Thursday, January 6, 2022

Chelsea Opera welcomes two new Board Members, Richard Hobson and Anne Carlone Elacqua

Richard Hobson

Chelsea Opera

New York, NY – Chelsea Opera is delighted to announce the election of two new members of the Chelsea Opera board of directors, Richard Hobson and Anne Carlone Elacqua.

Richard Hobson is an accomplished baritone with a history of roles in Chelsea Opera productions, dating back to his company debut as Count Almaviva in Chelsea Opera's 2010 production of Le nozze di Figaro. Hobson has also sung for New York City Opera and had an extensive ten year tenure as an artist at the Metropolitan Opera. He is presently an Affiliate Artist at Southern University, where he teaches voice. Hobson remarked that he is thrilled to be among esteemed colleagues as a new member of Chelsea Opera's board of directors, “I look forward to exploring new avenues of growth and innovation with the board. This is a new and exciting venture for me. As I am the founder of the recently formulated Opera Southern, the resident opera company at Southern University in Baton Rouge, my association with Chelsea Opera will surely help inform Opera Southern's trajectory. I welcome the opportunity to become a part of this wonderful and much loved organization.” Director and co-founder of Chelsea Opera Leonarda Priore added, “we look forward to the many ways Richard will enhance, augment and compliment our already steadfast and gifted board. His input will elevate and expand the already good works that Chelsea Opera's board of directors continue to do and deeds brought to the table.”

Chelsea Opera (co-founded by Leonarda Priore and Lynne Hayden-Findlay) is a professional company presenting fully staged operas with chamber orchestra. The company provides an opportunity for professional singers to advance their careers while making opera affordable and accessible to a broad spectrum of the community.  Of Chelsea Opera’s sustainability, Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times noted:  “With American opera companies large and small struggling financially and a few going under, [Chelsea Opera is] a patch of encouraging news…”  Following its production of Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land, writer Jon Sobel declared: Chelsea Opera “certainly ranks as one of the country’s preeminent ‘small’ opera companies.”

Originally based in New York City, Chelsea Opera is currently expanding its productions to include Utica/Oneida County and Syracuse/Onondaga County, with regular productions planned for the area into the future. The company began bringing its annual holiday show, Bending Towards the Light . . . A Jazz Nativity by Anne Phillips, to Utica, NY in 2017, with performances dedicated to the memory of co-founder Leonarda Priore's brother Nicholas S. Priore. Later, performances were also expanded to Syracuse, NY. Chelsea Opera would continue to hold annual performances of the Jazz Nativity and other concerts in the Utica/Syracuse area. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Chelsea Opera ceased its planned productions for New York City out of safety concerns, and Oneida/Onondaga County served as a fitting second home for the company, adding additional programming in the area as soon as it was safe to do so. Priore was raised in the area, and has maintained a strong feeling of belonging to the community. Several members of Chelsea Opera's board also share a connection to Oneida county.

Formed in New York City in 2004 by singers, Leonarda Priore and Lynne Hayden-Findlay, Chelsea Opera was launched with an all-volunteer production of Suor Angelica. Initially, Priore and  Hayden-Findlay intended to produce only this one opera.  However, artist and audience response was so compelling they agreed to incorporate and obtained their IRS non-profit designation in a record eight days.  They have produced extensive standard and contemporary operas, garnering critical acclaim at each outing.

Chelsea Opera has received funding from The Baruch Foundation, The Alice M. Ditson, The Barbara Bell Cumming Foundation, The Tow Foundation, The Amphion Foundation, the H.O. Peet Foundation, the NYU Community Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
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