Donor Profile: Fred Heiman

by Carolle Carter

heimanFred Heiman, current Opera San José Board of Trustees member, reminisced: “I grew up in New York with jazz and classical music, playing the trumpet professionally, but had no exposure to the opera until about 10 years ago, when a good friend took my wife Peggy and I to Opera San José.   I have been a fan of the art form ever since, attending about 15 performances each year.”

Fred chairs the Board’s Nominating Committee and is an active member of the Long Range Planning Committee. “In founding Opera San José as a resident artist company, Irene Dalis created a Bay Area treasure.  Its performances are artistically outstanding and as satisfying as those performed by San Francisco and other big companies.  As Ms. Dalis often notes: We don’t import stars, we export stars.”

When asked about his favorite operas, Fred notes: “Being fairly new to opera, I love traditional works.  OSJ’s productions of Puccini’s Tosca, Mozart’s Idomeneo and, recently, Verdi’s Falstaff are high on my list.  One opera I’d like to see performed by Opera San José is Donizetti’s The Daughter Of The Regiment.”

Fred has been an avid SCUBA diver and videographer since 1988.  In 1995, he formed Globe Video Productions for the purpose of producing wildlife films for educational purposes.   Since then, he and Peggy have shot and produced more than 25 films, which are presented at schools, photographic societies, international film festivals, travel associations and non-profit organizations.

He provides pro-bono editing services to WildAid, a global conservation organization, and recently produced two documentaries, which aired on airport kiosks and on many flights throughout China.  His underwater footage of humpback whales was featured in the National Geographic Television documentary “Humpback Whales Of Tonga” and his footage of sharks mating appeared in “Sharks Of The Golden Triangle,” which aired on Discovery Channel.

Now, however, much of their videography is done in the California Theatre.  They film portions of every opera, producing web videos, promotional DVDs, TV commercials and movie theater commercials, which air on KQED and in local CinéArts theaters.  “This is a terrific venue for recording.  The acoustics are great, allowing me to obtain excellent sound from one stereo microphone set in the middle of the orchestra.”

Fred works closely with the marketing department to both analyze ticket sales and to promote Opera San José.  “These are tough times for all the arts and I am constantly looking for ways to bring new subscribers to OSJ.   I sense a new energy in the board and feel very comfortable in the direction we are taking,” he said.

Fred received a Ph.D. in Solid State Physics from Princeton University in 1964 and enjoyed a successful high-tech career until his retirement in 1999.  He is a Fellow of the Institute Of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and a Fellow of the Franklin Institute.