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Meet the company

Opera San José is an opera company located in the heart of Silicon Valley. Maintaining a resident company of artists, OSJ presents four mainstage productions annually in San Jose’s historic California Theatre, while regularly broadcasting fully-produced productions from its state-of-the-art Heiman Digital Media Studio. Entering its 38th season, OSJ specializes in role debuts, serving as an artistic incubator for established and emerging artists alike, producing world-class operatic performances for diverse audiences throughout the Bay Area and around the globe.

Shawna Lucey, Incoming OSJ General Director

General Director & CEO Shawna Lucey

Shawna Lucey is an American theater and opera director based in New York City. She completed her undergraduate degrees in Theater (BA) & Italian (BA) at the University of Texas at Austin. After working in the Barnard and Columbia Theater department as well as at the world-famous Bread and Puppet Theater, she moved to Russia in order to pursue a Master’s degree.

Her first project in Moscow, directing and designing a puppet version of Primo Levi’s If This is a Man, performed at the Moscow Art Theater and toured within Russia. During her five years in Russia, Shawna pursued work with theater institutions while completing her MFA in Directing & Movement from the Boris Schukin Theatre Institute of the Vakhtangov Theater in Moscow. She studied with Andrei Droznin, Sergei Zemtsov, and Igor Zolotovitski, covering the history of Russian theater training, including the techniques of Vsevolod Meyerhold, Evgeny Vakhtangov, Konstantin Stanislavski, and Michael Chekhov. At the Schukin Institute, which offers a unique system of training for actors, Shawna studied biomechanics, Stanislavski’s theories of physical action, fencing, rhythmics, directing, and dance.

During her time at the Schukin Institute, she gained access to some of the best theater training in the world. As the only American (and sole foreigner) in a class of Russians, Shawna knows firsthand the mastery of the Russian theater tradition. The foundation of her directing stems from this heritage while incorporating multi-disciplinary traditions of dance, music and puppetry.

Shawna has since worked at the Santa Fe Opera, Houston Grand Opera, The Gran Teatre del Liceu, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Bolshoi Theater and Schauspiel Hannover. She has assisted esteemed directors, including Stephen Lawless, Lee Blakeley, John Caird, Peter Schumann and Francesca Zambello.

Upcoming directing projects include a new production of Tosca for the San Francisco Opera, Falstaff at Dallas Opera and Pearl Fishers at the Santa Fe Opera.

More information is available at

Music Director Joseph Marcheso

Joseph Marcheso is the Music Director and Principal Conductor of Opera San José where he has led the Company in over 25 productions. Since his appointment in 2014, Mo. Marcheso has dedicated his career to raising the Company’s artistic stature and reputation in partnership with longtime principal collaborator Khori Dastoor. Mo. Marcheso’s musical leadership has been an essential element in elevating Opera San José to a nationally recognized company by raising the orchestra to newfound prominence through a series of high-profile, critically acclaimed productions, among them the world premiere of Mark Weiser’s Where Angels Fear to Tread, the West Coast premiere of Puts’ and Campbell’s Silent Night and a new co-production of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s Moby-Dick. This fall, Mo. Marcheso will lead the company’s return to in-person performances at the California Theatre with both a new production of Dido & Aeneas, and the long awaited return of Carmen.

Marcheso’s commitment to education and expansion of opportunity – as well as to the originating mission of Opera San José– led to his creation of the position of Resident Conductor. This initiative, which gives emerging professionals the opportunity to conduct rehearsals and performances of a full season of operas while working alongside a variety of conductors and artists, has become the most comprehensive professional opera conducting program in the United States.

Mo. Marcheso also serves on the conducting staff of the San Francisco Opera, and has collaborated with many of the world’s leading conductors and singers on works that are their specialty. He has covered and rehearsed among other operas, Der Ring, Die Meistersinger (Wagner) Elektra (Strauss), Les Troyens (Berlioz), Billy Budd (Britten), Nixon in China (Adams) and Jenufa (Janacek) as well as the world premieres of The Gospel of Mary Magdalene (Adamo), Dolores Claiborne, (Picker), Dream of the Red Chamber (Sheng) and Girls of the Golden West (Adams)

Mr. Marcheso is a graduate of Dartmouth College and a resident of Berkeley, California where he lives with his beloved husband and 2 year old son. Special subjects include Winnie the Pooh and the Real Housewives of NYC, Beverly Hills and Atlanta.

