Staff

Scott Skiba, Executive Artistic Director

sskiba@clevelandoperatheater.org

 

Scott has led more than 60 new operatic productions earning critical acclaim for his imaginative stage direction and dynamic physical approach to storytelling. His recent production of A Streetcar Named Desire was praised for "first-rate stage direction... vivid and emotionally charged." Upcoming engagements include directing Dialogues of the Carmelites for Baldwin Wallace Conservatory Opera, Le nozze di Figaro for Cleveland Opera Theater, Suor Angelica for Mobile Opera, Barbiere di Siviglia for Natchez Music Festival, and Don Giovanni for the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival.  

 

Scott is the Executive Artistic Director of Cleveland Opera Theater where he has directed critically acclaimed productions of La Bohème, Tosca, La Rondine, Gianni Schicchi, Suor Angelica, Il Tabarro, Pagliacci, Amahl and the Night Visitors, The Pirates of Penzance, H.M.S. Pinafore, Il Segreto di Susanna, and the Cleveland premiere of the new vampire opera, Clarimonde.  Additional directing credits include The Student Prince for Opera Grand Rapids, Die Csardasfürstin and Die Fledermaus for Opera Circle Cleveland, He has directed new productions of Tobermory, Roman Fever and Trouble in Tahiti for the Oberlin Conservatory of Music Opera Theater, Serse, La finta giardiniera, and Suor Angelica for Oberlin in Italy, The Crucible, and Falstaff for Martina Arroyo's Role Preparation Program at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, The Medium, Too Many Sopranos and The Crucible for the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music, and The Pirates of Penzance, Dido & Aeneas, and Orpheus in The Underworld for the Interlochen Opera Theater.

 

Scott has directed interdisciplinary collaborations in non-traditional venues that explore alternative, intimate, and contemporary approaches to opera including: the professional premiere of Sweets By Kate with Marble City Opera, which was performed in an installation at the Knoxville Museum of Art and in a site-specific production at the recently opened Sugar Mama's Bakery in Downtown Knoxville, Marguerite; a world premiere adaptation of Gounod’s Faust, Unplugged, Fiesta, Portrait of a Diva, and Letters from Mary Stuart for Cleveland Opera Theater at the Cleveland Public Theatre, The Spider for Interlochen Opera Theater, the New Opera Project which developed and presented the world premiere of six short operas in collaboration with Interlochen Arts Academy, Parallel 45 Theatre Company and the Inside Out Gallery in Traverse City, Michigan, and Belles Èpoques, a collaboration between Cleveland Opera Theater and EDWINS Restaurant and Institute. 

Scott is a frequent guest teacher throughout the United States and in Europe offering Master Classes and workshops on: Acting, Singing Acting, Movement, Physical Characterization, Mask work, Audition techniques, and Professional Development. Recent guest engagements include:  The University of Tennessee Knoxville Opera Theater.  East Carolina University School of Music, Kent State University, Interlochen Arts Camp, University of Central Missouri, Christopher Newport University, and the Musica nelle Marchè summer program.  Scott's former appointments include associate instructor of voice at The Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, Acting and Movement instructor for the Oberlin Conservatory Vocal Academy for High School Students, and instructor of voice and director of the Interlochen Opera Theater. He is currently the Executive Director of the Oberlin in Italy opera training program in Arezzo, Italy, and he will join the faculty of the Cornish American Song Institute as instructor of Interpretation and Movement in June 2016.​  Scott is the recently appointed Director of Opera Studies and Associate Professor for the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music. 

- www.scottskiba.com

Domenico Boyagian, Music Director and Principal Conductor

dboyagian@clevelandoperatheater.org

 

Known for his savvy style on the podium and ability to communicate, Maestro Domenico Boyagian has proven to be highly valuable, sensitive and compassionate in his aesthetic delivery. Born and raised in Bologna, Italy and the son of the internationally renowned Armenian-Italian Verdi baritone Garbis Boyagian, Mº Boyagian arrived in the U.S. in 2000 to pursue his musical studies in piano and conducting.  In the 2014-15 season, Mº Boyagian is guest conductor with Opera North (NH) in his debut conducting La traviata. He is also an invited guest conductor in the fall with the Manhattan School of Music where he will work with young artists in scenes programs.

 

He is Associate Conductor with Florida Grand Opera conducting Così fan tutte in the spring of 2015 and he returns to Opera Southwest as Associate Conductor in La bohème.In 2013 he was reëngaged to conduct the National Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of Costa Rica in critically acclaimed performances of Verdi’s Requiem. He made his New York debut conducting performances of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale and served as cover conductor at Florida Grand Opera in Miami. He was invited to return to Albuquerque in 2013 where he conducted Opera Southwest in the première of Ethan Frederick Greene’s opera A Way Home. In Cleveland Mº Boyagian led a production of Szymanowski’s rare and challenging King Roger with Opera Circle.  

 

Particularly adept in the standard Italian repertoire, he made his Canadian debut with Verdi’s La traviata for Opera Belcanto in Toronto and in Italy at Teatro della Regina, La Camerata Musicalle Giovanile Orchestra (Bologna), Assisi Opera and Sofia Festival Orchestra.  Equally masterful in orchestral repertoire, in 2011 Domenico Boyagian was named Music Director of the Ohio Philharmonic in Cleveland where he resides and is guest conductor with the Cleveland Philharmonic, Saint Ann Orchestra, and Suburban Symphony Orchestras. 

