David has immense experience managing successful fundraising and marketing campaigns for arts organizations across the country, including the Glimmerglass Festival, Sarasota Opera, North Carolina Opera, Fort Worth Opera, and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.
He is regularly a guest lecturer on the business of opera and often serves on vocal competition adjudicating panels, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions – a competition he himself won in 1998. Prior to his arts administration career, Walker had an 18-year international singing career, performing with some of the most prestigious opera houses around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Santa Fe Opera, and Bayerische Staatsoper (Munich), among others. He appears on both studio and live audio and video recordings.
David is a certified fundraising executive (CFRE), holds a Bachelor of Arts in industrial engineering, a Master of Music in vocal performance, a Master of Arts in arts administration, and a Master of Business Administration, both with an arts administration focus, and has completed the Harvard Business School’s Executive Education program Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management. Learn more about David and his role at Palm Beach Opera here.
Palm Beach Opera Chief Conductor David Stern’s musical leadership is spread across three continents. He is the founder and director of the Paris-based opera company and period-instrument ensemble, Opera Fuoco, as well as artistic advisor and principal conductor of the Shanghai Baroque Festival and music director of opera at the Crested Butte Music Festival in Colorado.
Stern is known for his extensive range of repertoire. In his time as music director of the Israel and the St. Gallen Opera houses, he championed 18th century opera and eclectic works such as Simone Mayr’s Medea, Berg’s Wozzeck, Britten’s Turn of the Screw and Weill’s Mahagonny. He has premiered four new operas since 2010 – Gil Shohat’s The Child Dreams at the Israel Opera, Nicolas Bacri’s Così fanciulli, commissioned by Opera Fuoco and performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, Ben Moore’s Enemies, A Love Story in Palm Beach and Jan Sandström’s The Rococo Machine in Drottningholm, Sweden in June 2016.
Stern has enjoyed collaborations with many international stage directors. Stern is a frequent guest around the globe with symphonic and chamber orchestras. He is regularly invited to the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, the Shanghai and Guangzhou Symphonies, the China Philharmonic, the New Russian Symphony, the National Orchestra of Mexico, and has had recent appearances with the Vienna Symphony and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.
Since launching the Aix Festival Academy in 1998, David Stern has been committed to developing young voices. He created Opera Fuoco in 2003 as a platform to train young French singers in repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to John Cage, combining both an opera studio offering regular master classes and an opera company producing and co-producing larger concertante and staged productions. As artistic advisor of the Shanghai Baroque Festival, he involves singers from the Shanghai Conservatory and the Opera Fuoco Studio, and he works regularly with the Young Artist Programs in Palm Beach and Crested Butte, Colorado.
Stern received his Bachelor of Arts from Yale and his Masters of Music from the Juilliard School. He resides in Paris with his wife and two daughters.
As Palm Beach Opera’s new Director of Artistic Administration, James Barbato oversees the company’s artistic planning and casting, manages all artistic personnel, and directs the Benenson Young Artist and Bailey Apprentice Artist Programs.
He joined Palm Beach Opera in 2015, serving for the past several years as Assistant Director of Artistic Operations. In that capacity, he was responsible for creating the daily and long-range artistic schedules, coordinating all artistic and production contracting, securing visas for international artists, managing housing and travel for all visiting personnel, and leading artist hospitality initiatives. He also played a key leadership role in the management and growth of the Young Artist and Apprentice Artist Programs, including development of the curriculum, recruiting and selecting singers and faculty, and restructuring the audition process which directly led to a 600% increase in annual applicants. Other major accomplishments include establishing a long-term hotel agreement with the Residence Inn Downtown CityPlace, and creating National Anthem partnerships with the International Polo Club and the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches to provide a showcase for the company in front of thousands of people each season.
Concurrently with his position at Palm Beach Opera, he also served for four seasons as Assistant Director of the Rehearsal Department at The Santa Fe Opera, the largest summer opera festival in the United States, where he managed a daily schedule that encompasses five mainstage productions each season and the training activities of the renowned 40-singer Apprentice Artist Program.
Prior to focusing on the administrative side of the industry, he built his knowledge of opera by performing professionally as a tenor and studying with many of the industry’s leading voice teachers and coaches. He earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Eastman School of Music, and continued his training as a member of the Boston University Opera Institute, where he was awarded a Performance Certificate. His career progressed through several distinguished Young Artist programs, including those at Florida Grand Opera and Central City Opera, while he gained onstage experience with roles in over 25 productions. From the traditional repertoire, he was an accomplished singer of Mozart’s principal tenor roles, and he also had the unique privilege of working directly with many prominent American composers in productions of their own works, including Tobias Picker, William Bolcom, Robert Ward, Jorge Martín, and Carlisle Floyd.
