Board and Staff


Wendi Kushner

Jon Nash

Colleen Halbrook
Vice President Development

Curby Conoley Tableriou
Vice President Community Program

Connee B. Sullivan
Vice President Finance and Audit

Tina Barrett, Ph.D.
Vice President Education

Rob Hagelberg
Vice President Trustees

Eva Womack
Vice President Advocacy

Stephen S. Jeffrey
Vice President Special Funds

Elisabeth Juen Waltz
Vice President Strategic Planning

James D. Green, Jr,

Michael S. Metteauer
Legal Counsel


Janice Abrams
Ernest Auerbach
Polly Barbaro
Mary Ellen Borgelt
Candice Hunter Corby
Stephen Costello
Matt Curtis
Paula Damore
Dean A. Dresser
Michael Erspamer

Jerry Gatlin
Laura Gutiérrez-Witt
Andrew Heller
David Jabour
Kevin A. Kaylakie
Jeff Kodosky
William W. Krumpack
Ann Laubach
Carol Logan

Carlos Lowenberg, Jr.
Marcy Melanson
Jane Parker
Graydon Parrish
Brian H. Powell
Jeffrey Rabkin
The Honorable Amalia Rodriguez-Mendoza
Jayanth Shreedhara

Jay B. Stewart
Hardy Thompson
David N. Tobey, Jr., M.D.
Marcia Toprac, Ph.D.
Steven Tyler
Jim Whorton
Sandra Wilkie
Cornelia Foster Wood

Advisory Trustees

Ray Benson
Thomas B. Martin
William B. Mitchell
Andrew Schwartz

Trustees Emeritus

Frederick S. Addy
Ada Anderson
James C. Armstrong
Sandy Ball
Suzannah Cox Barnebey
Philip W. Barnes
Helen Baxter
Amelia Bullock
Paul Burns, M.D.
Tana Christie
Nell Dale, Ph.D.
Harvey Evans, D.D.S.

Doyle M. Fellers
Dave Harrington
Lloyd Lochridge
Susan Lubin
Robert Mettlen, Ph.D.
The Honorable Lyndon Olson, Jr.
William B. Paddock
Robert H. Powell

Gay Ratliff
Harriet Rutland
Katharine Shields
Suzanne Shore
R. Clint Smith
Philip Spertus
Connie Webb
Catherine Wildermuth, Ph.D.

Joseph Specter, General Director


Joseph Specter is an experienced administrator who draws from a deep understanding of the arts and corporate environments, and became General Director of Austin Opera in April 2012 following a national search. Joe is a former Director of Institutional Relations at the Metropolitan Opera, where he worked on corporate sponsorships, as well as public and foundation grants.

Previously, he was a senior client service associate at the investment firm Lord Abbett, where he worked with institutional investors in the marketing and relationship management areas. A professional baritone in his early career, Joe earned an artist diploma from Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts, and is a graduate of the double-degree program between Tufts University and the New England Conservatory.

During his time as a singer, Specter performed numerous roles through his participation with regional opera houses and young artist programs around the United States

Joe Specter new color

Richard Buckley, Artistic Director


Austin Opera is extremely proud to have celebrated Richard Buckley’s 10 year anniversary during the 2013-14 Season. We wish him nothing but the best as he enters his 11th Austin Opera season.

Maestro Buckley has been heralded by critics across the world for his dynamic contributions and passionate conducting style in both the orchestral and operatic genres. His extraordinary career includes performing with the following companies:

  • Lyric Opera of Chicago
  • San Francisco Opera
  • Los Angeles Opera
  • Washington Opera
  • New York City Opera
  • Santa Fe Opera
  • Florida Grand Opera
  • Seattle Opera
  • Houston Opera
  • Opera Company of Philadelphia
  • Canadian Opera Company
  • L’Opéra de Montréal

He has also enjoyed return engagements at the following companies:

  • Royal Opera House at Covent Garden
  • Deutsche Oper Berlin
  • L’Opéra National de Paris
  • Hamburg Statsoper
  • National Theatre of Mannheim
  • Teatro Colon
  • Royal Danish Opera
  • Royal Swedish Opera
  • Göteborg Opera
  • Norwegian National Opera
  • De Nederlandse Opera
  • Teatro San Carlo Lisbon

Maestro Buckley’s engaging interpretations have been heard with some of the world’s finest orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of Chicago, St. Louis, Houston, Toronto, Utah and Seattle.

