Opera Maine Leadership 2018-04-12T13:22:12+00:00


Dona D.Vaughn

Dona D. Vaughn, Artistic Director
Dona D. Vaughn, Artistic Director of Opera Maine,also serves as Artistic Director of Opera Programs at Manhattan School of Music. From 1998 to 2010, she was Stage Director/Acting Coach for The Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. She began her career as a performer in the original Broadway productions of Company, Jesus Christ Superstar and Seesaw. She was Assistant to Producer Kermit Bloomgarden for the Broadway productions of Equus and Hot l Baltimore, and Associate Producer for Pavel Kohout’s Poor Murderer, as well as ABC’s daytime drama All My Children. Directing credits include New York City Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Wolf Trap Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Opera Birmingham, Lincoln Center Playwrights’ Festival, Kennedy Center, and DiVivreVoix (Vivonne, France). Among the operas she has directed at Manhattan School of Music are Susa’s The Dangerous Liaisons, Transformations, Bloch’s Macbeth, The Mother of Us All, Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny, Summer and Smoke, Così fan tutte, Le nozze di Figaro, Die Fledermaus, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Formerly a member of the voice faculty at SUNY Plattsburgh and Marymount Manhattan College, Ms. Vaughn often conducts master classes across the U.S., Europe and China, and serves as an adjudicator for vocal competitions, including The Metropolitan Opera National Council, The Richard Tucker Foundation, Denver Lyric Opera, The Jenson Foundation, The Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Artist in Training Program, and Premio Spiros Argiris International Competition (Italy). A graduate of Brevard College, where she currently serves on the board of trustees, she earned a B.A. in vocal performance from Wesleyan, and has received that institution’s Outstanding Alumni Award. She holds an M.A. in theater directing from Hunter College, and an Honorary Doctorate of Music from the University of Southern Maine. She studied acting with Lee Strasberg and Uta Hagen, and dance with Martha Graham. Ms. Vaughn has written for Opera News and Italy’s Musical!

Stephen Lord, Principal Conductor

Stephen Lord has been chosen by Opera News as one of the “25 Most Powerful Names in U.S. Opera” (one of four conductors), and is continually praised for conducting both traditional and contemporary operatic works. For his debut with San Francisco Opera, conducting Rigoletto, one critic  observed, “He partnered his singers perfectly and gave everything its proper weight – he was master of the score’s details and the orchestra played superbly for him.” He is currently principle conductor of the Michigan Opera Theater, and formerly was music director of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Boston Lyric Opera. He now serves as artistic director of opera studies at the New England Conservatory, overseeing all aspects of the opera training program and conducting one main stage production a year.

In the 2016-17 season, Stephen Lord conducted Opera Maine’s production of La traviata, returned to the Canadian Opera Company to conduct Norma, and Michigan Opera Theatre for its production of La fanciulla del West. In 2015-16 Stephen Lord conducted Norma with the English National Opera, Macbeth with the Michigan Opera Theatre and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and Carmen with PORTopera. His 2014-15 season included conducting Madama Butterfly with Michigan Opera Theatre, La rondine with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Tosca with PORTopera, an opera gala concert with Hawaii Symphony Orchestra, and the Adler Fellows gala concert with San Francisco Opera.

Recent engagements included conducting concert versions of Rigoletto and La traviata for the Seoul Arts Center (South Korea); Un ballo in maschera and Lucia di Lammermoor for Canadian Opera Company; a gala concert with the Adler Fellows of San Francisco Opera; Don Pasquale and L’elisir d’amore with Lyric Opera of Chicago; Rossini’s La donna del lago with Santa Fe Opera; and conducting Don Pasquale for The Juilliard School opera program.

Recent highlights include his return to English National Opera to conduct its productions of Tosca and La bohème as well as a return to Michigan Opera Theatre to conduct Die Zauberflöte; a return to Wolf Trap Opera to conduct its Opera Alumni Concert; two major debuts, the first with English National Opera to conduct Rigoletto, and the second with Lyric Opera of Chicago to conduct Tosca, which he also conducted for Opera Colorado; La traviata with Opera Maine; Madama Butterfly for Opera Colorado; Macbeth with Opéra de Montréal; L’elisir d’amore with Michigan Opera Theatre; Salome for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; and a return to Wolf Trap Opera to conduct La bohème.

Stephen Lord’s other highlights include three productions for Opera Colorado: La traviata, Don Pasquale and Der fliegende Höllander; The Tales of Hoffmann for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; the Metropolitan Opera National Council Grand Finals concert; L’elisir d’amore at Boston Lyric Opera; and a concert version of Candide for Wolf Trap Opera. Other highlights include debuts with San Francisco Opera (Rigoletto) and Dallas Opera (La rondine), Un ballo in maschera and Le nozze di Figaro with Boston Lyric Opera, and I puritani for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

At Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Mr. Lord has conducted Roméo et Juliette, a double bill of Cavalleria rusticana and Suor Angelica, Tosca, Lucia di Lammermoor, The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein, La traviata, Kát’a Kabanová, Il barbiere di Siviglia, The Rape of Lucretia, Candide, The Beggar’s Opera, Curlew River, The Prodigal Son, The Gondoliers, King Arthur, La Fille du régiment, Ariadne auf Naxos and Madama Butterfly. During his tenure with Boston Lyric Opera he has led productions of The Little Prince, Eugene Onegin, Rigoletto, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, La rondine, Don Carlo, Don Pasquale, Madama Butterfly, La Fille du régiment, Salome, Aida, Die Zauberflöte, La traviata, Roméo et Juliette, Lucia di Lammermoor, Werther, Tosca, L’elisir d’amore, Falstaff, Il barbiere di Siviglia, I puritani and Carmen.

