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ABOUT THE OPERA

Cedar Rapids Opera was founded in 1998 by Dr. Daniel Kleinknecht. It is one of two professional opera companies in the state of Iowa, performing between 3 and 5 productions annually, including an elementary school outreach opera. CROpera's nationally respected Young Artist Program was developed in 2002 to enhance the opera chorus with pre-professional singers and provide emerging artists with experience working alongside seasoned professionals. In 2022, the company established the Lift Every Voice: Artist in Residency Program which places teaching artists in high schools to work with underserved students. 

The mission of Cedar Rapids Opera is to advance opera as a vital, living American art form and to develop the artists who create it, as well as the audience that appreciates and supports it.

FOUNDER & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR DANIEL KLEINKNECHT

As founder of Cedar Rapids Opera over twenty years ago, Daniel has led the company in performances of major operatic repertoire and under his leadership the company has received four consecutive National Endowment for the Arts grants, has established a nationally-recognized Young Artist Program, and has built an endowment of over $100,000. He has conducted the Long Bay Symphony, Evansville Chamber Orchestra, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, members of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Opera Illinois, Cedar Rapids Symphony, Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Singers, the Fort Dodge Symphony, and the Iowa City Community Orchestra, and several national tours of Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors. The Peoria Journal wrote,“with Kleinknecht at the podium, the sound was wonderfully hall-filling and alive with exceptional power and grace.” The Myrtle Beach Press said “what was most impressive was Kleinknecht…he controlled every aspect of the music.”

Kleinknecht has been a Conducting Fellow at the Aspen Music School and at Quebec’s Domaine Forget, and holds music degrees from Oberlin College, Indiana University, and The University of Iowa where he conducted performances of the Opera Theatre and the Center for New Music. He is listed in the International Who’s Who in Music, and has had articles published in the American Choral Review and the Choral Journal. He is also an associate professor at Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids.

STAFF

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DANIEL KLEINKNECHT
FOUNDER, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

THADDEUS ENNEN
GENERAL DIRECTOR
general.director@cropera.org

KATIE STUELKE
MARKETING & OFFICE MANAGER
marketing@cropera.org

BOARD

DAVID CAVES
PRESIDENT
Principal, Converge Legal

CONNOR GRASK
SECRETARY
Personal Lines Account Specialist, UFG

NATHAN CARTERETTE
Doctoral Student, University of Iowa, Professional Pianist

ADAM KAEFRING
Assoc. Fin. Advisor, Northwestern Mutual

 

ABIGAIL RETHWISCH
Professional Opera Singer

SUSAN WOLVERTON
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT
Professor, Theatre Arts, Coe College

SCOT BROWN
TREASURER
IT Business Systems Architect, Verizon

DAVID CHADIMA
International Sales Manager, Dexter Laundry
 

VIRGINIA MICHALICEK
Cedar Rapids Opera (Retired)

 

CHAD SONKA
Asst. Teaching Professor of Music, Iowa State

 

JONI WALLACE
VICE PRESIDENT
Director, Artificial Intelligence, Collins Aerospace

ANNA BARKER
Adjunct Assistant Professor,
University of Iowa

JENNI HUMMEL
CPA (Retired)

 

CATHIE PAYVANDI
Community Volunteer
 

KRISTEN WILCOX
Community Volunteer
 

Are you interested in serving your community through the mission and work of Cedar Rapids Opera?

We’d love to hear from you!

 

Please complete this online form to be considered for a volunteer leadership position, including Board and Committee service.

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