing Network Chair. Email Ceci
Amanda is Palm Beach Opera’s Communications Manager. She joined the non-profit world after spending a couple years producing newscasts for a local TV station. As a South Florida native, Amanda graduated with honors from Florida Atlantic University with a double major in Multimedia Journalism and Art & Humanities. In her free time she loves to travel, ride her bike around town, read, and eat. Amanda also enjoys spoiling her Dachshund, Scout and kitten, Finch. Email Amanda
Audience Services Manager
Jennifer (also known as Jenna) joined PBO in the beginning of Fall in 2008 as a Box Office Systems Administrator. What is that you ask? Jenna’s responsibilities include database management, ticketing management and reporting, customer service and ticketing sales. Opera was introduced to Jenna as a small child by her late father who blasted Luciano Pavarotti throughout the house before there was surround sound. Jenna’s interests span from Asian-themed art & design to relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Palm Beach. She dislikes frogs and flying but loves a soft smooth sounding melody especially from the 80’s! Email Jenna
Audience Services & Group Sales Associate
Christina (affectionately called Xtina) joined our Box Office in the Spring of 2009. She is the youngest member of our team and her friendly personality makes her perfect for assisting our patrons on a daily basis. Christina coordinates all Group Sales, helps to execute various administrative tasks, and even hops on stage as a Supernumerary! As well as being a part of the Palm Beach Opera team, Christina has spent the past two summers working on staff at the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival. Born and raised in South Florida, she enjoys the ocean and warm summer weather. She loves theme parks, floral print, and her dachshunds Jillian and Jake! Email Christina
Jourdan Laine Howell
Education & Community Engagement Manager
Jourdan Laine Howell is jazzed to begin her time with Palm Beach Opera! Prior to her position at PBO, Jourdan served as the Director of Education and Community Engagement for Amarillo Opera. Jourdan is a DMA candidate at the University of North Carolina Greensboro with a focus on Vocal Performance and a cognate in Opera Production and Direction. Outside of performing and directing, Jourdan’s greatest thrill has been traveling throughout the country via railroad with the Ringling Bros. Circus! Jourdan loves coffee, pop culture colloquialisms, and witty repartee. She is over the moon about her move to West Palm Beach and is looking forward to many beach trips with her husband Elijah and their pups Doodle and Roo. Email Jourdan
GREG RITCHEY – Associate Conductor & Chorus Master
Greg Ritchey presently serves as Assistant Conductor & Chorus Master at Palm Beach Opera. During his time at PBO, he has been Chorus Master for nineteen productions including Turandot, Don Giovanni, Thaïs, Fidelio, Otello, Pagliacci, Madama Butterfly, La Traviata, La Boheme, L’Italiana in Algeri, L’elisir d’Amore, Nabucco, Orfeo ed Euridice as well as Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Verdi’s Requiem. He has also conducted the Family Performances of Carmen and Così fan tutte.
Mr. Ritchey also serves as Assistant Conductor at Opera Theater of Saint Louis where he recently conducted performances of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Hans Krasa’s Brundibar. He was also Chorus Master for the European premiere of Peter Ash’s The Golden Ticket at Wexford Festival Opera. He was Principal Coach for the American premiere of Rudolf Schecter’s Der Ferne Klang at the Bard Music Festival and also at Dallas Opera’s opening gala performance at the new Winspear Opera House and for their production of Otello. He previously held music staff positions at Central City Opera, Virginia Opera, Sarasota Opera and Kentucky Opera. As the Music Director of the Dallas Gilbert & Sullivan Company he conducted performances of The Yeomen of the Guard, Pirates of Penzance, The Gondeliers, and a gala performance Strauss’s Die Fledermaus. He has been guest conductor for Chamber Symphony of the Metrocrest, Southwest Opera Company, assistant conductor for El Paso Opera, conductor/coach for Des Moines Metro Opera and Opera North. His diverse conducting repertoire includes Dominick Argento’s Postcard from Morocco, Bizet’s Carmen, Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Die Zauberflöte, and Ravel’s L’enfant et les Sortileges.
As a chamber musician, he has performed in recital with members of the Dallas Symphony in Mexico, in the US with renowned flautist Susan Milan and has twice appeared at the Vysočina Music Festival in the Czech Republic with soprano Lynn Eustis. As a concert pianist Mr. Ritchey has performed in Scandinavia, throughout Europe and the United States. This summer, he returns to the Amalfi Coast Music Festival where he will conduct Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi and later will return to Ireland to appear in concert with the Wexford Festival Orchestra.
