Charlottesville Opera announces retirement of Artistic Director, Michelle Krisel

July 10, 2017
Contact: Emilia delGrosso, 434.293.4500

The President of the Board of Directors of Charlottesville Opera, Martha Redinger, announced today that Michelle Krisel, the company’s artistic leader for eight years, will retire at the end of the summer season in August.  Krisel, who served as General Director from 2010 through 2014 and as Artistic Director since 2015, raised the artistic quality to a competitive regional opera, expanded the number of productions, increased the geographic reach of the company, fostered local partnerships, and produced the first premiere in over 35 years.

Charlottesville Opera recruited Krisel in 2010 from the Washington National Opera where she had served for 14 years as the Special Assistant to General Director, Placido Domingo; as well as the founding director of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program and the head of the Education and Community Programs.  Prior to her position in Washington, Krisel had worked for a decade as a coach/accompanist/assistant conductor in opera companies here and abroad, and for a decade as an artists’ representative.

Krisel used her 35 years of experience in the opera world to transform Ash Lawn Opera to a vibrant and nationally recognized company based at the Paramount Theater, featuring principal artists from the Metropolitan, Washington National, Los Angeles, and San Francisco Operas; along with talented Young Artists, an orchestra drawn from national auditions, and collaborative productions.

Krisel spearheaded partnerships with many local arts organizations including the Charlottesville Ballet,  Oratorio Society, Virginia Consort, Wilson School of Dance, the then Music Director of the Charlottesville Symphony, Kate Tamarkin, and the Virginia Festival of the Book for the East Coast premiere this year of Middlemarch in Spring.

She also expanded the traditional summer season to include performances in the winter and spring and in other venues beyond Albemarle County. These included mainstage performances at the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre at Virginia Tech; and Young Artist performances at UVa-Wise, and in Orange, Louisa, Rappahannock and Wintergreen.

“Without a doubt, this is a great loss for our community and for Charlottesville Opera, but the bar has been raised and the board is committed to the high standards achieved over the last eight years through Ms. Krisel’s artistic leadership.”- Martha Redinger

Kevin O’Halloran, who joined the company in 2015 as Executive Director, said, “I have so enjoyed working with Michelle for the past three seasons.  We will miss her terribly, but we look forward to building upon the strengths she has brought to the company for the past eight years as we begin our search for a new Artistic Director.”

The company performs Rigoletto on July 14, 16, 19, and Oklahoma! on July 29, 30; Aug 2, 4, 5 at the Paramount Theater, as well as offers numerous free lectures and performances for the community.