About MassOpera

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

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

  • 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 portray them

MassOpera is a proud member of

HISTORY AND FUTURE

HISTORY

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 ensures 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 (and now bi-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.

FUTURE

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.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Carlos Aznarez - Board Member

Composer, Film Scorer, and Singer

Bio

Carlos is a multifaceted artist from Montevideo, Uruguay. His artistic journey as an opera singer began at a very young age, making his soloist debut when he was 19 years old. In 2007, as aclassical composer, Carlos achieved a milestone in his composition career with the premiere of his Requiem at Montevideo's Cathedral. After moving to Spain, Carlos continued with his singing carrier, singing at Spain’s most prestigious Opera Houses including The Liceu Theater in Barcelona, and the Royal Opera House in Madrid. He also continued his career as a composer with the premier of his opera “Caperucita Roja” (Little Red Riding Hood) at the Bellas Artes Theater in Madrid in 2013. After moving to Boston, Carlos graduated Summa Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music with a dual degree in Composition and Film Scoring. As a Film Composer, many of the films that Carlos scored were awarded and featured at prestigious festivals such as Festival de San Sebastian, Palm Springs International Film Society, and Hamptons Film, among others. Carlos was invited to perform at the opening ceremony of the Second World Congress on Global Warming and Climate Change, held at the National Auditorium of Montevideo, Uruguay. His dedication to music and the arts has earned him numerous awards, including recognition from organizations such as Jeunesse Musicale International in Belgium, FONAM (National Music Fund) in Uruguay, and the Mabel Veleris Musical Theater Contest in Argentina. Carlos remains actively singing, and is currently engaged in classical and film scoring projects. 
Jeff Candiello - Chair & Treasurer

Jeff Candiello - Chair & Treasurer

Engineering Leader, Cisco

Bio

 Jeff Candiello, a graduate of UMass Amherst and Brandeis University, runs the Agile Enablement practice for the Network Threat Defense group at Cisco. He loves problem solving and is driven by operational excellence.   He is also a 13 year member of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus.  Jeff was introduced to opera through the company and has since become passionate about opera as well as MassOpera’s mission.
Amanda Goodrum - Vice Chair

Amanda Goodrum - Vice Chair

Law Student, Loyola University

Bio

 Amanda is a Diversity Consultant for Diversity@Workplace.  Amanda has 12 years’ experience in Operations and Compliance but has been passionate about diversity and inclusion since high school.  During her time at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., Amanda participated in the firm’s LEAD program, the Associates Program at The Partnership, and numerous volunteer activities including the United Way’s Women United Executive Committee.  Amanda, who currently resides in Lynn, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Trinity College.
Sharon Jusczak - Board Member

Sharon Jusczak - Board Member

District Design Manager, Ethan Allen

Bio

 Sharon is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire and is a MBA graduate student at the University of Southern New Hampshire. She is a District Design Manager at Ethan Allen. Sharon is passionate about the arts and interior design. She especially loves performance art and musical theatre.  Sharon is committed to advancing Mass Opera’s mission through community involvement and artist advocacy.
Wayne Malloy - Clerk

Wayne Malloy - Clerk

Senior Project Manager for the Office of the President at Berklee

Bio

Wayne Malloy serves as the Senior Project Manager for the Office of the President at Berklee. Malloy is a seasoned academic administrator with a robust background in higher education operations. A native of Maine, Malloy studied trumpet and music education at the University of Southern Maine. He is a performing member of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus. 
Andrea Olmstead - Board Member

Andrea Olmstead - Board Member

Author, Professor, & Librettist

Bio

Andrea Olmstead is the author of seven books and five book chapters, including four books about the modernist American composer Roger Sessions: Roger Sessions: A Biography (Routledge, 2007), Roger Sessions and His Music (UMI Research Press, 1985), Conversations with Roger Sessions (Northeastern University Press, 1987), The Correspondence of Roger Sessions (Northeastern, 1992) as well as the Revised New Grove Dictionary (2001) and New Grove Dictionary of American Music (2013) Sessions entries. She is also the author of Juilliard: A History (University of Illinois Press, 1999) and of numerous articles in The Journal of Musicology, Perspectives of New Music, The Journal of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute, TempoMusical America, and The Musical Quarterly.

Her Who was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Daisy? (2012) is available as an eBook. Olmstead’s most recent book, Vincent Persichetti; Grazioso, Grit, and Gold (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018), won the 2019 ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for Outstanding Musical Biography.

The recipient of three national Endowment for the Humanities Awards, she has also been a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome ten times and a Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts on six occasions. She taught Music History at The Juilliard School, the Boston Conservatory, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and at the New England Conservatory of Music. Olmstead was the Christopher Hogwood Research Fellow for the Handel & Haydn Society Orchestra and Chorus. She wrote the libretto and produced the opera HolyGhosts, music by Larry Bell based on the play by Romulus Linney. She is also a CD producer. 

