Leadership Intensive

Each year, the Association for Opera in Canada selects and sponsors two Canadians to participate in the OPERA America Leadership Intensive program.

The Canadian envoy joins an international cohort of delegates from the USA and Europe for a unique learning experience designed to bolster the next generation of opera leadership through capacity and career advancement opportunities.

About the program

The Leadership Intensive is a full week of seminars and networking opportunities, hosted at OPERA America’s National Opera Center in New York City. The program provides an active learning environment for addressing strategic issues in the field, building necessary skills, and fostering strong professional connections for meaningful leadership of the opera field. The program emphasizes personal development goals over organizational benefits or department-specific/administrative competencies.

Following the program, participants are prepared to apply new skills, share their learning, and demonstrate leadership that contributes to local companies and communities.

Program Dates: January 31-February 7, 2025


The Association for Opera in Canada covers all tuition fees for the selected candidates, and also provides a maximum $1,500 travel subsidy each, based on distance travelled.

Selection Process

Canadian applicants to the Leadership Intensive will be selected by a Canadian jury that will include past alumni of the program. Candidates will be assessed according to the AOC selection rubric available here: https://www.opera.ca/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/2025LIRubric-1.pdf

A short list of applicants will be offered interviews.  Decisions are final and will be announced by August 2024.

How to Apply

Applications for the 2025 Cycle will close on June 12, 2024.

Applicants to the program are strongly encouraged to contact AOC before applying to the program.  christinal@opera.ca

The application form can be found at the bottom of this page.

Leadership Intensive Alumni

  • Julie McIsaac, stage director, dramaturg, playwright/librettist – Class of 2023
  • Jennifer Szeto, Director, Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal– Class of 2023
  • Yvette Guigeno, Director of Development, Pacific Opera Victoria – Class of 2020
  • Jaime Martino, General Manager, Tapestry Opera -Class of 2019
  • Rebecca Hass, Director of Community Engagement, Pacific Opera Victoria– Class of 2019
  • Nicole Malcolm, Director of Marketing and Communications, Pacific Opera Victoria – Class of 2017
  • Robin Whiffen, General Director, Against the Grain Theatre – Class of 2017
  • Michael Blais, Director of Operations, Manitoba Opera – Class of 2016
  • Colleen Maybin, Director of Performing and Fine Arts, Douglas College – Class of 2016
  • Joe Peacock, Director of Development, McCarter Theater – Class of 2014
  • Joanna Verano, Annual Fund Manager, St. Michael School – Class of 2014
  • Michael Mori, General Director, Tapestry Opera, Class of 2013
  • Katherine Semcesen, Executive Director, Canadian Children’s Opera Company – Class of 2013
  • Ian Rye, CEO Pacific Opera Victoria – Class of 2012
  • Tom Wright, General Director Vancouver Opera – Class of 2012