Our Board of Directors

President: Sue Ann Corell Sarpy

Vice President: Johannah Castleman

Treasurer: David Preston

Secretary: Gail Kitch

Margaret Bailey, Judy S. Campbell, Johanna Chase, Janis Chevalier, Lucille H. Digges, Anne L. Fife, Allen Hench, Dick Howard, Cheri A. Lewis, Marita P. McClymonds, John L. Mitchell, David Newkirk, Victoria F. Norwood, Martha Redinger, Lady Blanka Rosenstiel, Stewart Searle, Peter Sushka, Laurie Turner, W. McIlwaine Thompson, Cynthia Tremblay, Melissa A. Young


Judith Walker, General Director 1987-2009

Michelle Krisel, General Director 2010-2014, Artistic Director 2015-2017

Our General Director - David O'Dell

Charlottesville, VA—The Board of Charlottesville Opera is delighted to announce it has hired David O’Dell to serve as its General Director.

The unanimous recommendation of the company’s search committee following a nationwide search led by Genovese, Vanderhoof & Associates, “David O’Dell brings precisely the mix of experience, skill, and enthusiasm we are looking for in a new leader,” observed Charlottesville Opera President Sue Ann Sarpy.

With years of experience as an arts administrator and singer, Mr. O’Dell was most recently General Director for Amarillo Opera in the Texas Panhandle, where he led the company to national prominence.

“I am honored and delighted to join Charlottesville Opera as its new General Director,” stated Mr. O’Dell. “My wife Amelia and I have had our eyes on Charlottesville and Charlottesville Opera for a very long time. The city, with its rich cultural and historical significance, has always been a favorite destination – but even more appealing is the prospect of working in a summer festival setting with a board of trustees committed to growing the company over a number of years. I look forward to leading the company in to the next chapter of its already impressive history.”

Born in St. Louis, David was a singer in his early career, performing at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, The Santa Fe Opera, and the San Francisco Opera Center.

Charlottesville Opera had its origins in 1978 when a group of Charlottesville musicians began to present chamber performances at the home of President James Monroe, Ash Lawn-Highland. These performances became the Ash Lawn-Highland Opera Festival, which grew dramatically in the late 1980s and 1990s with the mission of performing opera and musical theater, developing young artists and administrators, and providing educational programs.

In the summer of 2009, Ash Lawn Opera relocated its performances to The Paramount Theater, allowing the company to grow even further. In 2017, in honor of its 40th anniversary as the area’s premier opera company, Ash Lawn Opera became Charlottesville Opera, a new name reflecting the remarkable artistic transformation of the company, as well as its continued dedication to the Charlottesville community.

For its 42nd season, Charlottesville Opera presents Encore: Opera Favorites and Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot at the historic Paramount Theater. For more information call (434)293-4500, email info@charlottesvilleopera.org.

Our 2018 Artists

Charlottesville Opera Orchestra

Conductors: Steven Jarvi and Andy Anderson

Violin I

  • Daniel Sender – Concertmaster
    Charlottesville Symphony
  • Mia Laity – Assistant Concertmaster
    Sarasota Orchestra
  • Sam Petrey
    Madison Symphony
  • Cynthia Burton
    Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra

Violin II

  • Ruth Bacon *
    Knoxville Symphony Orchestra
  • Elise Blake
    Roanoke Symphony Orchestra
  • Jennifer George
    Naples Philharmonic
  • Jaya Varma
    Freelance Musician


  • Laurel Borden *
    Sarasota Opera
  • Tom Stevens
    Roanoke Symphony Orchestra


  • Troy Chang *
    Sarasota Opera
  • Paul Miahky
    Canton Symphony Orchestra






  • Josh Baker *
    Florida Orchestra
  • Jessica Goldbaum
    Hawaii Symphony Orchestra




  • Nathan Dishman
    Professor – Morehead State University

Bass Trombone

  • Nicholas Arbolino *
    Sarasota Orchestra
  • Shane Wedel
    Southwest Florida Symphony


  • John McGinness *
    Delaware Symphony Orchestra


  • John Patton ^
    Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra

* Indicates Principal

^ Acting Principal

Our Young Artist Program

Eric Owens and Andy Anderson discuss the vital role that the Young Artist Program plays at the Charlottesville Opera

