Anchorage, Alaska: Anchorage Opera (AO) Board of Trustees has announced Ben Robinson as the company’s new General Director following Reed W. Smith’s retirement at the end of the 2022-23 Celebrating 60 Season.
Originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, Robinson brings a wealth of experience to AO having served as the Artistic Director of Raylynmor Opera (New Hampshire) and Opera Ithaca (New York), the Interim Artistic and Executive Director of Opera Steamboat, and the Managing Director of Lyric Fest, Philadelphia’s art song concert series. His talents also extend to acclaimed stage and film direction, with his work highlighted by new productions for which he also wrote new English libretti: Madame Butterfly, Macbeth, Hansel and Gretel, The Barber of Seville, Die Fledermaus, Bastien and Bastienne, The Impresario, La Cenerentola, Orpheus in the Underworld and Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillon. Robinson’s recent projects include a soap-opera-inspired Così fan tutte with Cedar Rapids Opera, a new production of Nabucco for the inaugural Opera Ithaca Festival, a fashion world inspired production of La Cenerentola for Salt Marsh Opera, Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Ithaca, and the world premiere of Sally Lamb McCune’s We Wear the Sea Like a Coat with Ithaca College. Robinson’s “moving, visually daring” (Opera News) film production of Hansel and Gretel featured his English translation which was cited for how its “amusing new lines so perfectly match the music that you can’t imagine how the original German must have fit.” The film will be included in the Opera Philadelphia streaming lineup in February 2023. Other projects for Robinson this season include productions of The Impresario and The Pirates of Penzance for Ithaca College, Hänsel und Gretel with Temple University, Orpheus in the Underworld with Raylynmor Opera, L’italiana in Algeri with St. Petersburg Opera, and Gianni Schicchi with Opera Steamboat.
AO Board of Trustees President Justin Mills commented, “The pool of candidates from across the US and Europe reviewed to fill the position was very strong, but Ben stood out. His experience as an administrator and artist, and his energy and passion for the artform and for Anchorage Opera is outstanding. We look forward to working with Ben in this new chapter of our company’s history.”
No stranger to Anchorage audiences, Robinson is also a fan favorite on stage, having appeared in AO productions of South Pacific, Macbeth, Tosca, The Pirates of Penzance, and The Magic Flute.
“The opportunity to lead a company with the legacy and artistic footprint of Anchorage Opera has been a career-long ambition,” said Robinson. “I’m looking forward to making a home with a company that always made me feel like a member of the family.”
Robinson will move to Anchorage with his husband, bass-baritone, Michael Scarcelle, also well-known and beloved by Anchorage audiences, and their dog, Debbie.
Anchorage Opera is one of the largest producers of the performing arts in Alaska and the first opera company in North America founded in the circumpolar North in 1962. For additional information contact Judy Berry, Marketing & Development Director or visit anchorageopera.org.