Francesca Campagna Named General Director of the Center For Contemporary Opera

Fancesca Campagna

New York, NY (September 25, 2019) – Francesca Campagna has been named General Director of the Center for Contemporary Opera, effective immediately. As a globally renowned artistic manager and consultant to cultural institutions, she has built a formidable reputation for her deep knowledge of opera, and her ability to extend the reach of preeminent artists and institutions to new audiences. It is this rare combination that made her the CCO Board’s choice.

The Center for Contemporary Opera, founded in New York City in 1982, is dedicated to creating opportunities for composers and librettists and giving new life to new operas. CCO brings forward performances and new works that redefine American opera repertoire. As General Director, Ms. Campagna is responsible for the vision and strategic plan of CCO.  She will oversee the development of all Center for Contemporary Opera productions in the U.S. and globally, as well as expanding education, partnerships and fundraising programs.

Ms. Campagna is the first female and first immigrant General Director in the organization’s history and was selected by the Board in an international search. Italian by birth, Francesca resides in Manhattan.

Francesca Campagna began in Italian Opera with roles at Fondazione Teatro Massimo in her native Palermo. She worked in more than 300 productions over 12 years with the most renowned artists such as Franco Zeffirelli, Graham Vick, Claudio Abbado, and Gustavo Dudamel. Her subsequent work to establish the Royal Opera House Muscat created the first opera house in the Middle East, and has been widely recognized for the artistic integrity and cultural diversity of its programming. Here in her adopted home of New York she has continued to bring opera to new audiences working as an Advisor at New York City Opera and as Executive Director of the International Friends of Festival Verdi, and as an independent producer with others.

Ms. Campagna states, “I am delighted to take on the challenge of making sure that we at CCO are always contemporary, and at the absolute forefront of our craft. My passion is bringing stories to stages.  Opera embraces social issues, illuminates complex situations and allows us to feel deep emotions. I love helping people to experience that and guiding artists in this vision.” She continues, “To me there has never been a more exciting time to be in opera and expand the relevance of this vibrant art form. And at CCO  we are uniquely able to do that with new commissions and by bringing contemporary work to new stages in New York and the world.”

Gene Rotberg, President of the Center for Contemporary Opera’s Board of Trustees said, “ CCO is delighted to announce Francesca Campagna as its General Director. Francesca’s terrific reputation with major opera houses throughout the world, combined with her inspiring vision for opera’s future impressed us all. She will create a new exciting chapter for the Center for Contemporary Opera.”

Sara Jobin, CCO’s Artistic Director said, “Francesca Campagna is a natural leader and collaborator and I know she will support us taking bold and brave artistic direction in our programming. I am delighted to be partnering with her.”

Richard Marshall, CCO’s founder stated, “When I founded CCO, contemporary opera did not have the support that opera had, and that is still true today. I can think of no one better than Francesca to continue the work of the Center for Contemporary Opera. It demands deep respect for opera and the bravery to keep pushing forward – she will do that brilliantly.”

Contact:  Debra Kinzler, email hidden; JavaScript is required; 347 574 2155

CCO in the Netherlands

CCO’s critically acclaimed production of two chamber operas by Louis Andriessen, Odysseus’ Women and Anais Nin, will be performed on May 24 at Operadagen Rotterdam and again on May 26 at Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw.

Jorinde Keesmaat directs and is joined by CCO regulars Augusta Caso and Maggie Finnegin.  Completing the cast are three excellent Dutch artists accompanied by the ensemble Nieuw Amsterdam Peil.

These productions are part of the Andriessen Festival in celebration of his 80th birthday.  We hope you can join us. Tickets for the Rotterdam performance are here while tickets for the Amsterdam performance can be obtained by following this link.

CCO announces its thirty-six season!

The Center for Contemporary Opera, Sara Jobin Artistic Director, announces its historic 36th season. Included are two main stage operas, two chamber works, plus the continuation of our long standing Development Series.  Details can be found here.

