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!

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

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.