Mr. Ritchey holds a BM degree from the University of North Texas and the MM degree from the Juilliard School of Music where he was the recipient of the William Petschek Scholarship. His primary piano teachers were Larry Walz, Martin Canin, and Pamela Paul and he studied conducting with Anshel Brusilow. He has been on faculty at University of North Texas, Texas Christian University, and Louisiana State University and was the 2009 honoree of the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Charles MacKay Career Development Fund.
TIMOTHY CHEUNG – Head Coach Young Artist Program
Pianist Timothy Cheung is excited to join Palm Beach Opera for the 2014 season as Head Coach for the Young Artist Program. Mr. Cheung is a graduate of the Canadian Opera Company (COC) Ensemble Studio, where he served as music staff, intern coach, celesta player, and music director for school tour productions. He has worked as music staff at Houston Grand Opera and will return to the COC later this season.
Mr. Cheung was a two-time participant in the San Francisco Opera-affiliated Merola Opera program, where he was an apprentice coach and chorus master. He trained as a vocal pianist and répétiteur at Music Academy of the West, Canadian Operatic Arts Academy, Queen of Puddings Theatre Program and the Halifax Summer Opera Workshop.
Mr. Cheung holds a bachelor’s degree in piano performance and a master’s degree in collaborative piano from the University of Western Ontario. He was a coach and assistant conductor for the university’s opera program and a winner of the university’s concerto competition.
AURELIEN EULERT – Young Artist Coach & Rehearsal Pianist
Hailing from Alsace, France, pianist and vocal coach Aurelien Eulert regularly performs throughout Europe and the United States. Aurelien has studied with pianists Amy Lin, Fred Karpoff, Kevin Fitz-Gerald, Alan Smith, Peter Serkin and Earl Wild. He has served for five years as staff pianist for the French flute festival Flutissimo started in 2005, and has been on the faculty of the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival since 2011. Some of the greatest artists he has performed or worked with include flutists Michel Debost and Patrick Gallois, pianist Christopher O’Riley, cellist Ralph Kirshbaum, violist Donald McInnes, singers Marilyn Horne, Phyllis Curtin, Elizabeth Hynes, Stephen Smith, Frederica von Stade and Dawn Upshaw. He performs regularly with opera star Rod Gilfry, and was musical director of the Chamber Opera of USC from 2008 to 2013. Aurelien has been coach/rehearsal pianist with the USC Thornton School of Music Opera program since 2010, on staff at the UCLA Alpert School of Music and in 2013 joined the staffs of Pacific Opera Project and the Los Angeles Opera Education Department. He has also performed under conductors such as James Conlon, Robert Spano, Carl St-Clair and John Williams. Aurelien holds degrees from the Conservatoire National de Strasbourg, Syracuse University and the University of Southern California, and attended the Tanglewood Music Center in the summer of 2010.
Chorus Master: Greg Ritchey
2014 SEASON PALM BEACH OPERA CHORUS
Nancy Saint Pierre
Shanna Nolan Gundry
Jorge Toro Calderon
Joseph Dennis *
James White III
Corey Nile Wingard
*Palm Beach Opera Young Artist
2014 SEASON PALM BEACH OPERA ORCHESTRA
Eliot Chapo, Concertmaster
Laura Hilgemann Miller, Co-Concertmaster
Rafael Elvira, Associate Concertmaster
Susan Padgitt Schwab
Elizabeth Bonta Moll
Christopher H. Glansdorp*
Karen Fuller Dixon*
Michael L. Singer*
Michael A. Ellert
* – Principal Player
** – Assistant Principal
^ – Leave of absence
^^ – one year substitute
Click on the linked operas to see photos from the production!
Dialogues of the Carmelites
Lucia di Lammermoor
The Tales of Hoffmann
The Merry Widow
Un Ballo in Maschera
La Fanciulla del West
The Flying Dutchman
Il Barbiere di Siviglia
Cavalleria Rusticana / I Pagliacci
Cosi fan tutte
Samson and Dalila
L’ Elisir d’Amore
Le Nozze di Figaro
The Merry Widow
Lucia di Lammermoor
Il Barbiere di Siviglia
The Magic Flute
L’Italiana in Algeri
La Forza del Destino
Il Barbiere di Siviglia
Samson et Dalila
Lucia di Lammermoor
The Magic Flute
Andriana LecouvreurvGianni Schicchi
Così fan tutte
Il Barbiere di Siviglia
Un ballo in maschera
La Fille du Regiment
The Merry WIdow
Cavalleria Tursicana/I Pagliacci
Hansel and Gretel
Le Nozze di Figaro
Tales of Hoffmann
Il Barbiere di Siviglia
Lucia di Lammermoor
Tales of Hoffmann