Beyond his credits in opera, he has extensive concert experience in chamber music, art song, and oratorio. He was twice a Fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, and he performed in residencies with the Aldeburgh Festival’s Britten-Pears Programme, the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence Académie européenne, and the Marlboro Music Festival. Among his recital appearances, most notable were his five-year collaboration as a guest of Cornell University’s Historical Performance program, where he annually performed song cycles of Schubert and Schumann with fortepianists Sezi Seskir and Malcolm Bilson. He was also a guest recitalist at Rutgers University for the Schumann Bicentennial, and he was honored to make three appearances on the monumental Schubert & Co. recital series – an endeavor held in New York which collectively presented Schubert’s complete solo Lieder in 35 concerts over eight months. As a concert soloist, he performed Mozart’s Requiem, Coronation Mass, and Mass in C minor, as well as Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, and Handel’s Messiah, and he has been featured in Bach Cantatas with Boston’s Trinity Church at Copley Square, New York’s Church of the Transfiguration, and Palm Beach’s Royal Poinciana Chapel. Further career highlights include his Tanglewood debut as soloist in Stravinsky’s Les Noces conducted by Charles Dutoit.
In addition to his musical training, Mr. Barbato is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Rochester, having earned a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude in Economics.
561.833.7888 (main) | 561.835.7552 (direct)
Jeff Bruckerhoff brings over two decades of production experience gathered from work with companies as far flung as Montevideo, Uruguay to Tokyo, Japan and nearly everywhere in between. Following an early career in theater consulting for Schuler and Shook in Chicago, recent work has been concentrated on lighting design for opera and ballet with companies including The Washington Ballet, San Francisco Opera, The Kennedy Center, Washington National Opera, Suzanne Farrell Ballet, and Tulsa Opera. Additionally Jeff has taught lighting at the University of Illinois and Northwestern’s Cherub program, and worked as director of production and resident designer for Roosevelt University. Recently he has taken on the managing director role for The Vermont Opera Project – a new summer event based in central Vermont.
561.833.7888 (main) | 561.835.7547 (direct)
Dave Paule is an experienced chief executive officer, fundraiser, marketer, writer and educator with a track record of accomplishments in strategic planning, marketing communications, product development, branding, e-commerce, and project management. He specializes in jumpstarting stagnant operations, global business turn-arounds and building green-field organizations. He is currently Senior Consultant for Our Fundraising Search, specializing in helping nonprofits survive and thrive. He is also a member of the faculty of Georgia State University’s J. Mack Robinson School of Business, where he teaches the Managerial Sciences curriculum.
Most recently, Dave served as the Executive Director & CEO of The Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation (“The Lighthouse”), an NGO dedicated to preserving vision and hearing in Georgia and the Southeast by providing vision examinations, glasses and hearing aids to more than 25,000 uninsured and underinsured patients each year. During his tenure at The Lighthouse, he was able to professionalize the business operations of the organization after a significant financial fraud. He was also able to restore the organization to consistent, net-positive, financial performance of 5-7% annually. Most significantly, under his leadership the organization was able to make important advances in the field of optical telemedicine that enabled it to take eye care to Georgia’s underserved counties and populations.
As the Marketing & Communications Manager, Adina manages all marketing, communications, and promotion efforts. A South Florida native, she has diverse experience in digital marketing, sales, and public relations, as well as a background in theater, competing as a Florida State Thespian and appearing in several Florida State University films. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Florida State University and completed a culinary arts program at Università degli studi di Firenze in Florence, Italy.
561.833.7888 (main) | 561.835.7575 (direct)
From the classroom to the stage to neighborhoods in between, Dr. Kevin Eberle-Noel has spent his entire career in service to the arts. After teaching for several years in the Southwest, Kevin pivoted to creating exceptional programs for students, teachers, and families as an arts administrator. Prior to joining the team at Palm Beach Opera, Kevin served as the Director of Operations & Education at the Las Vegas Philharmonic where he successfully designed and implemented various educational and community programs in addition to managing the artistic and operational activities of the orchestra. Prior to LVP, Kevin ran education programs and served as Patron Services Manager with the Redlands Symphony in Southern California.
Kevin has a Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music, both from the University of Redlands. In 2016, Kevin was the first person to receive the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Bassoon Performance from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. A professional bassoonist in addition to a professional arts administrator, Kevin has played with the Redlands Symphony, the Las Vegas Philharmonic, Scottsdale Arts Orchestra, Inland Valley Symphony and Opera, as well for named acts on the Las Vegas Strip, including Placido Domingo and Weird Al Yankovic.
