Seattle Opera picks insider as director

It's official: Kelly Tweeddale is Seattle Opera's new administrative director. The appointment will be announced today by Seattle Opera's general director, Speight Jenkins, who tapped Tweeddale to succeed the highly regarded Kathy Magiera (who died Dec. 14 after a long battle with cancer).

Tweeddale, who previously has held marketing/communications posts at the Seattle Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra, has Jenkins' confidence because of "her knowledge of the arts field generally, her experience with Seattle Opera, her training by Kathy and her management skills." Tweeddale also worked closely with Magiera during the last several months, taking on some of her responsibilities.

Tweeddale joined Seattle Opera in 2000 as the company's director of marketing and communications. As marketing director, Tweeddale was responsible for the company's earned ticket revenue, marketing strategies and e-commerce initiatives, and provided oversight of the communications/public relations and ticketing functions. During the past two years, she has led the company in the upgrade of its ticketing, fund-raising, and customer-service software; served as a company representative on several of the Marion Oliver McCaw Hall planning teams, including those involving communications, signage, customer care, and retail; and successfully prepared and guided Seattle Opera's patrons for the Opera's move to its interim home, Mercer Arts Arena.

In her posts at the Seattle Symphony and Cleveland Orchestra, Tweeddale oversaw the strategic marketing campaign for Benaroya Hall and for the January 2000 reopening of Severance Hall (in Cleveland). Many of the challenges Tweeddale faced while working for those two organizations are similar to those Seattle Opera faces now as it looks forward to moving into its new performance home, Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, in August.

New opera CD

Seattle Opera's first CD for children, "The Magic Flute: A Hero's Quest," goes on sale this month (for $12.95) in Starbucks coffeehouses throughout the state and from Seattle Opera. The CD is a recording of a short opera adapted from Mozart's fairy-tale classic, "The Magic Flute," for Seattle Opera's elementary-school program. Education director Perry Lorenzo, associate director of education Carrie A. Nath and Seattle actor and arts educator Anthony Curry created the original adaptation, which has been expanded for the CD. Members of Seattle Opera's Young Artists Program perform the major roles.

The five singers on the CD — Mark Calvert (Tamino), Keith Harris (Papageno), Angela Baade (Aria/Pamina), Sarah Kleeman (Snicker/Papagena), and Sarah Mattox (Xena/Abnorma) — all performed in last season's touring production of the show. The narrator on the CD is local actress and voice-over artist Jennifer Mendelson, who also provides the character voices. Craig Kier and Claire Zick provide the accompaniment on piano and flute.

The CD concludes with selections, introduced by Lorenzo, from Sir Thomas Beecham's recording of Mozart's opera.

The packet includes an illustrated booklet with lyrics so children and parents can follow along. The CD also is available from the Seattle Opera Guild Boutique at Mercer Arts Arena. The 70-minute CD, recorded at the KING-FM studios with the technical assistance of sound engineer Bill Levey and Pedro Productions, was made possible through the opera's partnership with Starbucks.

Melinda Bargreen: