Opera Maine LEADERSHIP

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, Studio Artist Program Director
Described as “…the Pina Bausch of opera” by Seán Curran, Richard Gammon is known for his use of modern dance and movement in his productions. His interest in modern and contemporary music lead him to direct the world premieres of Jorge Sosa’s electronic opera The Lake (ArtSounds) and the liturgical drama Tonatzin as well as a new production of The Calling (UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance); the NYC premiere of Jake Heggie’s At the Statue of Venus (Opera Avanti); Hindemith’s Sancta Susanna and Rorem’s Three Sisters who are Not Sisters (Manhattan School of Music), Susannah (Ash Lawn Opera), Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti (PORTopera YAP), and Sweeney Todd and a post-modern production of Così fan tutte (University of Kentucky Opera Theatre). As a directing fellow at Wolf Trap Opera, Richard directed five modern/contemporary one act operas for the Wolf Trap Opera Studio in An Evening of One Act Operas: Hin und zurückAgainGallantryA Hand of BridgeLa Divina.

Richard has worked extensively with Young Artist Programs around the country. He recently directed Bohème Unplugged (a warehouse production of La bohème) with the Virginia Opera Young Artist Program at Work | Release in downtown Norfolk. For PORTopera he debuted at SPACE Gallery in Portland, Maine with a site-specific production of Gianni Schicchi. He spent four seasons as the Stage Director of Ash Lawn Opera’s Young Artist Program directing new productions of Gianni Schicchi, La bohème, and Il barbiere di Siviglia. He was also a Young Artist Director at Opera North.

Richard was the Creative Associate for Dream’d in a dream with the Seán Curran Company which made its New York City premier this past fall at the BAM 2015 Next Wave Festival. He directed for two seasons at the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival with productions of Much Ado About Nothing (Globe Players) and The Tempest (Sizzlin’ Shakespeare). He has recently been a guest director at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Music, the University of Kentucky Lexington, and the Manhattan School of Music. He has been on the staging staff of Opera Theatre Saint Louis, 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.

He works closely with Baayork Lee and the National Asian Artists Project (NAAP).

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

Caroline Koelker, Managing Director
Opera Maine recently announced the appointment of Caroline Koelker as managing director. In this role she 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 The Choral Art Society and Vox Nova Chamber Choir.

Caroline Koelker