ABOUT THE OPERA

Founded in 1998 by Dr. Daniel Kleinknecht, Cedar Rapids Opera presents two to three operas each season for over 7,000 audience members and community school students, as well as special events. An Opera America member, the company typically features American artists in its productions. CROpera's Young Artist Program, active since 2003, offers college and university-educated students of vocal performance, a paid opportunity to understudy principal roles, sing comprimario roles, and perform in the opera chorus of mainstage operas, as well as participate in school outreach productions and annual summer operettas/musicals.

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

DANIEL KLEINKNECHT
FOUNDER, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

ASHLEY PIRSIG SHIELDS
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

KATIE COLLETTA
MARKETING & COMPANY MANAGER

BOARD

DAVID CAVES
PRESIDENT
Shareholder, Bradley & Riley PC

CONNOR GRASK
CO-SECRETARY
Personal Lines Account Specialist, UFG

JESSICA ALTFILLISCH
Executive Director, Harmony School of Music

JENNI HUMMEL
CPA (Retired)

PAUL SCHNEIDER
Radiologist, RCI

DANIELLE TARNOWSKI
Wealth Management Personal Trust Manager, US Bank

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

CATHIE PAYVANDI
CO-SECRETARY
Community Volunteer

SCOT BROWN
IT Business Systems Architect, Verizon

KATHLEEN A. KLEIMAN
Member, Simmons Perrine Moyer Bergman

CHAD SONKA
Asst. Teaching Professor of Music, Iowa State

GAIL WILLIAMS
Collins Aerospace (Retired)

VIRGINIA MICHALICEK
VICE PRESIDENT
Community Volunteer

KRISTEN WILCOX
TREASURER
Attorney

NANCY HILL COBB
Professor Emerita, University of Northern Iowa

THIES KOLLN
Partner, AAVIN Private Equity

BRYAN STOBB
Senior Wealth Advisor, BerganKDV