press release

Charlottesville Opera announces new Interim Artistic Director and 2018 Season


October 11, 2017
Contact: Emilia del Grosso

Charlottesville Opera has named Steven Jarvi as Interim Artistic Director for 2017/2018. 


“We are thrilled that Steven Jarvi has agreed to serve as Interim Artistic Director,” said Kevin O’Halloran, Charlottesville Opera Executive Director.  “Steve is well-known to Charlottesville audiences, having conducted our summer opera for the past eight years.  His experience as Resident Conductor of the St. Louis Symphony and the Kansas City Symphony as well as his many guest conducting roles with opera companies and orchestras around the U.S. puts him in an excellent position to help us build and oversee our 2018 season.”

Sue Ann Corell Sarpy, President of the Charlottesville Opera Board of Directors, commented, “Steven Jarvi is an exciting young conductor of operas and symphonies, and he is an excellent choice for Charlottesville Opera.  We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome him in this new, expanded role.” 

Mr. Jarvi recently completed his tenure as the Resident Conductor of the St. Louis Symphony and Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra. He won the Bruno Walter Memorial Foundation Award while the Associate Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony, and previously served as the Conducting Fellow with Michael Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, an Associate Conductor for New York City Opera at Lincoln Center, and the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Conductor with the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center.

Mr. Jarvi was personally selected by Plácido Domingo to be the first conductor ever invited to be a member of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program and frequently collaborates with the finest singers in the world. Recent engagements include the world premieres of An American Soldier and Approaching Ali with Washington National Opera; Orphée (Philip Glass), La traviata, Tosca, The Ballad of Baby Doe, Falstaff, Lucia di Lammermoor, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Die Zauberflöte, Madama Butterfly, La bohème, Susannah, and Così fan tutte with companies such as Virginia Opera, Winter Opera Saint Louis, North Carolina Opera, and Charlottesville Opera.

“It is a great honor for me to expand my role from conductor to Interim Artistic Director of  Charlottesville Opera. Charlottesville has become a second home for me and my family over the last eight years, a time of such incredible growth for the company. I am thrilled to continue the extraordinary tradition and vision of my predecessor and mentor, Michelle Krisel. She was kind enough to bring me here with her and taught me so much about opera on all sides of the stage.  I am blessed to be working in an organization with such a strong and supportive Board of Directors led by President Sue Ann Sarpy and to work with our great staff and artistic team. It’s been a pleasure getting more acquainted with the Opera’s wonderful Executive Director, Kevin O’Halloran, and I enjoy working closely with him on what will certainly be a season to remember.”

Jarvi succeeds Michelle Krisel who served as General Director from 2010-2014 and as Artistic Director from 2015-2017. 

2018 Season Announcement
Charlottesville Opera is pleased to announce its 41st summer season.  This July and August, Charlottesville Opera will present Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and Sondheim’s Into the Woods.  “This will be a very special summer,” said Interim Artistic Director Steven Jarvi, “ as we present Mozart’s extraordinary masterpiece, Le Nozze di Figaro and the company’s very first production of a Stephen Sondheim musical. I’m looking forward to weaving more into the tapestry of Charlottesville by visiting local schools and hosting events to promote not only this season of great music, but the larger role of Charlottesville Opera as an artistic entity and contributor in the community.” 

Performances will be held in July and August at The Paramount Theater on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall.  Tickets range from $12 to $75 and will go on sale in early 2018.  For more information, contact Charlottesville Opera at 434-293-4500,, or



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.

Charlottesville Opera’s 40th Summer Season  Begins This Month

July 6, 2017
Contact: Emilia delGrosso, 434.293.4500

Charlottesville Opera’s 40th Summer Season
 Begins This Month

The re-named Charlottesville Opera's 40th summer season begins later this month with performances at The Paramount Theater of Verdi’s tragic masterpiece, Rigoletto and
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s landmark musical, Oklahoma! . 

One of the greatest works in the operatic canon, Rigoletto tells the tragedy of a father
whose fervent attempts to protect his daughter from the dangers of the world cause her ruin.
Featuring several popular arias, Verdi’s depiction of the machinations and scandals of a
sixteenth-century Italian court remains haunting and all-too relevant today. For the second consecutive year, Charlottesville Opera will also bring a performance of its mainstage opera to the beautiful Anne and Ellen Fife Theater at Virginia Tech.