Ulysses Thomas - Board Member

Ulysses Thomas - Board Member

Professional Jeweler, Van Cleef & Arpels

Bio

Ulysses is a retail sales professional in the world of fine jewelry and holds credentials from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA).  A southern native, Ulysses first came to Boston to pursue a master’s degree in classical voice at Boston University.  His once very active singing career included two fellowships at Tanglewood Music Center, operatic engagements with Boston Lyric Opera, and a long association with Boston Baroque, amongst other professional music organizations. Even with a shift in focus towards vocation of sales, Ulysses still maintains a career in performance through his work on staff at The Parish of All Saints, Ashmont (and as a member of The Bach Project) and as a concert/oratorio soloist. In his personal time, Ulysses‘ interests include researching cultural/social history, reading poetry/classic literature, photography, and style & fashion. 

STAFF

Alisa Cassola

Alisa Cassola

Director of Content Marketing

Bio

 
Christie Gibson

Christie Gibson

Program Director of New Opera Workshop

Bio

 Christie Gibson, New Opera Workshop Program Director, is a multidimensional producer, performing artist, and director. In addition to running OperaHub in Boston for ten years, she has worked for film company Ebb Pod Productions, Opera Providence, the USS Saratoga Museum Foundation, the Brown University Music Department, and the Atelier Lyrique of the Opéra National de Paris.  She has held many production positions including production manager, stage manager, costume designer, hair and makeup designer, technical director, master electrician, vocal coach, choreographer, dramaturg, and sound designer.  Her producing work has been honored with grants from Opera America, New England Foundation for the Arts, Boston Cultural Council, the Bob Jolly Charitable Trust, and the Harvard Musical Association.  Producing credits include DIVAS, El Gato con Botas, La Hija de Rappaccini, Der Vampyr, Socrate, The Long Christmas Dinner, and Michael Ching’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, along with MassOpera’s current NOW project:Caravana de mujeres.  
Wen Gu

Wen Gu

Director of Community Engagement

Bio

 Wen Gu is a China-born soprano and voice/piano teacher based in Massachusetts. She holds an MM in Vocal Performance from Longy School of music of Bard College. Wen won the second prize of Best Debussy Performance 2019 and the third prize of Best Mozart Performance 2020 in the Great Composer Competitions. Wen has performed several roles and concerts with Longy School of Music, Chicago Summer Opera and Cremona International Music Festival. 
Katrina Holden-Buckley

Katrina Holden-Buckley

Director of Digital and Social Media

Bio

Katrina Holden is a lyric soprano who has appeared with Boston Lyric Opera, Odyssey Opera, MassOpera, and Connecticut Lyric Opera, among others, as well as in recital and concert throughout the country and in both Austria and Italy.  Also known for her critical commentary and music industry writing perspectives, she has been published in The Theatre Times, The Arts Fuse, Classical Singer Magazine, and Boston Singers’ Resource.  Katrina has been a passionate advocate in the Boston arts scene for 15 years.  She is excited to renew marketing work, since being previously involved in marketing with Boston Opera Collaborative.  As a longtime member of Opera on Tap’s Boston Chapter, she orchestrated casting roster members for several performances, including a charitable event for WGBH’s A Celtic Sojourn.  She holds an MA in Vocal Performance from The New England Conservatory and an undergraduate degree in Music and English from Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania. 
William Neely

William Neely

Executive Director

Bio

William Neely has been the Executive Director of MassOpera for five years.  He also is a freelance marketing and development consultant with non-profits and small businesses.  He has a background as a theatre and film actor, and now frequently performs in cabaret settings and sings with the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus. He serves on the Board of Directors of the North Shore Alliance of LGBTQ Youth.
Brynne Pulver

Brynne Pulver

Director of Operations and Administration

Bio

 Brynne Pulver is a Boston based Soprano, Paralegal, and Administrator.  She holds an MM and GPD in Voice Performance from The Boston Conservatory, and both a BM in Voice Performance and a BM in Music Education from Appalachian State University.  Brynne has performed in various roles and ensembles with many of Boston’s major opera companies including MassOpera, Odyssey Opera, NEMPAC, Promenade Opera Project, and Boston Opera Collaborative.  In addition to singing, she works as an Administrative Assistant and Paralegal at Kara Law Offices in downtown Boston.   She is excited to join the MassOpera team as Director of PR & Social Media Curation! 
Dana Lynne Varga

Dana Lynne Varga

Founder & Artistic Director

Bio

 Dana Lynne Varga is the Founder and Artistic Director of MassOpera. She is an accomplished soprano, voice teacher, entrepreneur and career coach, and presently on the voice and opera faculty of the Longy School of Music.  Dana won first place in the 2016 Classical Singer National Competition. She has sung with numerous organizations including Boston Lyric Opera, Odyssey Opera, the Caramoor International Music Festival, Opera Maine, the Cantata Singers, the Metropolitan Chorale, the Springfield Symphony, Coro Allegro, and the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra. Favorite operatic roles performed include Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte, Musetta in La Boheme, Micaëla in Carmen, Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus and the title roles in Alcina and The Merry Widow. An avid concert soloist, recent highlights include Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Mozart’s Mass in C Minor, the Brahms Requiem, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Handel’s Israel in Egypt and Messiah, and the Bach Magnificat and B Minor Mass. Dana holds the DMA degree from Boston University and the MM degree from the New England Conservatory. Visit Dana’s performance website at www.danavarga.com and her career coaching site/blog at www.theempoweredmusician.com

CONTACT US

MASSOPERA
16 1/2 HANCOCK ST., APT. 2
SALEM, MA 01970

978 210 2709
[email protected]

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