Diane Garton Edie

diane (at) ofty.org

Diane Garton Edie has worked with OFY since 1992 in various capacities: singer, board member, librettist, stage director, company manager and, since 1996, artistic director.

Diane's work as director, librettist and primary artistic outreach/ education coordinator has been recognized and supported locally, regionally, and on the national level. Her libretti for OFtY's hailed collection of adaptations have been enjoyed by school and family audiences throughout the upper Midwest since 1994. Diane has adapted/created libretti for The Barber of Seville, Cinderella, The Elixir of Love, The Pirates of Penzance, Orpheus Returns, The Magic Flute, Rusalka, and Hansel and Gretel. Her newest creation is an exotic retelling of Beauty and the Beast - set to make its debut in 2014. The recent publication and rental of these works now makes this uniquely accessible repertoire available to an even wider audience. Diane also oversees our summer program, Build Your Own Opera.

Diane has enjoyed a combined career in performance, play writing and directing, and arts administration. With degrees in theatre and drama from Smith College and Indiana University, her special province is out-of-the-mainstream cultural arts programming for participants and audiences from a broad age, geographic and socio-economic range. Previous projects include Creative Arts Over 60, an educational and recreational program for older adults; the International Youth Arts Festival, a performing and visual arts showcase; regional operetta/opera/musical theatre productions; and several original artist-in-residence programs. During her time at Opera for the Young, more than 1.5 million children have been introduced to opera through her work.


Dan Plummer

dan (at) ofty.org

Dan Plummer, D. Mus.A. joined the Opera for the Young administrative staff in 2007 and holds the position of General Director. 

Dan’s career in opera began on stage. He made his European debut singing at the Silesian Theatre in the Czech Republic at the age of 21. For Opera for the Young, Dan initially joined the company as a performer in their 2001 tour of The Magic Flute, and he returned for The Barber of Seville in 2006. Dan’s singing can be heard on the recording Collage (UW Press, 2001). Other singing career highlights include creating roles for world premieres in Bishop’s Esperanza and Niblock’s Ruth, as a District Finalist for the Metropolitan Opera Council Competition, and in performances with the Aspen Opera Theater and the Lyric Opera of Chicago chorus.

In 2005, Dan’s operatic career moved off stage when he joined the Madison Opera; he was Director of Community Affairs. Joining the Opera for the Young administrative staff in 2007 was a natural next step. As a performer, Dan saw the impact OFtY’s programming had on children in inspiring their love of the arts, and now as an administrator he has been a part of expanding programming with projects like Family Opera Day and Build Your Own Opera. In addition, Dan has arranged the musical scores for OFtY’s adaptations of Massenet’s Cinderella and Grétry’s Beauty and the Beast.

Dan holds a Bachelors and a Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin and a Masters with Honors from The New England Conservatory of Music. In service to the non-profit profession, he has been Board President of the Association of Fundraising Professionals; he currently chairs Madison’s National Philanthropy Day and volunteers on the Business Development Board for the Dane County Humane Society. In 2013, Dan was named one of Madison’s 40 Under 40 Executives by InBusiness Magazine.


Clinton Smith, D. Mus. A. is also Music Director of Orchestra Seattle and the Seattle Chamber Singers and Artistic Director of the St. Cloud Symphony. This season he will guest conduct Il barbieri di Siviglia for the University of Michigan Opera Theater and will return to cover performances at Santa Fe Opera. The 2012-13 season saw Clinton on the music staff of Santa Fe Opera, Juilliard Opera, Portland Opera, Kentucky Opera and Ash Lawn Opera. For six summers he worked in France, Italy and Austria as a conductor and coach with the Franco American Vocal Academy in Perigueux, the International Institute of Vocal Arts in Chiari and the Austrian American Mozart Opera Academy in Salzburg. He has also worked for San Francisco Opera’s Merola program as assistant conductor & chorus master, assistant conductor for Glimmerglass Opera and led a workshop of Minnesota Opera’s Pulitzer Prize-Winning commission Silent Night which premiered in 2011. Recently, Clinton conducted performances for Skylark Opera and prepared the chorus in workshop for Minnesota Opera’s commission Doubt by Douglas J. Cuomo. Clinton obtained his formal training at the Universities of Texas and Michigan before being engaged by Minnesota Opera as assistant/cover conductor and chorus master preparing over 20 productions and conducting main stage performances. Clinton has also been a guest conductor/coach at the National University of Taiwan, Western Ontario University, Hamline University and has lectured at St. Cloud State University and the International School Dhaka in Bangladesh.


katie (at) ofty.org

Sarah Smogoleski
Katie Butitta began her relationship with Opera for the Young as a touring performer in their 2010-11 season, and that experience led her to jump at the chance to join their adminstrative staff. She began as Tour Manager in July 2012. Her love of the arts has been ever-present, leading her to study both Music and Arts Management in her undergraduate program at UW-Green Bay, followed by a Masters in Music at UW-Madison. During her time at UW-Green Bay, she served as an intern at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts in their Marketing Department. She has performed with Madison Opera, Stoughton Opera, and the Madison Savoyards on a number of occasions, and has taught private lessons in both voice and piano through Farley’s House of Pianos in Madison. In addition to her work as Tour Manager for OFTY, she is also Associate Manager of Studio Jewelers in Madison, Wisconsin.