Jim Schaeffer to Retire as Artistic & General Director of the Center for Contemporary Opera

New York, NY (March 20, 2018) – Jim Schaeffer, the Artistic & General Director of the Center for Contemporary Opera since October 2008 announces his retirement, effective June 30, 2018. A search for a new General Director will begin immediately.

Gene Rotberg, Chairman of the Center for Contemporary Opera’s Board of Trustees said about Jim Schaeffer’s retirement, “It is not easy to say farewell to someone who shone so brightly in a corner of our world. Jim Schaeffer was, indeed is, the Center for Contemporary Opera. He auditioned, produced, directed, managed, and raised the funding virtually by himself for an institution whose viability existed only because of him. He brought to the world new operas, new librettos, new composers. Like magic, productions were financed and presented to great acclaim. He was in truth the impresario, the financial wizard and the ultimate manager. Put simply, the Center for Contemporary Opera feels toward Jim what I believe Jim feels for the Center of Contemporary Opera – the thoughts expressed by the English poet, Robert Bridges:

‘I will not let thee go
I hold thee by too many bands:
Thou sayest farewell, and lo!
I have thee by the hands,
And will not let thee go.’”

Jim Schaeffer stated, “It has been a great honor to have directed the Center for Contemporary Opera for the past ten years. I will greatly miss the excitement of bringing the works of living composers to the stage as well as the many artists, directors, conductors, and designers with whom I have had the pleasure of working with over the years. Contemporary opera is now enjoying a second renaissance in the United States and I would like to think that CCO played a key role in making that possible.”

Jim Schaeffer has served as the Center for Contemporary Opera’s General and Artistic Director since October 2008. Prior to that, from 2005 – 2008, he was director of Long Leaf Opera in Raleigh, North Carolina, the country’s only opera company dedicated to fully staged operas originally written in English. Between the two companies, Schaeffer produced and/or developed ninety operas, the overwhelming majority by living American composers.

A retired Air Force senior officer, Schaeffer served in a variety of flying, logistics and command assignments while on active duty, including command of the largest supply-chain organization in the USAF. His final assignment was as the NATO liaison officer during the siege of Sarajevo where he conveyed NATO’s positions to the warring factions and the United Nations. Following retirement, he entered the electronics industry and was senior partner of Trouvere, Inc. of Cambridge, MA, and president of Spectron Electronics, Los Angeles. He was also on the Board of Directors of Sonus Research and Design, Providence, RI and the Duke Tower Hotel, Durham, N.C.

Schaeffer holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in Human Resource Development from Webster University, St. Louis. He was a principal bassoonist of the orchestras of Virginia Beach, Montgomery, Alabama and Cambridge, England. His compositions have been performed at the American Dance Festival among other venues. For nineteen years, Schaeffer was an adjunct professor at North Carolina Wesleyan College in the departments of business and philosophy.

About the Center for Contemporary Opera
For more than three decades, the CCO has been the leading opera company devoted exclusively to the development and production of modern operas, seen in both the United States and abroad producing a remarkable body of work including staging some 59 contemporary operas including more than 15 premieres as well as 55 operas in development.

Founded in 1982 by Richard Marshall and Robert Ward, CCO continues its mission to produce and develop new opera and music-theater works; revive rarely seen American operas written after World War II; promote an interest in new operatic and music-theater culture among the public; and to produce contemporary opera outside of the United States.  The Center for Contemporary Opera has also produced seven commercial recordings, and seven European performances – the most recent in December 2016 of a Louis Andriessen double bill of Odysseus’ Women and Anaïs Nin staged in Amsterdam

Eric Salzman, CCO’s Composer-in-Residence, Dies at 84

Eric Salzman

Eric Salzman, CCO’s Composer in Residence, died suddenly of a heart attack related to dialysis on November 12, 2017. He served CCO for many years and was a wonderful human being. Our sympathies go to his wife Lorna, and daughters Eva and Stephanie.  As more details are known, we will pass them on.

Hester sold out

CCO’s reading of Hester by Richard Alan While is unfortunately sold out. We are exploring the possibility of adding a second performance and will have an announcement about that by October 2.  As always, thank you for your support.