Jennifer joined PBO in the beginning of fall in 2008 as our Box Office Systems Administrator and in 2014. Jennifer’s responsibilities include database management, ticketing management and reporting, customer service, and ticketing sales. Jennifer has over 15 years experience in providing excellent customer service and management . In 2000 Jennifer worked as a contractor for FPL (Florida Power & Light) as a mapping system software analyst for repairs and plant placement. This software is currently used in all FPL utility vehicles to locate and repair outages. Jennifer relocated in 2003 to Naples, Florida and worked in the real estate field as an executive assistant to two successful broker/owners of Florida Home Realty. Along with assisting the brokers, Jennifer managed an office of 10 employees and assisted over 80 realtors in getting started in their new real estate ventures from ordering business cards, inputting listings, to disbursing commission checks. Jennifer relocated back to West Palm Beach in the Summer of 2008.
561.833.7888 (main) | 561.835.7556 (direct)
Dennis is a passionate administrator and advocate who has a diverse background in producing opera, as well as, bringing arts education and experiences to individuals of all backgrounds and abilities. Previously, he served as Artistic Administrator for Pittsburgh Festival Opera and on the education staffs of City Theatre Company and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre managing community programs and accessibility. Dennis is also an active director who has previously worked with companies such as The Glimmerglass Festival, Pittsburgh Opera, Toledo Opera, Pittsburgh Festival Opera, and Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company to name a few. Dennis is a native Pittsburgher, and alumnus of Carnegie Mellon University.
561.833.7888 (main) | 561.835.7553 (direct)
A native Floridian and recent Midwestern transplant, Ashley Eason is an award-winning operatic mezzo-soprano whose career demonstrates her diversity as a performer, educator, and arts administrator. Before joining Palm Beach Opera, Ms. Eason enjoyed a career as a voice specialist and music educator providing individual and group voice lessons through her privately managed studio, and with non-profit organizations across the Central Florida and Chicago area. In addition to teaching, Ms. Eason maintains an active performance career as a sought-after soloist and ensemble singer, and is in her fourth season as a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus based in Chicago, Illinois singing under the batons of Chorus Master Duain Wolfe and Music Director Riccardo Muti.
As a recognized scholar in the fields of music and business, Ms. Eason holds a Master of Music degree from DePaul University (Chicago, IL), and a Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Music degree with an outside field in business from Stetson University (DeLand, FL). With over a decade of experience studying with many of the industry’s leading voice teachers, coaches, and conductors, Ms. Eason graduated with distinction from DePaul University under the tutelage of master teacher and internationally acclaimed soprano Julia Faulkner, current Director of Vocal Studies for the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. While at Stetson, Ms. Eason was a protégé of award-winning mezzo-soprano and vocal pedagogue Jane Christeson, where she was awarded with both an endowed award and a graduate assistantship. Ms. Eason brings a wealth of diverse administrative experience from Stetson University where she served in various positions within the offices of Student Financial Planning, General Admissions, and School of Music Admissions.
561.833.7888 (main) | 561.835.7578 (direct)
Prior to joining the team at Palm Beach Opera, Anna spent ten years in public education in Palm Beach County. As an elementary music teacher, she developed and expanded a program that incorporated a variety of annual performances and instrumental ensembles, including two symphonic bands and a steel drum band. Her innovative additions led to greater student access and community involvement for the students and school.
Anna graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Palm Beach Atlantic University with principal studies in piano and flute. Her commitment to expanding access to the arts in all communities led to her current pursuit of a Master of Arts in Arts and Culture Management from the University of Denver. Originally from Vermont, Anna currently resides in Lake Worth Beach with her husband and two rescue dogs, Dublin and Echo
Ann Baskind has been with Palm Beach Opera for 15 years. After starting as a Box Office Associate and becoming Box Office Manager, she is currently the Patron Relations Liaison working with donors and doing special events. Ann is also the Palm Beach Opera Guild Liaison. Born in New York City, she is a graduate of the University of Connecticut. Ann is the one of founders and treasurer of Ru4me Pet Rescue, a no-kill animal rescue group in Boynton Beach.
