Box Office Manager, Laurel Bennett
727-823-2040 ext. 1
Arts and Development Associate, Susan Hellman Spatafora
727-823-2040 ext. 2
Artistic Administrator, Michael Roberts
727-823-2040 ext. 3
Production Coordinator, Karl W. Hesser
727-823-2040 ext. 4
Chief Financial Officer, Nancy J. Preis
727-823-2040 ext. 4
Executive and Artistic Director, Mark Sforzini
727-823-2040 ext. 5
Marketing, Nancy J. Preis
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Board President – Belinda Dumont
Vice President – Diane Bailey Morton
Treasurer – Dr. Nancy J. Preis
Secretary – Irene Athos
J. Richard Caldwell, Jr.
Lee D. Davisson
Mirella Cimato Smith
Norman R. Smith
A modern-day Renaissance man, Mark Sforzini is currently the Artistic and Executive Director of the St. Petersburg Opera and Music Director of the Tampa Bay Symphony. Since 2005, he has conducted more than forty fully staged operatic and theatrical productions around the country to high critical acclaim: “Sforzini’s supple conducting of the orchestra provided perfect support, not only for the singers but also for the unfolding drama. The overture was crisp and expressive, as well.” (St. Petersburg Times, Jim Harper). “Conductor Mark Sforzini blends 31 musicians and instruments into a single wave of music that can rush over you or gently flow, invisibly manipulating mood and scene, bringing out the best in the cast. You could go just for the music and not be disappointed.” (Ash Lawn Opera, Fiddler on the Roof – The Daily Progress, Clare Aukofer)
Sforzini conducts a full range of repertoire: orchestral, chamber, and pops, in addition to Broadway and opera. He has appeared as guest conductor with groups such as Ash Lawn Opera, Crested Butte Mountain Theater and Auburn Symphony Orchestra and locally with Sunstate Opera, Northside Baptist Church, University of South Florida as well as serving as conductor of the Pinellas Youth Symphony from 1999 – 2002 and FloriMezzo from 2002 – 2008. Prior to establishing his conducting career, Sforzini was principal bassoon of the Florida Orchestra for fifteen seasons. He played eleven seasons as principal bassoon at the Crested Butte Music Festival where he was also the Composer-in-Residence in 2003 and many more of his compositions have been commissioned and premiered in years since. He has premiered a number of new compositions as both bassoonist and conductor, and is in demand for coaching singers, composers and instrumentalists.
His compositions have been performed by the Florida Orchestra, Omaha Symphony, Sarasota Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, Alabama Symphony, Brevard Symphony, and Tampa Bay Symphony, as well as heard at the Eastern Music Festival, the Chautauqua Institution, the Toledo Symphony chamber concerts, Crested Butte, and in the Palladium Encore Series in St. Petersburg, of which Sforzini was Artistic Director for several years. His works were also featured at the University of Tampa when he was Composer-in-Residence in 2011.
Over the course of his career, Sforzini has taught at the Sewanee Summer Music Center and Kinhaven Music School as well as an adjunct at Florida College and St. Petersburg College. He has given master classes at Rice University (Shepherd School of Music), Florida State University, St. Petersburg College, University of Tampa and frequently at St. Petersburg Opera as part of that organization’s Emerging Artists Program. He has served as an adjudicator for the Altamura/Caruso International Voice Competition, Walker’s Rising Stars and Florida Suncoast Opera Guild as well as a panelist for Voice Experience.
His stage directing credits include SPO’s 2011 production of Die Fledermaus,The Medium (2013) and Neapolitan Festival (2014).
Sforzini was recently chosen by Musical America as one of thirty international industry professionals as a “Profile in Courage”. These top industry leaders have “taken a risk, spoken out where others were silent – all to the measurable benefit of their arts organizations and the field.”
Chief Financial Officer: Nancy Preis
A Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in accounting and finance, Nancy was an associate professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Business and was an investment banker in New York. She is currently Chief Executive Officer of Sensor Systems, L.L.C., Fisher Electric Technology, and Motor Magnetics Inc. She serves on the board of the St. Petersburg Opera Co. and The Florida Orchestra and was previously on the board of Bayfront Health Foundation. She is managing trustee of the Baumker Charitable Foundation. She created the speakers bureau for Sunken Gardens and was a tour guide there for over ten years. She won the 2011 Cultural Award from the Florida Suncoast Opera Guild and has been recognized by Leadership St. Pete for her volunteer activities.
Arts & Development Associate: Susan Hellman Spatafora
Susan Hellman Spatafora divides her time between her arts administration and development career, and her performing career as an operatic soprano. She has a strong background in grants administration, having previously worked in New York City for Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, GHS Philanthropy Management and The Paul Klebnikov Fund, among others. Ms. Spatafora has performed several roles with the St. Petersburg Opera, most recently Susannah in Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah, Mimì in Seasonal Sparkle 2011 and 2012, and Micaëla in Carmen. Known for her winning interpretations of Puccini’s soprano heroines, Ms. Hellman has performed Mimì in La Bohème with Palm Beach Opera, Sarasota Opera, as well as Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly with Central City Opera. She has received awards in the Palm Beach Opera Competition and Florida Grand Opera YPO Competition. Ms. Spatafora received her Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University, and Master’s degree from the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati.
Contact Susan Hellman Spatafora, Arts & Development Associate, at email@example.com
Artistic Administrator: Michael Roberts
Contact Michael Roberts, Artistic Administrator, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Box Office Manager: Laurel Bennett
Laurel Bennett has years of experience in customer service, and her impressive organizational and computer skills are at your service. Laurel was born and raised in Minnesota and holds a B.A. in music from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. She received a Master’s in Performing Arts Administration from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Laurel is a founding member of the Tampa Bay Symphony, where she is a member of the clarinet section and also creates their concert programs and print materials. She maintains a private teaching studio in Palm Harbor, working with middle school and high school clarinetists and is also an active church musician on clarinet, recorder, hand-bells and voice.
Laurel is here to assist you with all your St. Petersburg Opera ticketing needs, and is eager to get to know you better! Contact Laurel Bennett for Box Office assistance by calling 727-823-2040 or via email at email@example.com