OperaDelaware is the only professional opera company in the state and the 11th oldest in the country. It is a source of economic revitalization and a source of arts education for many schools in the area that have none. The company employs nearly 250 full- and part-time local artists and staffers throughout the season and operates on an $800K annual budget.
Artists we have nurtured have performed in major houses throughout the world. We have been the recipient of major grants from national and local organizations and have received numerous awards and recognitions, including the National Endowment for the Arts, Opera America, Governor’s Award for the Arts, and National Opera Associations’ Service to Children’s Opera award. We are a company that still retains the founders’ original philosophy of “Opera for Everyone.”
For a complete listing of our mainstage performances, please see our Past Productions page.
Brendan Cooke, General Director
Brendan Cooke was appointed General Director of OperaDelaware in June 2012. Cooke joined OD from the Baltimore Concert Opera, a company he founded in 2008 in response to the collapse of the Baltimore Opera Company. Cooke and his board of directors launched this start-up opera company with $700 in personal funds. Under his leadership BCO experienced exponential growth, and is currently entering its ninth season. After founding BCO, Cooke continued his career in Arts Administration as a member of the marketing team for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, where he was Group Sales Manager for the organization. He holds a Master’s degree in Music from the prestigious Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, (where he was a student of renowned bass-baritone John Shirley-Quirk) and a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Loyola University in New Orleans.
In addition to his entrepreneurial skills, Cooke brings to OperaDelaware extensive experience in front and back-office operations, fundraising, facilitation of corporate and community partnerships, education, sales, and marketing.
Brendan resides in North Wilmington with his wife Julia, their boys Gus and Rex, and their chocolate lab, Shelley.
Ryan MacPherson, Development Associate
Ryan MacPherson joined OperaDelaware as Development Associate in October 2016 after a 20-year career as a critically acclaimed tenor. A favorite among OperaDelaware patrons (he appeared as Fenton in Falstaff in 2016 and as Gérald in Lakmé in 2015), he’s performed with the New York City Opera, The Opéra National de Paris - Bastille, Teatro Real - Madrid, Opera Nice - Côte d'Azur, Wiener Konzerthaus, Dublin's National Concert Hall, England's Buxton Festival, as well as with many regional companies in North America. In addition to his distinguished singing career, Ryan brings a wealth of knowledge to OperaDelaware with his experience as an entrepreneur and arts administration consultant.
MacPherson holds a Bachelor of Educational Studies in Music from the University of Missouri-Columbia, as well as a Master of Music in Opera and Artist Diploma, from Yale University. He lives on the Wilmington Riverfront with his wife, Soprano Sharin Apostolou.
Kim Doucette, Director of Education
Kim Doucette was appointed Director of Education in December 2014. She has served as Artistic Director of the Wilmington Children’s Chorus (WCC) since 2009. Under her leadership of the WCC’s five ensembles, the choir has solidified its reputation for vocal artistry, musical literacy, and professionalism.
She is well known throughout the community for her excellence as a conductor, educator, and performer. She is a much sought-after private voice instructor and presenter at professional conferences.
Doucette holds Bachelor’s Degrees in Music Education and Voice Performance from the Pennsylvania State University and a Master’s Degree in Voice Performance from the University of Delaware. She is a also certified in Elementary General Music by the Gordon Institute for Music Learning.
Mary Wilcosky, Marketing and Events Manager
Mary Wilcosky has over 25 years of project- and events-management experience for both corporate and non-profit organizations in Washington D.C. and Wilmington. Some of her clients have included Xerox Corporation, Verizon, FilmFest D.C., YWCA, and Longwood Gardens. She holds degrees in Art History from American University and Project and Event Management from George Washington University.
Jeffrey Miller, Music Director
Jeffrey Miller is a graduate of West Chester University. It was during his freshman year at WCU under the guidance of Stella Conaway that he chose to specialize in accompanying. Since that time, he has performed hundreds of recitals with many of America's finest singers. He has accompanied master classes for Birgit Nilsson, Maureen Forrester, John Duke, Martina Arroyo and David Garvey.
Now in his 33rd season with OperaDelaware, Miller has been principal accompanist since 1985, chorus master since 1995, and was appointed Music Director of OperaDelaware in 2010.
His life-long interest in the history of recorded sound, focusing primarily on classical vocal recordings, inspired him to take an active part in making early recordings available to the public. As Production Coordinator for the CD companies Romophone and Marston, he has participated in the release of over 100 compact discs of historic singers, including the complete recorded output of Emma Eames, Adelina Patti, Nellie Melba, and Lucrezia Bori (the latter having won the Gramophone magazine Best Historic Vocal Recording of the Year award in 1995). He continues to work closely with Ward Marston to this day, providing the public with definitive CD transfers of rare and beautiful material at a fraction of the cost of the original source discs. His own collection of historical recordings has been used as source material for the Great Recordings from the Met series.
Miller is now in his 47th year as a professional church musician, and is currently Director of Music and Organist at Red Clay Creek Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Delaware.
Brenton O'Hara, Assistant to the General Director
Brenton O’Hara has a background in opera production and classical music festivals. Prior to joining OperaDelaware in September 2016, he worked as a Patron Services Assistant for Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina as well as a production intern for Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival in New York, New York. In addition to holding degrees in music from the University of South Carolina and East Carolina University, Brenton has also successfully completed continuing education courses in business analytics, economics for managers, and financial accounting.