 

A collaboration with the celebrated Italian pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi produced his recent recording debut for Centaur Records with the Ohio Philharmonic conducting the works of Edvard Grieg including the Holberg Suite, Opus 40.  Earlier that year he led the Palm Beach Symphony in a Gala Concert fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago. Mº Boyagian has recently been named “one of 10 most distinguished Italians in the U.S.” by the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce in New York, the only musician among them.  www.domenicoboyagian.com

Megan Thompson, Director of Education and Outreach

mthompson@clevelandoperatheater.org

 

With her background in performance, technical theater, management, and event coordination, Ms. Thompson was appointed Executive Director/Artistic Director of the Great Lakes Light Opera with the intent of developing a company focused on education and outreach in Northeast Ohio. While at the helm, Ms. Thompson led Great Lakes Light Opera to be a leader in presenting accessible opera productions as well as the only company in Northeast Ohio with an adult-focused education program. By late 2016, the company had caught the attention of Cleveland Opera Theater, Cleveland’s premier opera company, and a merger was arranged to better serve Northeast Ohio with the understanding that Ms. Thompson could further pursue her passion in educating audiences about opera and classical music. She assumed the role of Director of Education and Outreach in early 2017, driving the Opera for All outreach initiative, adult and youth education programs, Opera 101 pre-show talks, and all other outreach engagements. 

 

In addition to her role with Cleveland Opera Theater, Megan Thompson currently works at That Can Be Me, Inc.’s Books@Work as Program Manager, which builds communities of openness, respect and belonging by creating the conditions for genuine human connection at every level of the workplace through narrative literature. In this role, Ms. Thompson is in charge of managing and/or supervising all functions related to program delivery, including scheduling programs with clients, outreach to prospective faculty, coordinating program logistics and details, and program quality assessments.

 

Megan Thompson completed her Master of Music degree in Opera Performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music where she studied with Professor Clifford Billions. Prior to her tenure at CIM, she graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Central Florida Community College with an Associate of Arts degree in Drama and Magna Cum Laude from Stetson University and with a Bachelor of Music degree with an emphasis in vocal performance and psychology.

Dean Buck, Assistant Conductor and Chorus Master

dbuck@clevelandoperatheater.org

 

Dean Buck is a Cleveland-based conductor, now serving his fourth season as Assistant Conductor and Chorus Master with Cleveland Opera Theater. His conducting has been described as "fearless and firm," (Cleveland Classical,) and "maintaining a constant, flexible rapport with singers." (New York Observer.) With Cleveland Opera Theater, he has worked as assistant conductor/chorus master on their productions of “La Boheme,” “La Traviata, “Madama Butterfly,” “Il Barbiere di Siviglia,” and “The Threepenny Opera.” He has additionally served as Music Director for Cleveland Opera Theater's {NOW} Fest for the past two seasons, supervising premiers, workshops and performances of works by such composers as Evan Mack, Dawn Sonntag and Griffin Candey. Previously, Dean served as principal conductor of the New York City-based company LoftOpera. With LoftOpera, he conducted eight productions including their critically-acclaimed stagings of Puccini's "La Boheme", Britten's "The Rape of Lucretia", and Mozart's "Cosi fan Tutte".  Dean has recently served as guest conductor for Heights Chamber Orchestra and Suburban Symphony Orchestra, and assistant conductor for the Mediterannean Opera Studio and Festival in Caltagirone, Sicily.  He holds a masters degree in orchestral conducting from the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Stephanie Ruozzo, Education and Outreach Associate

sruozzo@clevelandoperatheater.org

 

Having presented her research locally and globally, Stephanie Ruozzo recently earned her PhD in Historical Musicology from Case Western Reserve University. Her studies at CWRU provided the privilege of instructing students of all levels of musical experience, from freshman non-music majors to conservatory graduate students. As a music historian, her research focuses largely on early musical comedies and the World War I output of Jerome Kern for the Princess Theatre, but her abiding passion for opera has led to lectures and publications exploring the art form through the 21st century. These projects include presentations on Mozart's Da Ponte operas and Thomas Adès' The Tempest as well as an article discussing the contemporary relevance of Verdi's "Va, pensiero."

Stephanie's tenure in Cleveland has been characterized by a passion for public musicology; she volunteers regularly with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's education department, has delivered lectures for the Cuyahoga County Public Library System and the Great Lakes Theatre Organization, and is thrilled to join the Cleveland Opera Theater as an education and outreach associate. Education has defined Stephanie's mission; having begun her studies as clarinetist, she holds Bachelor's degrees in Music Education, Italian Education, and Music History from Youngstown State University, and began her career as a K-12 educator in the Poland Local School District before pursuing her doctorate.

She continues to modernize and advocate for music pedagogy in her position as Adjunct Professor of Music History at Wichita State University by developing their first entirely online and remote music history curriculum in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Stephanie also occasionally performs in community theater pit orchestras and Italian-American "bande di paese" as a clarinetist. With one foot in the academic world and one foot planted in public outreach, Stephanie enjoys serving the Cleveland community by sharing the joy and affirmation of good art.

Cliff Wilson, Artistic Administrator

cwilson@clevelandoperatheater.org

 

Cliff Wilson is the Artistic Administrator for the company and works closely with the General Director and Artistic Director. He served as Artistic Administrator of Opera Cleveland until the end of 2010.  He has had the opportunity to work with our directors, designers, artists, and technical staff.  Prior to Opera Cleveland, he served as the Director of Operations for Lyric Opera Cleveland, a company that produced a summer opera festival each year.  Cliff has a Master’s Degree in Education, taught for eleven years in the Cleveland Public Schools, and worked with a local chamber orchestra after teaching. He is glad to assist Cleveland Opera Theater with their fine productions each season.

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