A Vibrant History. A Meaningful Mission.

A Letter from the Conductor

For seventy years, Opera Carolina has served this region with excellence on our Grand Opera performances, in our schools and throughout the community. Our commitment to enriching the lives of citizens from all walks of life is deeply rooted in the history of our company – and it’s a commitment we take seriously.

Begun in 1948 by the Charlotte Music Club, today’s Opera Carolina was formed because a handful of arts lovers decided that Opera performances would enhance the community. In the early decades of Opera Carolina, volunteers designed the sets, built costumes, sang in the chorus, filled leading roles and, of course, sold tickets and held fundraisers to support the company.

Now a fully professional company that produces Opera performances and education programs at the highest level, we never forget the legacy of the original volunteers who made this company the outstanding community resource it has become today.

Opera Carolina is rooted in the Carolinas – 90% of our company live and work right here in our region, complementing the international artists who join the resident company to perform on our mainstage. This is our home, and we view our role in this community as a public trust that demands we be transformative, creative and committed to excellence – just as our first volunteers were.

Artistic Director
& Principal Conductor

The History of Opera Carolina

Founded in 1948 by the Charlotte Music Club, Opera Carolina is the largest Opera company in the Carolinas; annually serving more than 70,000 people in North Carolina and South Carolina (excluding broadcasts); reaching an average of seventeen counties in the Carolinas each year through its Education programs, and is a source of tourism to Charlotte for main stage productions at the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. Opera Carolina is an efficient organization and has an Endowment fund of roughly $2.8mil, and an annual budget of $2.9 mil. The mission of Opera Carolina is to elevate the quality of life throughout the region’s diverse communities through the presentation of excellent Opera and Education Programs.

Board of Directors

Opera Carolina is governed by a 40-member board of directors, consisting of working professionals, arts advocates and city leaders. The Board is an indispensable asset in guiding Opera Carolina’s operations and performances. Meet the Board:

  • Officers
  • Board Members
  • Ex Officio
  • Board of Advisors
  • Endowment Board of Directors

Opera Carolina Staff

Opera Carolina’s staff is a close-knit community working in tandem with the board of directors to ensure success from an administrative and artistic standpoint. From social events and educational programs to the mainstage shows, Opera Carolina’s staff keeps it all running whether the curtain is up or down.

James Meena

Artistic Director


Beth Hansen

Executive Director


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Ashley Johnson Lam

Director of Education & Community Programs

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Olivia Beaver

Education Coordinator

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Vanessa Thorne, CPA

Chief Financial & Operating Officer

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Tina Katis

Accounting Manager

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Megan Miller

Director of Marketing

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Jeanna Burch

Customer Service and Marketing Associate



Alina MacNichol

Director of Community Engagement & Customer Service

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Gail Garvin

Customer Service Manager & Development Assistant


Emily Jarrell Urbanek

Director of Music Preparation


Michael Baumgarten

Director of Production/Resident Lighting and Video Designer

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Wilbert Ferguson

Technical Director


Jay Graves

Assistant Technical Director & Properties Manager


Betsy Blackmore

Costume Supervisor


Join the Cast!

Experience the excitement of the Opera from on stage! Become a part of Opera Carolina’s unique and engaging productions by joining the Opera Carolina Chorus Association or the cast of Supernumeraries.

Auditions are held as needed. Please check this page for announcements regarding current audition postings.

Employment opportunities are also announced on this page. It is the policy of Opera Carolina not to discriminate on the basis of sex, race, age, creed, religion, national origin, disability status, veteran status or sexual orientation in its education programs, activities or employment practices.


James Meena
Artistic Director
Opera Carolina
1600 Elizabeth Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28204

Additional Information

Here at Opera Carolina, we value your feedback and communication. Please reach out to share your thoughts or concerns – any time!