More information is available at


Opera San José is a professional opera company located in the heart of Silicon Valley. Singular in the United States, Opera San José maintains a resident company of principal artists serving as an incubator for emerging operatic talent. Opera San José presents mainstage productions and concerts, and maintains extensive educational programs for the community at large. Most recently, the company has developed the Heiman Digital Media Studio and Initiative. This fully outfitted media lab allows for a new programming arm of the company to produced and design works specifically for digital capture.

Board of Trustees

Phyllis Bismanovsky

Mimi Carlson

George Crow

Earned Income
Committee Chair
Jane Decker

Julie Edgcomb


Treasurer, Finance Committee Chair
Charles F. Hanes

Peggy Heiman

John Heineke

Jennifer A.R. Hsu

N. Eric Jorgensen


Contributed Income Committee Chair
Michael H. Kalkstein

Larry Kern

Cathy R. Lazarus

General Director & CEO
Shawna Lucey

Jeanne McCann

Pravesh Mehra

Gillian Moran

Audit Chair
Dr. H. Andrea Neves

Interested in serving on Opera San José’s board?
Email to learn more.


General Director & CEO Shawna Lucey

Music Director Joseph Marcheso


Managing Director, Artistic Operations
Monica Thakkar

Head of Music Staff
Veronika Agranov-Dafoe

Artistic Projects Administrator
Andrew Elsesser

Production Assistant & Assistant Stage Manager
Grace Owens

Orchestra Personnel Manager
Evan Kahn

Orchestra Librarian
Jay Stebley

Rehearsal Pianists
Veronika Agranov-Dafoe
Victoria Lington


Managing Director of Institutional Advancement
Claire Padien-Havens

Director of Advancement
Tom Mulder

Fundraising Operations Manager
Paige Sweetins

Interim Director of Marketing & Communications
Pamela Sevilla


Managing Director, Finance & Administration
James Williams

Administration & Patron Services Manager
Catherine Wagner

Mike Monje

IT Administrator
Bill Orrach


Patron Services Manager
Kristina Miller

Patron Services Representative
Johnny Villar

Patron Services Representative
Jasmine Aurora Sandoval


Technical Director
John Draginoff

Costume Director
Alyssa Oania

Assistant Technical Director
Matthew Vandercook

Properties Master
Lori Scheper-Kesel

Scene Shop Supervisor
Chris Kesel

Orchestra Members

First Violin

Cynthia Baehr-Williams

Assistant Concertmaster
Rochelle Nguyen

Matthew Szemela

Valerie Tisdel

Chính Lê 

Virginia Smedberg

Second Violin

Claudia Bloom

Assistant Principal
Ellen Flanagan

Susan Stein

Shin Sue-mi

Elizabeth Corner

Sergi Goldman-Hull


Chad Kaltinger

Assistant Principal
Janet Doughty

Melinda Rayne

Ivo Bokulic


Evan Kahn

Assistant Principal
Isaac Pastor-Chermak

Paul Hale


Andy Butler

Assistant Principal
William Everett


James Blanchard

Mary Hargrove


Mary Hargrove


Patricia Emerson Mitchell

Pamela Hakl Economos


Mark Brandenburg

James Pytko


Debbie Kramer

Carolyn Lockhart

French Horn

Meredith Brown

Eric Achen

Caitlyn Smith Franklin


Bill Harvey

John Freeman


Katie Curran

Bruce Chrisp

Bass Trombone

CL Behrens


Karen Thielen



Board of Friends of OSJ

Bonnie Williams

Vice President
Marilyn Sefchovich

Barbara Brosh

Sheryl Kelly

Recruitment and Development
Jeanne Lyons

Newsletter Editor
Meera Prahlad

Linda Riebel

Suzanne Sarro

Joyce Scott

Cultural Outings
Jim Stauffer

Nancy Valencia

Opera at your Doorstep
Brad Wade

Interested in volunteering with the Friends of Opera San José?

Emeritus Council

Richard Dorsay

Frank Fiscalini

Glen Gould

Rita Horiguchi

Lee Rosen

Don Schmidek

Jerry Seelig

Jan Telesky

Melody Walsh

Laurie Warner

Dick Whitney


As Opera San José is a non-profit organization, we publicly publish our annual financial reports on a rolling basis.


Read the latest press coverage of Opera San José, including features and reviews.