Maestro Buckley has toured with London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC Symphony and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra; conducted a gala with the Berlin Radio Symphony which was televised nationally and recorded for Koch-Schwann; and appeared with the BBC Philharmonic in the “Great Composers” series for BBC Television. He has also had guest appearances with the Prague Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Hallé Orchestra, L’Orchestre National de Lyon, Ulster Orchestra, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary Philharmonic. In addition to his many impressive guest conducting engagements, Maestro Buckley has served as the Principal Guest Conductor of the Seattle Symphony, Music Director of the Oakland Symphony and Principal Conductor of Opera Cleveland.

Maestro Buckley was Artistic Director of Austin Opera from September 2003 until July 2007. He brought national attention to this company by spearheading a city wide Shostakovich Festival in 2006, bringing new works into the repertoire including Elektra and Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and producing the American premiere of Glass’ Waiting for the Barbarians. 

In 2007, Maestro Buckley was named Principal Conductor, leading the following works with Austin Opera: Carmen, The Bat, Rigoletto, Dialogue of the Carmelites, La Boheme, L’Etoile, Hansel and Gretel, La Traviata, L’Italiana in Algeri, Flight, Magic Flute, Lucia, Turandot, Pagliacci, Marriage of Figaro, and Faust.

In addition to the above, Maestro Buckley has continued to guest conduct, performing Aida with Edmonton Opera; Fidelio with Utah Opera, Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci in Ottawa Lyric Opera;  Il Trittico with Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires; Don Carlo and Gianni Schicchi/Pagliacci with Cincinnati Opera; Rigoletto with Baltimore Opera; La Boheme with the Royal Swedish Operaand National Theater Mannheim; and Turandot for the Casals Festival.

Known for taking opera to a new level emotionally, Buckley continues to be a strong supporter of new works. He premiered Bright Sheng’s The Song of Manjun, Stephen Paulus’ The Woodlanders and The Woman at Otowi Crossing, and led the United States premiere of Aulis Sallinen’s The King Goes Forth to France. He conducted newly revised versions of Samuel Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra and Martin Levy’s Mourning Becomes Elektra as well as Ricky Ian Gordon’s Grapes of Wrath.

In January 2012, Maestro Buckley became Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, leading Austin Opera to new levels of artistic excellence. In the 2013-14 Season we were honored to celebrate his 10-year anniversary.


Austin Opera conductor Richard Buckley makes opera part of Austin’s DNA, October 2013, CultureMap Austin

Austin Opera
3009 Industrial Terrace, Suite 100
Austin, TX 78758

Offices 512.472.5927
Box Office 512.472.5992

For ticketing information:

For general information:


Eva Kuhlman
Director of Administration and Finance

Holton Johnson
Associate Director of Administration

Erin Horan
Director of Education and Administrative Coordinator


Amy Marshall
Director of Development

Angie Bonnici
Director of Individual Giving

KC Schanbaum
Development Associate

Dianne Van Hulle
Patron Services Manager


Vincent E. Herod
Technical Director

Rebecca Graham
Production Coordinator

Nyle Matsuoka
Principal Coach and Pianist

Beverly Frittelli
Orchestra Manager

Julian Reed
Chorus Master and Assistant Conductor


Mercedee Renz Hutton
Marketing and Communications Manager


Austin Opera Patron Services
512-610-7684; Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm

Long Center Box Office Hours
Monday-Friday:10 am – 6 pm
Saturday: 10 am – 4 pm
Sunday: open during scheduled performances