OperaDelaware is a professional non-profit opera company with a reputation for excellence in both opera and arts education. Our mission is to enrich the cultural lives of adults, families and students within the Mid-Atlantic region through meaningful arts education and the production of grand opera and intimate opera concerts, featuring established and emerging talent.
In 1945 a group of local artisans gathered under the guidance of Chick Laird to present classic opera with the finest voices in Wilmington at affordable prices. Today, our patrons are geographically and culturally as diverse as ever, stretching across the East Coast while at the same time reaching deeply into our Wilmington roots. Located in the heart of Wilmington, we serve the entire metropolitan area.
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.
OperaDelaware is located on the Wilmington Riverfront. Our address is 4 S. Poplar Street, Wilmington, DE, 19801. (For printable directions to our studio, please go HERE.) With floor to ceiling windows looking out over the Christina River, our Rehearsal Hall is truly a breathtaking space, perfect for intimate recitals and concerts. The Rehearsal Hall is also available for event rental. For more information on facility rental, please go HERE.
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. 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 and their boys Gus and Rex.
Anthony Barrese, Music Director
Maestro Anthony Barrese assumed the role of OperaDelaware's Music Director on Sept. 1, 2017. Maestro Barrese has conducted productions with the company for the past three seasons, including the East Coast Premiere of his reconstructed version of Franco Faccio’s Amleto. Maestro Barrese, who also serves as the Artistic Director of Opera Southwest in Albuquerque, NM, is a highly sought-after guest conductor with opera companies across the country and the world.
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.
Aurelien Eulert, Chorus Master and Principal Pianist
Hailing from Alsace, France, Eulert made his US-house debut in 2014 with Palm Beach Opera as diction coach for its production of Les Contes d’Hoffmann and head coach for the Young Artist Program. Since then, he has been involved in productions with Opera Memphis, OperaDelaware, Opera Roanoke, Pacific Opera Project, and the Los Angeles Opera Education department. He served on the music staff of USC Thornton Opera and the UCLA Alpert School of Music, and was the musical director of the Chamber Opera of USC (2008-13). He holds degrees from the Conservatoire National de Strasbourg, Syracuse University, and the University of Southern California. *The position of Principal Pianist and Chorus Master is underwritten in part through a generous donation by the Aware Foundation, in memory of Margery Hamilton Hill Bauer.*
Brenton O'Hara, Operations Manager
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 earned credentials from HBX CORe in the areas of business analytics, economics for managers, and financial accounting.
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, Opéra 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 in Wilmington with his wife, Soprano Sharin Apostolou.
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.
If you'd like to contact a member of our staff, please use the CONTACT US form.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
E. Andrew DiSabatino, Jr. (President), Cynthia du Pont Tobias (Vice President), Carole D. Pitcher (Treasurer), Nina Worthington (Secretary), Jerry Bilton,
Roberts W. Brokaw, III, Marilyn Bromels, Francesca DiGuglielmo, Sharon Gaudino, Peter D. Gordon, Michael J. Hoffman, Neal Howard, Chad E. G. Kifer, Samuel L. Moultrie, Samuel A. Nolen, Anne North Reed, John E. Roberts, Evelyn L. Williams
2017-2018 ANNUAL REPORT
OperaDelaware has recently uploaded the latest Annual Report, which is now available in PDF format. To download, please click the button below.