Opera Administrators Chosen for 2017 Hart Institute

Opera Administrators Chosen for 2017 Hart Institute

Opera Administrators Chosen for 2017 Hart Institute

The Dallas Opera is proud to announce the four distinguished professionals selected for the inaugural class of women opera administrators in the newly-expanded Linda and Mitch Hart Institute for Women Conductors and Administrators at The Dallas Opera:

· Anh Le (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis)

· Stefanie Mercier (Washington National Opera)

· Sara Noble (Chautauqua Opera Company)

· Jennifer Rivera (Long Beach Opera)

The third annual residency of the Hart Institute is scheduled to take place in Dallas, Texas, from November 5 - 19, 2017.

Working to address a long-standing career issue in the opera world, The Dallas Opera in 2015 launched a unique, new residential program designed to provide training and career support for distinctively talented women conductors. This year, the goals of the program were expanded to address the needs of American opera administrators.

"Although women have played vital roles in politics, corporate culture, the front office, and the boardroom for many years, the so-called 'glass ceiling' is real," explains Dallas Opera Chairman Holly Mayer, "and few women occupy the top jobs in our industry. That's why the Hart Institute for Women Conductors and Administrators is such an important initiative for The Dallas Opera.

"This relatively new program already has an impressive track record of helping accomplished women achieve their career goals, as shown by the appointments of Lidiya Yankovskaya as Music Director of Chicago Opera Theater and Tianyi Lu as a Dudamel Fellow at the Los Angeles Philharmonic," Ms. Mayer adds. "The Hart Institute is making a difference in the lives of qualified music professionals-who just happen to be women!"

For the next six years, TDO will invite between two and four American opera administrators to join the institute each season. These women will be selected on the basis of their potential to become leaders of one of America's top opera companies later in their careers.

The selected opera administrators will attend all sessions during the annual fall residency in Dallas. This curriculum includes examining the role of the board, leadership development, personal branding, media and PR training, effective artist management, and navigating the recruiting processes for senior level positions.

To continue to develop their musical skills, which is essential for any opera executive, the administrators will observe rehearsals with The Dallas Opera Orchestra and conducting master classes by Marin Alsop, The Dallas Opera's Martha R. and Preston A. Peak Principal Guest Conductor Nicole Paiement, and Italian conductor Carlo Montanaro. Special sessions on Development, Finance, and Marketing will be offered as well.

One of TDO's goals is to build a network of talented leaders. In addition to the residency, selected administrators will be invited to participate in quarterly conference calls to continue to develop their personal networks and leadership skills.

The administrators program will accept applications each spring from women who are either American citizens or green-card holders; there is no age limit. Institute Fellows will receive a stipend, travel, and housing for the duration of this year's Hart Institute.

Keith Cerny, The Dallas Opera's Kern Wildenthal General Director and CEO notes: "The Dallas Opera has demonstrated its commitment to reshaping the opera field through the use of innovative public outreach, by exploring new technologies, commissioning new works to expand the operatic repertoire, and programming with passion, courage and imagination."

"This already proven program," Mr. Cerny added, "will enable more women to add to their skills in a wide range of areas, and provide them with the tools to accelerate their careers still further."

The institute had vital foundational support from the Richard and Enika Schulze Foundation. Naming support came through the generosity of Linda and Mitch Hart. Additional support for the institute comes from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Baker Botts LLP, Susan and Mark Geyer, Holly and Tom Mayer, Betty and Steve Suellentrop, Martha and Max Wells, and Jenifer and Peter Flynn.

Marc A. Scorca, President and CEO of OPERA America, earlier remarked: "The Dallas Opera continues to expand its influence and stature among American opera companies, as shown by this exciting new initiative. The company is to be applauded for taking a significant step to remedy the existing gender imbalance on the podium. This effort complements OPERA America's support of the work of female opera composers and promises to enrich the art form by encouraging more gifted artists to express themselves through opera."


