Charlottesville Opera Hires New General Director!

January 22, 2019

Charlottesville, VA—The Board of Charlottesville Opera is delighted to announce it has hired David O’Dell to serve as its General Director.

The unanimous recommendation of the company’s search committee following a nationwide search led by Genovese, Vanderhoof & Associates, “David O’Dell brings precisely the mix of experience, skill, and enthusiasm we are looking for in a new leader,” observed Charlottesville Opera President Sue Ann Sarpy.

With years of experience as an arts administrator and singer, Mr. O’Dell was most recently General Director for Amarillo Opera in the Texas Panhandle, where he led the company to national prominence.

“I am honored and delighted to join Charlottesville Opera as its new General Director,” stated Mr. O’Dell. “My wife Amelia and I have had our eyes on Charlottesville and Charlottesville Opera for a very long time. The city, with its rich cultural and historical significance, has always been a favorite destination – but even more appealing is the prospect of working in a summer festival setting with a board of trustees committed to growing the company over a number of years. I look forward to leading the company into the next chapter of its already impressive history.”

Born in St. Louis, David was a singer in his early career, performing at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, The Santa Fe Opera, and the San Francisco Opera Center.

Charlottesville Opera had its origins in 1978 when a group of Charlottesville musicians began to present chamber performances at the home of President James Monroe, Ash Lawn-Highland. These performances became the Ash Lawn-Highland Opera Festival, which grew dramatically in the late 1980s and 90s with the mission of performing opera and musical theater, developing young artists and administrators, and providing educational programs.

In the summer of 2009, Ash Lawn Opera relocated its performances to The Paramount Theater, allowing the company to grow even further. In 2017, in honor of its 40th anniversary as the area’s premier opera company, Ash Lawn Opera became Charlottesville Opera, a new name reflecting the remarkable artistic transformation of the company, as well as its continued dedication to the Charlottesville community.