561.833.7888 (main) | 561.835.7569 (direct)
Sponsored by Judy & Jerry Kaufman
A versatile musician on the podium and at the keyboard, conductor Gregory Ritchey has held positions with companies both in the US and internationally including the Wexford Opera Festival, Palm Beach Opera, the Amalfi Coast Music Festival and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Most notably in recent seasons, he has conducted productions of Le nozze di Figaro, Così fan tutte, The Turn of the Screw, Gianni Schicchi, Ariadne auf Naxos, and a workshop of Terence Blanchard’s opera, Champion. As the newly appointed Music Director of Gulfshore Opera, he has led performances of Madama Butterfly and Rigoletto, returning this season to conduct Don Pasquale and La traviata. He has also been for several years Associate Conductor at Palm Beach Opera, where after a recent performance on the Waterfront Concert series, for which he served as conductor and Music Director, the Palm Beach Arts Paper noted, “Mr. Ritchey is to be congratulated for leading such massive forces in a splendid and stirring performance. The audience rose to their feet with acclaim.” During his time at PBO he has also been Chorus Master for more than thirty-five productions.
A graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, Mr. Ritchey maintains an active chamber music, collaborative and solo piano career, performing throughout the United States and Europe. In a recent recital at the Wexford Festival, Opera News noted that Mr. Ritchey “partnered superbly at the piano.” Mr. Ritchey has previously held music staff positions with companies across the U.S. including the Dallas Opera, Central City Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Bard Music Festival, Virginia Opera, and Sarasota Opera. He has also been a faculty member at the University of North Texas, Louisiana State University, and Texas Christian University. In addition to the MM degree from the Juilliard School of Music, he also earned a BM degree from the University of North Texas.
Heralded as the “…embodiment of classical clarity” (Minnesota Star Tribune), Aaron Breid is rapidly garnering acclaim as an operatic and symphonic conductor. His precise and passionate leadership have distinguished him as a sought-after guest conductor and an integral collaborator on large scale opera productions.
Highlights among recent guest conductor engagements include Virginia Symphony (Symphony Under the Stars), Opera Santa Barbara (Roméo et Juliette), Omaha Symphony (Music Mentors), Minnesota Opera (Resident Artist Program 20th Anniversary Concert), and Orchestra Seattle/Seattle Chamber Singers (Scheherazade).
Currently in his third season as Cover Conductor for Washington National Opera, Breid will return in 2020 to cover Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila. Known for his contributions to the German and French grand repertoire, he has recently covered performances of Wozzeck (Des Moines Metro Opera), Faust (Washington National Opera), Samson et Dalila (North Carolina Opera), Arabella (Minnesota Opera), Elektra (Des Moines Metro Opera), Der Freischütz (Virginia Opera), and will return to North Carolina Opera for Siegfried Act III in concert (2019).
Breid has stepped in to conduct more than a dozen performances of Turandot, Carmen, Il trovatore, Gianni Schicchi, Suor Angelica, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Così fan tutte, and The Ballad of Baby Doe with Minnesota Opera, Central City Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Opera Omaha, and Virginia Opera.
Past seasons have seen Breid collaborate on productions with San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony, Sarasota Opera, Brevard Music Festival; symphony highlights include performances with Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Ithaca College Orchestra, Heartland Philharmonic, UNO Chamber Orchestra, Ocala Symphony, Golden Valley Symphony, and Edina Chorale and Orchestra.
Ksenia Lelëtkina recently received her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Eastman School of Music, where she now serves as coach for Eastman Opera Theatre and also teaches courses in Russian. In January of 2015, Ksenia was the Musical Director for the highly successful double bill of Menotti’s The Old Maid and theThief and Poulenc’s La voix humaine for Eastman Opera Theatre, and in January 2016, she will lead that organization’s double bill of Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Giordano’s Il mese Mariano.
Dr. Lelëtkina is an active promoter of Russian music and has just co-authored a book on Russian diction for singers, RUSSIAN AS THEY SING IT, with Benton Hess.
She has appeared as soloist with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, AmerKlavier Festival in Chicago, Skokie Valley Symphony Orchestra, the Grand Valley State University Orchestra and the chamber orchestra at the Grand Rapids Bach Festival. She has won prizes in competitions such as the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and the International Competition for Young Musicians in Russia.
An avid performer of new music, Ksenia has premiered works by composers including Erden Bilgen, Robert Bradshaw, Tom Davis, Eric Morales, and Jim Stephenson to name just a few, and as a collaborative pianist, Ms. Lelëtkina has partnered with a wide variety of musicians including Allen Vizutti, Jens Lindemann, Rex Richardson, Vince DiMartino, Dylana Jensen and many others. She made her recording debut on A Mild Fantasie (released in 2009 by Albany Records), featuring trumpeter Richard Stoelzel.