Sarah Smogoleski

Sarah Smogoleski joined the OFTY staff in 2008 and was the company's tour manager and until 2011 when she moved to Tucson, Arizona. We are delighted to have Sarah rejoin the staff in July 2012 as the company's Finance Manager. She will be working remotely from Arizona where her fulltime job is as an Associate Recruiter for Sunquest Information Systems, Inc.

Ms. Smogoleski has a vast knowledge and experience in working with non-profits. She was Chapter Administrator at Greater Madison Association for Fundraising Professionals and a door staff supervisor at the Wisconsin Union Theater. She also volunteered as a runner for several summer music festivals, including La Fête de Marquette and the Madison World Music Festival. Ms. Smogoleski had been an intern at the Central Wisconsin Children's Museum and tour manager for the UWSP Players, both based in Stevens Point where she earned a B.A. in arts management with a minor in music from UW - Stevens Point.



Scott Gendel, DMA (music director/composeJeffrey Sykes   PHOTO BY KATRIN TALBOTr for Build Your Own Opera) is a freelance musician whose musical activities include composingand arranging new works on commission, actingas a vocal coach and accompanist for professional opera companies and students, teaching private composition lessons, and acting as Music Director and pianist for theatrical productions. As a collaborative pianist, Dr. Gendel has performed a wide range of repertoire, including performances with the Madison Symphony Orchestra in numerous operatic productions, a benefit concert with Chicago cabaret singer Jennifer Chada, a featured performance with the UW- Madison Symphony Orchestra in Stravinsky's Petrouchka, and two recent performances on the University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Concert Series. He is staff accompanist for Madison Opera, and has worked as a rehearsal pianist for Opera North and the UW-Madison Opera program.

As a composer, Dr. Gendel's music has a wide-ranging scope, but he is particularly fond of all things vocal, having written twelve song cycles, thirteen stand-alone songs and duets, three pieces for voices and orchestra, nineteen choral works, and two operas. In 2005, he was awarded first prize in the ASCAP / Lotte Lehmann Foundation Song Cycle Competition, a juried national award in its inaugural year. That same year, he received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Composition from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with a minor in Opera Accompanying and Vocal Coaching. Dr. Gendel is currently Composer-In- Residence with the Madison Festival Choir. His composition teachers have included Stephen Dembski, Daron Hagen, and Joan Tower. Dr. Gendel has received commissions from the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Cantori, soprano Julia Faulkner, New Music New York, and numerous other performers and grant organizations.


Kelly Bremner, Ph.D. (stage director for Build Your Own Opera) is a freelance director and performer, particularly in opera and devised performance. Dr. Bremner holds advanced degrees in both music and theatre, including a Ph.D. in Theatre from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her performance training mutually includes traditional and experimental theatre techniques. Recent directorial credits include Finn's 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel, Sophocles's Electra for Pauline Oliveros's Deep Listening Space in New York and the world premiere of her very talented husband's opera, Scott Gendel's Iphigenia at Aulis in Madison, WI. She has worked as an Assistant Director at the University Opera in Madison, and at Opera North in New Hampshire. She has often assisted for the Madison Opera as well. Recent devising credits include being a member of Richard Gough's devising team for his performance of The Last Supper with the Arts Institute in Madison, and The Fruit of All Evil for the University Theatre's Open Stage program, and Across A Distance, a new play by Nick Lantz for Deaf actor and soprano. However, her favorite recent project had to be Greek to Me: A Choral Extravaganza of Mythic Proportions for the Madison Youth Choirs, where she staged close to 300 children in a devised performance. Dr. Bremner is currently a professor of Directing at Emory and Henry College in Emory, VA, and mother to two little girls, Lotte and Twyla.


Karen Brown Larimore has been the resident costumer for Opera for the Young since 2008, and is a favorite with Madison Arts organizations including Madison Opera, Madison Ballet, and Madison Savoyards, Madison Repertory Theatre, University Opera, University Theatre, Children's Theatre of Madison. She has created the designs for two world premier operas, Tight Rope and Esperanza. You might even see her work in your home as she is the designer of the original Molly, Samantha, and Kiresten doll clothes for American Girl Collection.


Tiffany Fier became OFY's Set/Prop Designer in 2008. She is a free-lance set designer, scenic artist, and props artisan. She graduated from Purdue with her MFA in scenic design. Also recently she has designed the set for Iowa State University's production of The Boys Next Door. She has worked with the Madison Repertory Theatre and the Alley Stage. Every summer she returns to her beloved American Players Theatre to work as scenic artist.

Last Updated: MARCH 16, 2013

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