The cast stars fan-favorite Hyung Yun (Metropolitan Opera) as the title character. Yun was most recently seen with Charlottesville Opera as Germont in La traviata (2016), 
co-produced with The Oratorio Society of Virginia, and as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly 
(2015). He will be joined by Eglise Gutiérrez (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden), who
has received acclaim as “one of opera’s next wave” from Opera News and has performed at some of the world's most prestigious opera houses, as Rigoletto’s beloved daughter Gilda, and Matthew Vickers (Virginia Opera) as the caddish Duke of Mantua.  
This production will also feature a dynamic ensemble made up of singers from
throughout Virginia. 

The 40th season concludes with Oklahoma!, the very first collaboration between composer Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Set in the Wild West at the turn of the century, this charming and heartfelt musical portrays the rivalry between a small town's farmers and cowboys, which is brought to a head by the romance between Laurey, an earnest farm girl, and Curly, a rugged cowboy. Oklahoma! is a special collaboration between Charlottesville Opera and Charlottesville Ballet, Charlottesville's only profesisonal dance company, to bring the musical's rousing dance numbers to life. 
Jennifer Zetlan (Metropolitan Opera), whom the New York Times described as having “a radiant, agile voice and excellent control,” stars as the charming farm girl Laurey. 
Tenor Nathan Granner (Opera Theatre of St. Louis) plays her star-crossed lover, Curly. Sharin Apostolou (Glimmerglass Festival) returns to Charlottesville Opera for a
third consecutive year following her triumphant portrayals of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady (2015) and Nellie Forbush in South Pacific (2016) as the flirtatious Ado Annie.
Charlottesville Ballet is proud to include choreography by CB Artist Mary Hein, three
professional soloists, and a student ensemble. Featuring beloved songs including “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’” and “People Will Say We’re In Love,” this classic musical will delight
adults and children alike. 

In addition to ticketed performances at The Paramount, Charlottesville Opera will offer a number of free events in the coming weeks.  On July 12th at 5:30 we will host our annual KidsFest, a free, open dress rehearsal for students participating in Charlottesville Parks and Recreation’s summer camps.  On July 17 at 4 pm Charlottesville Opera will offer a free lecture and reception at the Colonnade Club at UVa, featuring a talk by Professor Marva Barnett about the source of Rigoletto’s story:  Victor Hugo’s play Le roi s'amuse. 
On July 18 at 7:00 pm we will host our third annual free Concert in the Park at IX Art Park, just south of the downtown mall. Our annual Student Dress Rehearsal will take place on July 27 at 7 pm at The Paramount.  

The 40th Season reflects Ash Lawn Opera’s transformation into Charlottesville Opera, with today and tomorrow’s stars singing both new and established works. The new name, 
Charlottesville Opera, signals the company’s strong base in the local community and
recognizes the distance it has come.  

Martha Redinger, President of Charlottesville Opera, said, “We’re proud of our heritage, 
and we thank all those who built and supported Ash Lawn Opera through the years. We’re pleased to be able to signal our progress and professionalism with our new name:  
Charlottesville Opera.” 


Rigoletto –Sunday, July 9 at the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre at Virginia Tech; Friday, July 14, Sunday, July 16, and Wednesday, July 19, 2017 at The Paramount Theater 

Oklahoma! –Saturday, July 29, Sunday, July 30, Wednesday, August 2, Friday, August 4, and Saturday, August 5, 2017 at The Paramount Theater 

Tickets for Rigoletto, and Oklahoma! start at $25, on sale at 

For more information, go to

Pre-Performance Lectures 

Ticketholders are invited to an engaging and informative lecture 45 minutes before each Rigoletto, and Oklahoma! performance. 

Free Events, Open to the Public

July 17, 4 PM.  Colonnade Club, UVa.  Lecture by Professor Marva Barnett on Victor Hugo and Rigoletto. 

July 18, 7 PM.  IX Art Park, 522 2nd St. SE.  Free concert featuring singers from Rigoletto and Oklahoma! 

July 27,  4 PM, The Paramount Theater,  Oklahoma! Student Dress Rehearsal .  
                                                                  A free, open dress rehearsal for students 

Charlottesville Opera: Ash Lawn Opera Transformed

Charlottesville Opera: Ash Lawn Opera Transformed

The 40th Anniversary Season reflects Ash Lawn Opera’s transformation into Charlottesville Opera, with today’s and tomorrow’s stars singing both new and established works. The new name signals the company’s strong base in the local community and recognizes the distance it has come.