Dona D. Vaughn | Artistic Director, PORTopera, and Artistic Director of Opera Programs, Manhattan School of Music (Portland, New York)
Dona D. Vaughn is the artistic director of PORTopera, a summer festival in Portland, Maine, and also serves as artistic director of opera programs at Manhattan School of Music. From 1998 to 2010, she was the stage director and acting coach for the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. A graduate of Brevard College, where she currently serves on the board of trustees, she received a B.A. in vocal performance from Wesleyan, an M.A. in theater directing from Hunter College and an honorary doctorate of music from the University of Southern Maine. In 2015, she was awarded the President’s Medal for Distinguished Faculty Service by Manhattan School of Music. Vaughn studied acting with Lee Strasberg and Uta Hagen, as well as dance with Martha Graham, and she began her career as a performer in the original Broadway productions of Company, Jesus Christ Superstar and Seesaw. She has also served as dramaturge for the O’Neill Conference on Opera and Musical Theater, HB Playwright’s Unit and the University of Kansas New Play Season. Directing credits include New York City Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Wolf Trap Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Lincoln Center Playwrights’ Festival, New York Repertory Company, the Kennedy Center, and many colleges and universities across the U.S., Europe and Asia. She directed the world premieres of Roberto Hazon’s Agenzia matrimoniale, Robert Sirota’s Holy Women and Francis Thorne’s Mario and the Magician; the New York premieres of Milton Granger’s Talk Opera and The Proposal; the Off-Broadway production of Murphy Guyer’s World of Mirth; and the European premiere of Carlisle Floyd’s Flower and Hawk. She has written for Opera News and Italy’s Musical!