ROBERT NEU, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
At the helm, is newly appointed Skylark Opera Theatre Artistic Director ROBERT NEU who brings a rich experience and bold artistic vision to Skylark. “Not only does Bob bring us extensive directing and production experience,” said Ann Spencer of Skylark’s Board of Directors, “but he has also spent his career with non profit performing arts organizations and therefore brings a wealth of knowledge to us. He has always been a passionate advocate for Skylark Opera and has long been a member of our extended family.”, said Spencer. “It's a great honor to have the opportunity to now lead this organization and help it realize its full potential.”, said Neu. “ I strongly believe that Skylark Opera Theatre's legacy and future are an important part of the Twin Cities arts offerings. I am thrilled to be a part of Skylark Opera Theatre as we look towards its future. As Artistic Director, I am wholly committed to great storytelling with music based on my equal love for opera and the theatre.” Neu’s focus will bring fresh viewpoints to the traditional opera and music theater repertoire while also offering relevant new work to advance the art forms into the modern day.
Neu is well-known to Skylark Opera Theatre audiences, having directed nine productions for the company in the past nine ye ars. These have included Naughty Marietta, The Merry Widow, On the Town, Wonderful Town , The Fantasticks, Candide and last season’s Putting it Together. His production of Don Pasquale for Skylark was hailed as “a perfect opera production” and “a delight from beginning to end” by local newspaper critics. His production of The Fantasticks was judged “the most well-crafted production that Skylark has offered” and “an unqualified success” by The St. Paul Pioneer Press. In addition, Neu is well-known to Twin Cities theatre and opera audiences, having mounted numerous productions for Minnesota Orchestra, Bloomington Civic Theater, Chameleon Theater, Phipps Center for the Arts, Lyric Opera of the North and Minneapolis Fringe Festival. Also active nationally with more than 90 productions to his credit, Neu has most recently directed The Music Man and Tosca for Colorado Symphony, Florencia en el Amazonas for Emerald City Opera , The Marriage of Figaro for Bellevue Opera, and St. Matthew Passion for Central City Opera.
Heather Brands, Managing Director
With over 20 years experience in business management, Heather has held leadership positions with both Fortune 500 companies and non-profit organizations. Her area of expertise includes strategic planning, program development and general operations. She joins Skylark with a rich background in marketing and development deliverables including brand management, communications/social media, grant management and fundraising. Heather has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Minnesota and serves as an advisor and consultant to other non-profits across the state of Minnesota.
Skylark thanks its many patrons who have generously made supporting donations and also the organizations who have provided grants, including the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Target Foundation, the Twin Cities Opera Guild, and the Harlan Boss Foundation for the Arts.
This activity funded, in part, by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.