For Immediate Release
Contact: Patricia Kiernan Johnson;



New York, NY — OPERA America, the national service organization for opera, announces the final two sessions of its 2008-2009 Making Connections series, a professional development and networking program nurturing the next generation of performing and creative artists. Making Connections is geared toward early-career artists, including singers, composers, librettists, designers, directors and others who work in or would like to work in the field of opera.

OPERA America presented a total of 17 different sessions during the course of the full 2008-2009 Making Connections season, which began in September. Each session begins with an hour-long panel discussion followed by an informal reception where attendees are able to meet one-on-one with the panelists, providing a unique networking opportunity.

“One of the most exciting aspects of Making Connections is this direct exchange between the participants,” stated Marc A. Scorca, president & CEO of OPERA America. “In the increasingly competitive arts community, often, it’s not only what you know but who you know that can make a difference. Through Making Connections, OPERA America is able to foster a real dialogue between aspiring artists and decision-makers in the opera community.”

The next session, Fundraising 101, on Wednesday, May 20, will assist artists in identifying sources of income, creating a fundraising strategy, approaching potential funders, preparing taxes and other vital information not typically taught in schools. Leading this session is Dianne Debicella, the Program Director for Fiscal Sponsorship at Fractured Atlas, who has helped over 1,200 sponsored artists and emerging organizations, representing all artistic disciplines, find funding and other resources to support their work.

Panelists for Designing for 21st-Century Opera on Thursday, May 21, will explore current design trends in the field, including multimedia options for the opera stage and ideas for incorporating film, fashion and other art forms into opera productions. Speaking at this session are Wendall Harrington, projections designer for opera and Broadway; Jessica Jahn, costume designer; and Joachim Schamberger, virtual theater designer and stage director. Allen Moyer, scenic designer for opera and Broadway, will moderate.

Making Connections sessions take place from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and are held in the OPERA America offices at 330 Seventh Avenue at 29th Street. A reception follows each panel discussion. Admission is $5 per session for OPERA America members and $10 for non-members. For additional information on individual sessions and speakers, contact OPERA America at 212-796-8620 or Those interested in attending any of the sessions may register online at

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

OPERA America Making Connections Schedule
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Fundraising 101
Speaker: Dianne Debicella, Fractured Atlas
Workshop: 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Reception: 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Thursday, May 21, 2009
Designing for 21st-Century Opera
Speakers: Wendall Harrington, projections designer for opera and Broadway; Jessica Jahn, costume designer;
Joachim Schamberger, virtual theater designer and stage director
Moderator: Allen Moyer, scenic designer for opera and Broadway
Workshop: 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Reception: 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.



OPERA America leads and serves the entire opera community, supporting the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera.

  • Artistic services help opera companies and creative and performing artists to improve the quality of productions and increase the creation and presentation of North American works.
  • Information, technical, and administrative services to opera companies reflect the need for strengthened leadership among staff, trustees and volunteers.
  • Education, audience development and community services are designed to enhance all forms of opera appreciation.

Founded in 1970, OPERA America’s worldwide membership network includes nearly 200 Company Members, 300 Associate and Business Members, 2,000 Individual Members and more than 16,000 subscribers to the association’s electronic news service. In 2005, OPERA America relocated from Washington, D.C. to New York as the first step in creating the first-ever National Opera Center. With a wide range of artistic and administrative services in a purpose-built facility, the Opera Center is dedicated to increasing the level of excellence, creativity and effectiveness across the field.

OPERA America’s long tradition of supporting and nurturing the creation and development of new works led to the formation of The Opera Fund, a growing endowment which allows OPERA America to make a direct impact on the ongoing creation and presentation of new opera and music-theater works. Since its inception, OPERA America has made grants of nearly $11 million to assist companies with the expenses associated with the creation and development of new works.