Director of Development, Opera Lafayette

Location: Washington, DC
  • October 8, 2020

The Organization:

Opera Lafayette seeks to bring fresh interpretations of rediscovered gems and historical masterpieces from the 17th through 19th centuries to modern audiences. We seek to illuminate the contemporary relevance of the works while simultaneously highlighting their original appeal. Central to the company’s mission is building a legacy of this timeless repertoire Opera Lafayette brings back to life with period instruments. This is achieved through an extensive discography, mounting revivals, and inspiring a public appreciation for this repertoire through its audience engagement programs for audiences of all ages. 

Opera Lafayette performs its annual season in both New York City and Washington, DC. International audiences enjoy the company’s recordings of its performances. With the Naxos label, Opera Lafayette is building a legacy for these works and composers. At present, Opera Lafayette’s discography includes 12 audio recordings with two DVDs, with a third DVD scheduled to be released in 2020.

Opera Lafayette has just closed its 25th anniversary season, and the company is undertaking strategic planning led by Michael Kaiser, thanks to a generous grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

In October 2020, Opera Lafayette performs Philidor’s ?The Blacksmith? (?Le Maréchal ferrant?) at the Reddert Ranch outside Mancos, Colorado. Originally scheduled for the Mancos Opera House prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the performances are now taking place outdoors at the ranch, in front of the historic Menefee Barn and Blacksmith Shop on Echo Basin Road. Bales of hay in the meadow in front of the barn will designate the areas where each group can sit safely distanced from other audience members and at least 25 feet from the performers.

This production will be streamed on-line November 15 – 29, 2020, and ? Opera Lafayette plans to perform the production in New York City and Washington, DC when permitted and safe  This is the modern premiere of Philidor’s ?The Blacksmith?, marking the first time Opera Lafayette translates an 18th-century French ?opéra comique? to be sung and spoken in English.

Recapturing the humor and immediacy of the original, the company has adapted the story to the late19th-century American West. The translation is by ?Nick Olcott? with the adaptation by Olcott and Ryan Brown, Opera Lafayette’s founder and artistic director, from the French libretto by Françoise-Antoine Quétant.  ?Op?é?ra comique originally integrated French vaudeville songs, allowing for audience sing-alongs. Brown has woven American folk songs popular during the turn of the 19th century in America (from the Alan Lomax Collection) into this adaptation. This production bridges country and city, celebrates rural themes, and invites audience participation by joining in to sing familiar folk songs like, “The Old GreyMare,” “I Ride an Old Paint,” and “Red River Valley.”


The Position:

Opera Lafayette is seeking an experienced fund-raiser to fill the full-time position of Director of Development. The Director of Development is the Chief Development Officer for the company and is therefore responsible for the oversight, planning, and implementation of a comprehensive plan to broaden the donor base and increase overall financial support from individuals, corporations, and foundations.

The current annual operating budget is approximately $1.2 million and the current annual goal for contributed revenue is $1 million.  PatronManager is its CRM software.

Opera Lafayette’s strategic plan is to double its annual budget by the 2024/2025 season. The Director of Development is critical to the realization of this plan. To accomplish this goal, the company must expand its exposure in New York while maintaining its presence in Washington, DC with individual and institutional audiences and donors.

The Director of Development will have the opportunity to build the company’s fund-raising function, as well the as department. Additionally, career and financial growth opportunities are available to the right candidate. The candidate may be based in Washington, DC or New York City, and must be willing to travel regularly between the two cities for performances, events, and meeting. Opera Lafayette is looking for a candidate interested in growing with the company and in making a multi-year commitment to Opera Lafayette.

The Director of Development’s responsibilities include meeting annual contributed revenue targets, research and analysis,  liaison with board committees, donor solicitation, cultivation, and stewardship, and special events.



We seek an individual with 5+ years of experience in fund-raising, preferably in a cultural organization; a bachelor’s or master’s degree; and a thorough grounding in all aspects of fund-raising including major gifts, capital and annual campaigns, board development, sponsorships, patrons programs, planned giving, and event coordination.

This position requires strong interpersonal, analytical, and organizational skills, and a strategic approach to development planning.  Excellent  written/verbal communication and presentation skills.  The ability to work with committees, funders, sponsors, and individual donors is important.  A knowledge of, and passion for opera would be helpful.


Application Process:

Salary commensurate with experience.  Interested candidates are invited to submit a letter of interest, resume, salary requirements, and list of references by Friday, December 4, 2020  in confidence to:

Margaret Genovese

Senior Partner

Genovese, Vanderhoof & Associates

For more information:,

Opera Lafayette is an equal opportunity employer and seeks to employ qualified individuals based on individual merit. Opera Lafayette does not discriminate against any individual with respect to the terms and conditions of employment based on that individual’s race, sex, age, religion, color, national origin, disability, genetic information, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other non-merit factor protected under state, local or federal laws.