Our Young Artists in Concert - July 18, 2018

Join Our Young Artists or Apprentice Singers

Young Artists

Charlottesville Opera provides Young Artists with an enriching way to enhance their professional careers. 2018 Young Artists had the opportunity to perform supporting roles in the main stage production of Le Nozze di Figaro and Into the Woods, and covered the principal roles and perform in the ensembles of both productions. Additionally, Young Artists had the opportunity to perform excerpts of Le Nozze di Figaro with piano, and performed in outreach, donor, and marketing events. Young Artists receive private coaching sessions, sing in master classes, and have the opportunity to audition for agents, conductors, and artistic administrators. Young Artists have the opportunity to build mentoring relationships with the artistic staff and principal artists. See the Young Artist Audition Info for a list of recent master classes and auditions. Young Artists are resident in Charlottesville for both productions over approximately 6.5 weeks.

Apprentice Singers

Charlottesville Opera provides Apprentice Singers with a rewarding way to begin their professional careers while still pursuing their undergraduate or graduate degrees. Apprentice Singers have the opportunity to perform bit parts and in the ensemble of Into the Woods and, depending on availability, cover roles and take part in outreach performances. Apprentice Singers also receive private coaching sessions and perform in donor and marketing events, in addition to auditing and, if selected, performing in master classes and auditions with visiting artists and administrators. Apprentice Singers have the opportunity to build mentoring relationships with the artistic staff and principal artists. See the Young Artist Audition Info for a list of recent mater classes and auditions. .

No live auditions will be held; all decisions are based on the materials submitted through YAP Tracker.

Internship Opportunities

Charlottesville Opera offers college students and recent grads an exciting, hands-on look at arts administration, theater production, and non-profit management through our year-long internship program. Charlottesville Opera offers several internships for college students both during the School Year and Summer Season. Interns work in and are exposed to all aspects of running a professional opera company, but can also focus on a variety of areas, including production, marketing, development, and more. Additionally, interns will have the opportunity to meet with arts administrators from diverse sectors throughout the Charlottesville community. Our small staff size means that interns are a truly integral part of Charlottesville Opera; we encourage interested students to read on for available opportunities and instructions for application. Apply today to be part of this rewarding educational experience!


The size of our company means that every intern will be involved in a variety of tasks involving multiple departments, and that each internship can be tailored to the interests of the candidate. In addition to their specific duties, interns are expected to perform general office duties as needed, i.e. answering phones, photocopying, research, etc. Therefore all interns are expected to have these minimum requirements:​

  • An appreciation for the arts
  • Strong communication skills
  • Proficiency in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • An attention to detail
  • Ability to organize and prioritize
  • Ability to work on a team

Areas of Focus

Each internship is tailored to the interests and goals of the candidate. See below for the four major areas of focus available. When applying, make sure to indicate which areas interest you most.


Works closely with administrative staff to develop and execute marketing and PR related projects; draft press releases; create, edit, and execute print and online marketing campaigns; design and proof printed materials, including outreach performance programs; update the Charlottesville Opera website; draft and send online newsletters; and other projects as needed. Proficiency with Adobe Photoshop and InDesign preferred, as well as a working knowledge of HTML. Including a design portfolio is recommended if you are interested in this position.

Artistic Administration

Works closely with the Charlottesville Opera administrative staff to coordinate Young Artist/Apprentice Singer recitals; prep and staff events; compile information packets for artists; liaise with artists and agents; compile ticket information; manage the Charlottesville Opera database; edit other materials related to classical programming; and general office duties.


Works closely with the Education Committee to design education materials; provide support for education programs including KidsFest, Opera Connects for Teachers, and Artist-in-Residence; and create and present a program based on the opera for children participating in the Department of Parks and Recreation summer camps.


Works closely with the Assistant Conductor to set up and prep rehearsals; prepare scores for performance and return; run title slides for opera performances as needed; assist with outreach performances; and other projects as needed. A background in music and strong score-reading skills are necessary for this position.

E-mail info@charlottesvilleopera.org or call (434) 293-4500 for more information.