Opera Saratoga Announces New Board Members In Advance Of 2024 Season

New members will work under the leadership of General and Artistic Director, Mary Birnbaum.

By: Mar. 26, 2024
Opera Saratoga Announces New Board Members In Advance Of 2024 Season
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Saratoga Springs' own Opera Saratoga has elected four new members to its Board in preparation of the 2024 summer season, and under the leadership of General and Artistic Director, Mary Birnbaum.

New board members include: Saratoga Springs Commissioner of Public Works, Jason Golub; Supervising Judge of the Supreme Court in the Third Judicial District, Hon. Christina Ryba; local business owner and musician Derek Stannard; and, president and CEO of Empire Media Network, Abby Tegnalia. "It is tremendously exciting to have these four new members joining our board", says board President Steve Rosenblum, "All community leaders in the Capital Region, each new member brings a valuable perspective and talent to our leadership team. I am looking forward to working with them as we continue to take Opera Saratoga forward."

About the new Board Members:

Jason Golub is a lifelong lover of musical theater but relatively new to opera. He currently serves as the Commissioner of Public Works for Saratoga Springs and has held professional roles as an anti-corruption lawyer and chief compliance officer at General Electric, and various leadership roles at hedge funds and law firms. He attended Connecticut College and Columbia Law School. He is excited to help continue to build on Opera Saratoga's success by expanding the reach of Opera Saratoga to new audiences in Saratoga Springs and beyond, including his two kids, Zoe and Max.

The Honorable Christina L. Ryba was elected in 2015 to serve as Justice of the Supreme Court of New York in the Third Judicial District and in 2023 she was appointed Supervising Judge of the Supreme Court in the Third Judicial District. She also serves as Co-Chair of the Permanent Commission on Access to Justice whose mission is to ensure equal access to justice in New York State. Prior to beginning her judicial term in 2016, she held various positions in the court system for the Office of Court Administration (OCA) and in the NYS Supreme Court Appellate Division, Third Department, including Special Projects Counsel to the Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Courts Outside New York City and Special Projects Counsel to the Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, Third Department. Prior to her work with the judiciary, Judge Ryba was an associate at Nixon Peabody. She also served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of New York Litigation Bureau. Additional public service includes appointments first as General Counsel and then as Deputy Director for the City of Albany Community Development Agency. She began her career in public service with the City of Albany Corporation Counsel's office. Judge Ryba is Second Vice President of the Association of Justices of the Supreme Court of the State of New York; member of the New York Women Judges Association; past-president of the Albany County Bar Foundation; past-president of the Albany County Bar Association; member of Judicial Friends Association; member of the American Bar Association; and a Trustee of Albany Law School, where she chairs the Law Committee and is a member of the Executive Committee.

Derek W. Stannard, pianist, organist, tenor, and conductor, is a graduate of the Crane School of Music with degrees in Performance and Music Education. From 2014-2019, Mr. Stannard was the Artistic Director and founder of Auriel Camerata, an acclaimed fully professional choral ensemble in the Capital District. He is currently the organist at Bethesda Episcopal Church, Saratoga Springs, and has served as Organist and Director of Music Ministries at Church of the Immaculate Conception, Glenville, St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Bennington, Christ Church United Methodist, Glens Falls, and Grace Church, Canton, among others. From 2015 to 2021 he served as Associate Conductor of Burnt Hills Oratorio Society (now called Saratoga Voices), and served on their board until 2022. As a soloist, Mr. Stannard has been featured with many ensembles, including with Aoede Consort (Carnegie Hall premier of works by Vladimir Pleshakov), Albany Pro Musica, Burnt Hills Oratorio Society, Battenkill Chorale, Adirondack Voices, Voices of Cooperstown, and the Berkshire Choral Festival. In 2006, Mr. Stannard had the privilege of premiering the opera The Sailor-Boy and the Falcon at the Crane School of Music with Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe. In addition to his vocal and choral work, he has given organ recitals throughout the capital district including Christ Church Methodist, Glens Falls, St. Peter's Church, Bennington, Silver Bay Chapel, Silver Bay, and the Cathedral of All Saints, Albany. Mr. Stannard is the proprietor of The Pampered Pooch and Pals, a pet supply store in Ballston Spa. He is delighted to be serving on the board of Opera Saratoga.

Abby Tegnelia is the president and CEO of Empire Media Network, which publishes Saratoga Living and Capital Region Living magazines, a hyper-local Substack email newsletter, and the programs for Albany Symphony Orchestra and the SPAC summer classical season-while also producing a vibrant calendar of community and private events. A lifelong supporter of the performing arts, she attended a magnet school for the arts for dance (and performed in Don Quixote with American Ballet Theater principal dancer Leslie Browne) before moving to NYC to get her masters in journalism at Columbia University and begin her journalism career at New York magazine. She has written for Glamour, Marie Claire, Robb Report and many others, and served as editor-in-chief of several regional magazines on the west coast before moving to Saratoga Springs in 2019 for her work with Empire Media.

If you are interested in learning more about Opera Saratoga's 2024 season, its board, or wish to become involved, visit www.operasaratoga.org or contact Managing Director Amanda Robie at arobie@operasaratoga.org.


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