Stephen Lord made his New York City Opera debut in 2004 conducting La rondine. Other career highlights as guest conductor included appearances at Wolf Trap Opera (Roméo et Juliette, La bohème, Le nozze de Figaro and La clemenza di Tito) and with other North American companies such as the Canadian Opera, Opera Colorado, Michigan Opera Theatre, Florentine Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Opera Pacific, Cleveland Opera and Arizona Opera. Mr. Lord has been a guest with the Boston Pops and first appeared in San Francisco leading the Merola Grand Finale Concert for the opera company. He also conducted Opera Omaha in telecast productions of La traviata and Roméo et Juliette, and the world premiere of the completed critical edition of Les Contes d’Hoffmann. Mr. Lord was previously music director of the Banff Festival Opera, where he conducted L’Ormindo, The Rape of Lucretia, Cendrillon, Le nozze di Figaro and Così fan tutte.

In addition to his opera endeavors, Stephen Lord has conducted at Carnegie Hall for PDQ Bach’s annual concerts and at the Berkshire Choral Festival Institute. He teaches Master Classes at various institutions including Yale University, The Blossom Festival, the Hartt School of Music and Westminster Choir College, and he serves as an adjudicator in vocal competitions such as the Metropolitan Opera National Auditions, Opera America’s George London/Sullivan Grants, and the Richard Tucker Foundation.

Richard Gammon

Richard Gammon, Studio Artist Program Director
New York City based stage director Richard Gammon is known for his contemporary interpretations and use of modern dance and movement in both operatic and theatre repertoire.

Richard’s directing credits include the world premieres of Jorge Sosa’s electronic opera The Lake (ArtSounds) and his liturgical drama Tonantzin (UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance); the East Coast premiere of Jack Perla’s An American Dream (Opera Maine* Studio Artist Program), the NYC premiere of Jake Heggie’s At the Statue of Venus (Opera Avanti); Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda with lutenist Thomas Dunford and harpsichordist Jean Rondeau at the Kennedy Center (Opera Lafayette); Susannah (Charlottesville Opera*); Hindemith’s Sancta Susanna and Rorem’s Three Sisters who are Not Sisters (Manhattan School of Music); The Life and Times of Joe Jefferson Benjamin Blow at NYC’s Theatre 315 (National Asian Artists Project),Trouble in TahitiThe Medium, and a site-specific production of Gianni Schicchi at SPACE Gallery (Opera Maine* SAP); La traviataSweeney Todd, and Così fan tutte (University of Kentucky Opera Theatre); Ward’s Roman Fever and Hilliard and Boresi’s The Filthy Habit (Carnegie Mellon); and a warehouse production of La bohème at Work/Release (Virginia Opera Emerging Artist Program). For Kentucky Shakespeare Festival’s 50th Anniversary season he directed Much Ado About Nothing (Globe Players) after having previously directed The Tempest (Sizzlin’ Shakespeare). He directed the workshop of J Ashley Miller’s brutalist pop opera Echosis with Atemporchestra in Kansas City. And for the Cleveland Play House’s CARE Monologue Film Project Richard directed monologues written by Rajiv Joseph, Lloyd Suh, Karen Zacarias, Tanya Saracho, and Matthew Lopez.

Richard is the Director of Opera Maine’s Studio Artist Program and has worked extensively with Young Artist Programs around the country. For Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ 2016 and 2017 seasons Richard co-directed Center Stage, a concert of opera scenes with the Gerdine Young Artists and the Richard Gaddes Festival Artists with the St. Louis Symphony. Richard was the stage director for the Charlottesville Opera Young Artist Program for four seasons (Il barbiere di Siviglia, Susannah, La bohème, Gianni Schicchi); a Directing Fellow at Wolf Trap Opera directing the Wolf Trap Opera Studio in An Evening of One Act Operas: Hin und züruck, Gallantry, A Hand of Bridge, La Divina, Again; and a Young Artist Director at Opera North.

Other creative positions include Creative Associate for the world premiere of Dream’d in a dream with Seán Curran Company (BAM Next Wave Festival), Resident Assistant Director at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (2016, 2017), a 2017 Resident at the Institute for American Art with J Ashley Miller; and an Assistant Director at LA Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Palm Beach Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Virginia Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Ash Lawn Opera, Opera North, and Opera Maine.

Richard is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance.

*NB: Opera Maine formerly PORTopera, Charlottesville Opera formerly Ash Lawn Opera

Caroline Koelker, Executive Director
In this role Caroline Koelker is responsible for implementing all aspects of the opera company’s productions, outreach, and fundraising.

Koelker most recently served as event coordinator and development manager for Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, MA, where she earned her Master of Music in Opera Performance. A native of Maine, she earned her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance at the University of Maine in Orono. Koelker is a resident of Westbrook and is a member of Vox Nova Chamber Choir.

Caroline Koelker