About MassOpera

MassOpera cultivates experiences for artists and audiences that challenge the status quo and reflect our diverse community


  • To produce the highest quality artistic product possible
  • To ensure singers and all artists are compensated for their work and technical skills
  • To produce at least one fully staged opera OR musical with orchestra per season
  • To ensure gender parity both on-stage and off
  • To educate singers to be great artists and great business people
  • To engage the public both as audience members and life-long learners
  • To support new work and tell new stories
  • To ensure representation of all kinds of races, religions, genders and gender identities, sexual orientations, cultures, and body types on stage both with the characters we present and the artists who play them



MassOpera was founded in 2007, as MetroWest Opera, by Artistic Director Dana Varga, to provide young classical singers performance opportunity to fill the gap between conservatory and a flourishing professional career.  When MetroWest Opera was founded, there were only a few small opera companies in the Boston area, and the time was ripe to create more opportunity for these emerging singers.

The main tenets of MetroWest Opera’s mission were to:

  1. Provide paid performance opportunity emerging classical singers
  2. Produce fully staged opera with orchestra
  3. Produce standard repertoire so that singers could tackle roles they would need to know to flourish in this very competitive industry
  4. Choose repertoire that ensured gender parity in casting

In 2010 MetroWest Opera introduced its first Annual Vocal Competition for Emerging Artists, in which singers compete for cash prizes, and has held this program annually ever since.  In addition to our Annual Production and Vocal Competition, MetroWest Opera created several programs to help with professional development of singers (Artist Development), including Audition Preparation Evenings, The Business of Singing Workshop, and other educational programs.


The future IS MassOpera.  During our 10th Anniversary Season in 2017 and 2018, both the board and staff of MetroWest Opera felt that we had successfully fulfilled our mission for ten years, but that the landscape of opera in Boston had shifted, and so too should our mission and values.

We were now one of several small opera companies, each with a slightly different mission and approach to opera. Through a series of group exercises, countless conversations, and much soul-searching we decided we wanted to:

  • Have the opportunity to produce musical theatre and other performance mediums, alongside that of opera
  • Support and encourage all the various and talented artists and designers who make opera so powerful and entertaining
  • Produce original works that have never been told, alongside venerable standard repertoire
  • Commit to serving and inspiring our audience. An opera company is nothing without its audience!


Therefore, looking to our audience, we—MassOpera—will:

  • Be forward thinking and ever-responsive
  • Strive to push the operatic art-form forward to tell diverse and compelling stories
  • Advocate for artists and the art we produce
  • Contribute to the quality of life and cultural landscape of Greater Boston
  • Act as an engine of economic activity that has ripple effects throughout the region   
  • Look to you, our audience, for stories that need to be told and heard, that reflect your accomplishments and struggles and the immense diversity of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

MassOpera will create a place for everyone at the table.


Ryan Miller, Chair
Serving since 2017

Business Development Manager
Starbucks Coffee Company


Jennifer Kain Kilgore, Esq.,Board Attorney
Serving since 2014

Attorney Editor
Association of International Law Firm Networks


Edward Nardell
Serving since 2018

Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School

Associate Professor of Environmental Health and Immunology and Infectious Disease
Harvard School of Public Health

Jay Joynes,
Serving since 2017

Finance Operations Administrator
The Risk Management Foundation of the Harvard Medical Institutions, Inc.


Christopher Mitre
Serving since 2018

Staff Accountant
The Boston Foundation


Christian Short
Serving since 2017

Bain Capital

Colombia Nunez Orozco,
Serving since 2017

Project Management Lead
State Street Client Services


Ian Kabat
Serving since 2018

Creative Director
Dell Corporation


Dana Lynne Varga,
Founder and Artistic Director
Employed since 2007

Originally from Yorktown Heights, NY


Brianna Meese,
Director of Community and Foundation Relations
Employed since 2017


Jennifer Soloway,
Director of Outreach & Engagement
Employed since 2018

Wiliam Neely,
Executive Director
Employed since 2013

Originally from Belmont, MA


Todd McNeel, Jr.,
Director of Marketing & Communications
Employed since 2018


Katie O’Reilly,
Special Events Associate
Employed since 2016

Cassandra Lovering,
Producing Artistic Director
Employed since 2017

Originally from New Hampshire


Morgan Chalue,
Director Special Events
Employed since 2017


Samantha Lovewell,
Special Events Associate
Employed since 2018

Mary-Alexandra Onstad,
Director of Individual & Corporate Giving
Employed since 2017


Czarina Schocker,
Director of Operations
Employed since 2017


Nataly Wikham,
Marketing & Development Associate
Employed since 2018



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