Ben Malensek recently completed his 32nd season on the music staff of Opera Theatre of St. Louis where he is Principal Coach/English Diction Specialist. He was Head of Music Staff at Dallas Opera for eleven seasons in addition to working at The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Canadian Opera Company, New York City Opera, Washington National Opera and Wolf Trap Opera. In Europe he was a member of the Zurich Opera Internationales Opern Studio. International artists with whom he has collaborated include Neil Shicoff, Samuel Ramey, Frederica Von Stade, Ileana Cotrubas, Paul Groves, Carol Vaness, Stephen Costello, Ailyn Perez, Isabel Leonard, Raymond Aceto, and Adrianne Pieczonka, Morris Robinson, and Luca Pisaroni. Ben is often called upon to judge The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and has worked with apprentice artists at The Santa Fe Opera, Central City Opera, Chautauqua Institute, The Banff Festival, The Castleton Festival and San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, as well as serving on the faculty of The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He studied vocal coaching with Metropolitan Opera coach Alberta Masiello and has degrees from The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and The Manhattan School of Music. Upcoming engagements include a return to Palm Beach Opera as Master Vocal Coach of the Benenson Young Artist and Bailey Apprentice Artist Programs.
Abbey serves as a Vocal Consultant for A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts where she has the pleasure of teaching and mentoring gifted high school students. Previously Palm Beach Opera’s Education and Community Engagement Associate, Abbey assisted in the implementation of diverse, creative programming and was awarded the 2019 Randolph A. Frank Prize for the Performing Arts for her work in the community. A recent member of Opera America’s Teaching Artist Training Taskforce, Abbey presented at the 2019 Opera America Conference in San
Abbey received her Master of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music and holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Wheaton College Conservatory, IL. Abbey currently resides in Juno Beach, FL with her husband and new baby boy, Jack.
Jennifer Wilson is a Teaching Artist with Palm Beach Opera. She participates in many outreach programs including Opera: Our Story, Story Time Series, and the Interability Chorus in partnership with the Els Center for Excellence. In addition, she serves as a mentor and voice teacher for Palm Beach Opera Studio.
As a member of the Palm Beach Opera chorus, Jennifer has appeared in many productions including Turandot, Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Candide, Tosca, Don Pasquale and The Pirates of Penzance. She has also worked as a chorister for Florida Grand Opera. A native of St. Louis, Jennifer earned her Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from DePauw University in Indiana and her Master’s Degree from the New England Conservatory in Boston. She has attended many young artist programs, including Miami Music Festival, OperaWorks, Taos Opera Institute, and Pittsburgh Festival Opera.
Lyric Tenor, Matthew Bischoff, is a native of South Florida who received a Master of Music Degree in vocal performance and pedagogy from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Florida. While at Southern Mississippi, Bischoff made his professional debut with Mississippi Opera as the Sacristan in their production of Puccini’s Tosca in 2015. Mr. Bischoff is a member of the Gulfshore Tenors, and made his debut with Guflshore Opera as Gaston in their production of La Traviata in 2019. Bischoff’s other professional credits include Palm Beach Opera Chorus, Chatham Opera, Natchez Festival of Music, Mississippi Symphony, Opera Fusion’s Emerging Young Artists program, and Orchestra Miami. Matthew has taught music at the Bak Middle School of the Arts as well as St. Mark’s Episcopal School.
Michelle Violet Struhar, soprano, has sung operatic roles and concerts in houses throughout the United States and Europe. Michelle is a vocal soloist at the historic Royal Poinciana Chapel in Palm Beach, and serves as the vocal soloist for the official military band of Florida, the 13th Army Band of the National Guard. With the band, she has sung at several gubernatorial inaugurations, as well as events throughout the state, such as performances at the Daytona 500, Sea World, Hollywood Beach, Shades of Green at Disney World, and the 4th on Flagler celebration. Michelle is also regularly requested to sing for games and events hosted by the Miami Dolphins, Miami Heat, and Miami Marlins organizations. As a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University (BFA) and Manhattan School of Music (MM), Michelle also has extensive teaching experience in both private and classroom settings, and is thrilled to be a part of the Interability chorus with Palm Beach Opera. When not traveling, singing, and teaching, Michelle resides in Port St. Lucie, FL with her husband and daughters.
Jason returns for his fifth season as Technical Director for the Palm Beach Opera. He has worked in corporate and commercial entertainment for 24 years, including national Broadway tours, symphonies, TV shows and movies. He has collaborated with such opera companies as Des Moines Metro Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Atlanta Opera, Ft. Worth Opera, and Paper Moon Opera Productions to name a few. Jason is currently the Production Manager for Opera Saratoga and the Stage Manager for the Palm Beach Symphony when he is not working with the Palm Beach Opera.