Friday, November 16 , 2018, 12:42 pm | Fair 67º


Opera Santa Barbara Elects New Board Officers

Joan Rutkowski is named president; other members include Nancy Golden, Simon Williams, Eric Oltmann and Mary Penny

Opera Santa Barbara has elected new officers to its Board of Directors. The officers took office July 1 and will hold office for one year.

Joan Rutkowski
Joan Rutkowski

The 2012 officers are Joan Rutkowski, president; Nancy Golden, first vice president; Simon Williams, second vice president; Eric Oltmann, treasurer; and Mary Penny, secretary.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for Opera Santa Barbara,” Rutkowski said. “The company has experienced tremendous growth and stability over the past several years, and next year we will celebrate our 20th anniversary. I look forward to continuing to strengthen our strategic initiatives in offering the highest quality opera productions, building and diversifying our audience, and increasing our fundraising capacity.”

Rutkowski joined the board in 2008 after having served as artistic administrator for Opera Santa Barbara (2000-08). She was a founding member of the Board of Directors of The Granada Theatre, and served on the boards of the Santa Barbara Symphony, the Music Academy of the West and the Ojai Music Festival. For 18 years she was executive director of the Esperia Foundation.

She had a distinguished career as an opera singer and vocal teacher/coach, and has given masterclasses in the United States, China and Taiwan. She holds a master’s degree in opera performance from USC and as a grand finalist in the San Francisco Opera auditions, was a member of the Merola Program of the San Francisco Opera.

Golden is the principal of Golden Direct, a direct-mail consulting service provider to environmental, performing arts, human services organizations and museums. Previously, she held a variety of marketing positions at Time Inc. for 21 years.

Golden is a graduate of Russell Sage College with a degree in English literature. She previously served as a board member from 1999-2002 and as a Marketing Committee member since 1999. She currently chairs the Artistic Planning Committee and serves on the Executive and Development Committees.

Williams is professor and prior chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at UCSB, where he has taught for more than 25 years. Educated in his native England, Williams holds a doctorate in European literature.

He is familiar to opera patrons as a frequent lecturer for OSB’s Opera on the Go! series and for the pre-opera talks before all OSB productions. He has served on the OSB board for the past four years, currently chairs the Education & Outreach Committee and serves on the Executive Committee.

Oltmann is a retired U.S. Navy pilot and retired environmental engineer. In addition to the opera board, he is the former president of the Ventura Music Festival. He is the chair of the Finance Committee and also serves on the Executive and Development Committees. In addition to his musical interests, he is an avid collector and has been involved in wildlife conservation.

Penny has been involved with Opera Santa Barbara’s Board of Directors since its inception, having served as vice president, treasurer and currently as secretary. She also sits on the Artistic, Development and Finance Committees, as well as chairing the Human Resources Committee.

She retired from her position as CEO of the American Red Cross, Santa Barbara County Chapter following a career of more than 35 years. She has served on numerous local and national boards, including the University Club, Woman’s Club, American Women for International Understanding, Santa Barbara Committee on Foreign Relations, American Red Cross Retiree Council and Santa Barbara Associates. She graduated from California State University with a degree in liberal arts.

— Steven Sharpe is general director of Opera Santa Barbara.

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