Running an opera company, just like many operas, takes an ensemble cast, and the Pittsburgh Opera has recently announced several new hirings:
The biggest is actually more a promotion. Newly hired general director Christopher Hahn has tapped William J. Powers, the company's artistic administrator, to help him with the financial and administrative duties. Powers is young and only joined the company last September, but has already been a general director (Berkshire Opera) and also worked at the Metropolitan Opera, Wolf Trap and Juilliard) will take on more roles of assisting me, artistic administration.
Shawn Fertitta recently joined Pittsburgh Opera as Opera Center administrator and facility manager. Previously, she was manager for Circle in the Square Theatre in New York and a company manager for several Broadway productions.
Debra Leigh Bell will be the new director of marketing and communications. She has been at Glimmerglass and Cincinnati Symphony. She was a choirmaster for several years and has a master's degrees in arts administration. Joining her as marketing associate is Allison Ruppert, formerly of the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater.
Heading the all-important development department will be Christina Waddle. Waddle most recently served as development director for the American Diabetes Association, and she has a masters of music from University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Welcome and good luck to all...
Now to the loss -- though it really is a gain:
In reference to the opening opera of the season, "Samson & Dalila," the opera is joining with Locks of Love to help donate hair to children with total hair loss. Pittsburgh Opera wigmaster James Geier will do the honor of cutting the hair of five donors, with that experienced snipstress "Dalila" (mezzo-soprano star Stephanie Blythe) on hand to guide him. The event takes place October 8 at the Pittsburgh Opera building in the Strip (2425 Liberty Avenue). Here is the kicker: "Each person invited to participate in the event at the Opera building will receive two tickets to 'Samson' and a backstage tour, along with special gifts from Pittsburgh Opera."
FYI: "Locks of Love uses donated human hair to make wigs for children, most of whom suffer from an auto-immune condition called alopecia areata, for which there is no known cause or cure. Others have suffered severe burns, endured radiation treatment or experienced other dermatological conditions that result in permanent hair loss. The custom-fitted hair prosthetics are provided free of charge or on a sliding scale to children whose families meet the Locks of Love guidelines."