Music Director David Rohrbaugh Steps Down, Maestro Joseph Marcheso Picks Up the Baton

Opera San José today announced that David Rohrbaugh will retire as music director at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season.

Online PR News – 21-November-2013 – San Jose, CA – David Rohrbaugh will retire as music director at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season, leaving with General Manager Irene Dalis, who will also retire at the end of this season.

“Irene and I have had a remarkable partnership! My 30 years with Opera San José have presented both a challenge and a great sense of satisfaction. It’s been a long ride and we’ve accomplished so much. With Irene’s retirement, it seems that now is the right time to step down. I will cherish our experience and our relationship and will continue to be a strong advocate for OSJ.”

David Rohrbaugh, a founding member of Opera San José, has conducted more than 70 productions and more than 600 performances for the company, including last season’s Il trovatore and Die Fledermaus, as well as previous productions of La rondine, Werther, The Crucible, Un ballo in maschera, ll barbiere di Siviglia, La bohème, Carmen, Così fan tutte, L’elisir d’amore, Eugene Oñegin, Falstaff, Der fliegende Holländer, Gianni Schicchi, Lucia di Lammermoor, The Merry Widow, Madama Butterfly, The Medium, Le nozze di Figaro, Les Pêcheurs de perles, Rigoletto, Roméo et Juliette, La traviata, Suor Angelica, Faust, Tosca, and The Magic Flute.

While a professor of music at San José State University, David Rohrbaugh taught voice and, with Irene Dalis, co-directed the opera workshop program that formed the genesis of what would become Opera San José.

“Having David Rohrbaugh as music director and collaborator all these years has been a blessing. We can both be proud of the company we started. David’s knowledge and expertise combined with remarkable patience made him the perfect counterpart for me,” said General Director Irene Dalis.

Dr. Rohrbaugh worked closely with the company’s resident artists, coaching many of them in role preparation. Many have studied voice with him and have become professional singers, performing throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. In addition, he has mentored numerous assistant guest conductors.

In addition, Dr. Rohrbaugh has been on the faculties of Oberlin College and the University of Akron, where, as chair of the voice department, he developed a comprehensive opera workshop-theater program. As a baritone, Dr. Rohrbaugh has also recorded for Orion Records and the Musical Heritage Foundation. Most recently, he recorded a revival of Lou Harrison’s Scenes from Cavafy, a work originally written for him by the composer.

Taking over as music director for the company will be Joseph Marcheso. Mr. Marcheso returns this year as conductor for Hansel and Gretel, his 10th production with the company. Last season, Marcheso conducted OSJ’s production of Suor Angelica/Gianni Schicchi. Past productions he has conducted for the company include Lucia di Lammermoor, L’elisir d’amore, Carmen, Manon, La Cenerentola,
La bohème, La traviata, and Faust.

Mr. Marcheso is also on the conducting staff of San Francisco Opera where he was assigned the West Coast premiere of John Adams’s Nixon in China, the San Francisco premiere of Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick, and the world premieres of Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene and Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne, as well as a new production of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman. He has conducted Hailstork’s Joshua’s Boots for the young artists at Opera Theater of St. Louis, as well as productions for Festival Opera. Mr. Marcheso previously was also the conductor for the opera program at San Francisco Conservatory.

“It is obviously a great honor to be given this opportunity. The mission of OSJ is unique: to locate, recruit and give opportunities and support to great young singers on their path toward successful artistic careers. We also have to provide memorable theatrical experiences to our audiences that showcase the enormous range and possibilities of the art form. We have a wonderful, dedicated orchestra, a beautiful theater, and a tireless, talented staff and crew that are all devoted to these goals. I see my job as taking this one-of-a-kind of jewel that has been put into my care and polishing it so that it can be seen from coast to coast. I love this company and I will devote all my energies to fulfilling its promise.”

Said Larry Hancock, Opera San Jose general manager, “Joe Marcheso, Khori Dastoor, artistic advisor to the general director, and I have been working for several months, in cooperation with Irene Dalis, on choosing repertoire for the next two seasons. We find that we are very simpatico and solve problems in much the same way; we work well together. When David Rohrbaugh told me of his retirement plans, he and I were in agreement about music director candidates, and we also agreed as to the first choice: Joseph Marcheso. I am very pleased Joe enthusiastically agreed to accept the position, and I think both of us look forward to many seasons of excellent collaboration.”

Founded in 1984, Opera San José is unique in that it is the only resident opera company in the United States. Members of the resident company form the core of the artistic staff for mainstage productions in the California Theatre as well as educational programs for the community at large.