Anh Le is the Publications and Brand Manager at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Prior to moving to St. Louis, she served as the Communications Associate for The Santa Fe Opera and the Associate Director of Marketing at Yale Rep. A lifelong arts lover, she has also worked with companies including the Yale School of Music (New Haven, CT), Opera Holland Park (London), and A.R.T. (Cambridge, MA). Anh received her BA from Harvard University in 2012, where she was awarded the Robert E. Levi Prize for excellence in arts administration. In 2015, she also received an MFA in Theater Management from the Yale School of Drama.

Anh Le writes: "It is a tremendous honor to be a member of this institute's inaugural class, and I look forward to two weeks of inspiration, learning, and professional growth next November. I cannot thank The Dallas Opera enough for its flagship commitment to women in our field."


Stefanie Mercier is the Manager of Rehearsal Planning and Artist Services at Washington National Opera, where she oversees the creation of the overall season rehearsal and performance calendar as well as the daily rehearsal schedule. She was responsible for the rehearsal schedule for WNO's 2016 Ring Cycle, which required three years of advance planning. Stefanie has been a lover of the performing arts since her first ballet lessons at the age of three. She danced with the School of the Richmond Ballet through high school, performing with the professional company annually in The Nutcracker. At the University of Virginia, she served in leadership roles with two student-run arts groups. After earning a bachelor's degree, she came to WNO as an intern and has held four different staff positions in the past eleven years.

Stefanie Mercier writes: "I am thrilled to be chosen to participate in the Hart Institute at Dallas Opera this fall. I look forward to joining this diverse network of women and learning from the forward-thinking curriculum to take my career in opera to the next level."


Sara Noble is in her third year as Company and Media Manager for the Chautauqua Opera Company. Since 2013, she has curated the unconventional operatic concert series 'Home Brewed Opera' as Executive Producing diva for Opera on Tap's New York City chapter. For Opera on Tap, Sara produced the world premiere of James Barry's comedic opera SMASHED: The Carrie Nation Story and scenes from Daniel Felsenfeld's opera-in-development The Inner Circle. She served three terms as the Executive Secretary for the New York Opera Alliance, and has collaborated with organizations including American Opera Projects, The BEAT Festival, Opera Slavica, and Fifth House Ensemble. Sara is a strong advocate for contemporary classical music as an administrator, producer, and performer based in New York City.

Sara Noble writes: "I am thrilled to have been chosen for the first Hart Institute for Women Opera Administrators. I have been greatly inspired by Dallas Opera's commitment to increase diversity and inclusion in the field and look forward to this opportunity to connect with a network of peers and mentors who share those goals."


Two time Grammy nominee Jennifer Rivera has performed leading roles with opera companies on five continents including the Berlin Staatsoper, the Teatro Regio di Torino, and the Dallas Opera among many others. She was selected as the "Debut Artist of the Year" at the New York City Opera and won a Helpmann Award (Australia's Tony Award) in 2015. She has created leading roles in three world premieres and her discography includes recordings of Agrippina, Il Ritorno D'Ulisse, L'Olimpiade and the soon to be released Becoming Santa Claus. Jennifer has been writing popular essays for the Huffington Post Arts and Culture section since 2012. In the beginning of 2017 she transitioned to a full-time arts administrator, and was named Assistant Director of Development at Long Beach Opera where she is tasked with major gift fundraising.

Jennifer Rivera writes: "I am thrilled to be returning to The Dallas Opera in order to participate in the inaugural Institute for Women Administrators. The leadership at The Dallas Opera has already inspired me a great deal with their commitment to innovation within the opera industry alongside artistic excellence, and I am excited to be challenged and galvanized by leaders within the field in a program geared towards advancing women into leadership positions."

Founded in 1957, The Dallas Opera is an internationally-recognized innovator dedicated to the overall advancement of the operatic art form and the support of established and emerging artists, as well as the education and development of new opera audiences in North Texas-and beyond. These goals are achieved by commissioning and producing world-class opera; through ground-breaking institutes, national competitions and topical programs; and by presenting opera in both traditional and non-traditional formats and venues in order to attract patrons of every age, background, educational level, and ethnicity-while engaging with more than 87,000 people in our community each year. TDO is equally committed to the task of responsible stewardship and is managed with efficiency and accountability, to the highest possible standards.