In a time when the NEA (National Endowment of the Arts) might face elimination due to proposed budget cuts, Opera Roanoke is pushing for more arts & culture in the region.
The 41-year-old non-profit organization announced the appointment of Nancy Harder as the Director of Outreach and Associate Conductor.
“I am thrilled to join Opera Roanoke in a leadership role after my involvement as a pianist and vocal coach,” says Ms. Harder. “Opera Roanoke is an innovative, exciting opera company with a national reputation that is an integral part of the arts & culture scene in Roanoke and the New River Valley. I look forward to playing a significant role in its future.”
Opera Roanoke was recently named as one of only a handful of recipients of OPERA America’s highly competitive Building Opera Audiences grant.
“The most recent grant awardees demonstrate the many ways companies are developing innovative strategies to not only attract audiences, but to increase the civic impact of new works — by engaging generative artists with local communities, developing partnerships with organizations outside the arts, and facilitating dialogue to connect storytelling with contemporary issues”, said Marc Scorca, OPERA America President/CEO.
Following the OPERA America announcement, Opera Roanoke was awarded a $50,000 challenge grant from the Ceres Foundation. The grant must be matched by new contributions before June 30. The grant will assist Opera Roanoke in leveraging funds towards its productions, programs and youth music education opportunities in our region.
As a way to connect with new audiences, Opera Roanoke will be holding its first “Opera Tap Takeover” at Soaring Ridge Brewery on April 19 at 6pm. The fundraising event includes great southern food, live music and craft beer.
And on April 28 & 30, Opera Roanoke will present Carlisle Floyd’s American opera Susannah at the Jefferson Center under the baton of Metropolitan Opera conductor, Steven White. Artistic Director Scott Williamson will direct the company premiere of Floyd’s award-winning “folk” opera, set in the Appalachian mountains, which will feature the mainstage debut of Met Opera soprano, Danielle Talamantes, an alumna of Virginia Tech.
“We couldn’t be more excited and grateful for all of the great things happening right now,” said Williamson. “The recognition and support from OPERA America, one of the leading arts organizations in the country, and the matching grant from one of our most generous foundations just heightens the anticipation of our premiere production of Floyd’s Susannah. We hope our community here will not only share the excitement of our good news, but will join us for this moving and lyrical drama, full of music which sounds like it came from our beloved Blue Ridge Mountains.”