Opera Parallèle Advisory Council
Cantor Roslyn Barak served Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco from 1987-2015, moving to California one year after her graduation and investiture from Hebrew Union College in New York City. Before entering the cantorate, she was a concert recitalist and opera singer, performing in the United States and in Israel, where she lived and concertized for three years. She received her Bachelors Degree at the Manhattan School of Music in New York, and was the recipient of several prestigious vocal awards and honors.
Aside from her numerous cantorial duties at Congregation Emanu-El and the Jewish Community of the Bay Area, Cantor Roslyn Barak has appeared regularly in concerts around the country and in Europe and Israel. She toured Germany in recent years in conjunction with the release of her CD “The Jewish Soul”. She is also sought after as a lecturer and scholar-in-residence. She has taught and given master classes at the Academy for Jewish Religion in Los Angeles, the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, the North American Jewish Choral Festival, Boston Hebrew College, as well as seminars at the Hebrew Union College. She was a visiting professor and vocal coach at the Geiger College in Berlin, Germany. Cantor Barak returned to school in 1994 to pursue a degree in psychology and received her M.A. in Clinical Psychology in 1996. She was honored to receive a Doctor of Music, honoris causa, from the Hebrew Union College, in 2011, for her years of service as a full-time cantor. She now enjoys Emerita status as retired clergy of Congregation Emanu-El.
She is a former Board member of the American Conference of Cantors, serving as chairperson of its Publications Committee, and she was an ACC representative to the Commission on Synagogue Music of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. She has also served on the Executive Council of the Cantorial Assembly, the professional organization of cantors of the Conservative movement. At present, she is a board member of Shalom Bayit, which aids families dealing with domestic violence issues.
Cantor Barak’s latest album release is “My Spirit Sings”, which is available on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby and Spotify.
Michael Colbruno is a partner in the Milo Group of California, a public affairs firm and managing member of Iris Outdoor. From 1999-2010, Mr. Colbruno served as Vice President of Government Affairs for Clear Channel Outdoor/Northern California. He handled all interactions with government officials at the local, state and federal level, as well as managing staff, leading development teams, implementing new digital technology strategies, procuring land use entitlements, overseeing legal and public affairs budgets, managing litigation and spearheading community outreach efforts. Prior to Clear Channel, Mr. Colbruno worked in local and state government as a legislative director and chief-of-staff in the San Francisco Mayor’s office, San Francisco Board of Supervisors and California State Legislature. He was in charge of all legislative activities and interacted between various levels of government. He handled media, staff relations, budget issues, public policy and staffed various committees, as well as serving as the liaison between the Mayor’s office and the Board of Supervisors.
He was appointed by three mayors to serve on the Oakland Planning Commission and was selected to oversee the rezoning effort in Oakland. In 2013, he was unanimously approved to serve as a member of the Oakland Port Commission. He has also served as the chair of committees overseeing water quality and public art. In the non-profit world, he has served as chair of the Chabot Space & Science Center, chair/founder of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Corporate Counsel and chair of OakPAC. He was named the “Corporate Citizen of the Year” by the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. He is currently a board member of the Merola Opera Program in San Francisco and the Berkeley Music Group, which is renovating the UC Theatre.
Steve Kesten is an attorney representing employees and businesses in wage, sex harassment and discrimination disputes since 1991.
Robert began his “behind the scenes” career in classical music in 1973 at the Canadian Opera Company and the National Arts Center in Canada after completing the Opera Production program at the University of Toronto. Upon winning an internship grant from the National Opera Institute (NEA) Robert returned to the U.S. in 1975 with assignments first in Portland and then the world-class San Francisco Opera where he became an Assistant Stage Director/Stage Manager. After returning to his native New York City to continue the same work at the Metropolitan Opera a midsummer’s day “epiphany” in Lincoln Center Plaza led him to change course and broaden his experience of the classical music field and business. He achieved this next goal at Decca (London) Records as Publicity & Artist Relations Director, at WNET13/TV (PBS) as Talent Coordinator, and at Stereo Review/Sound and Vision magazines as Classical Music Editor and Senior Contributor. Another pivotal moment occurred in 1987 when Robert was invited by a group of his music world peers, alarmed by the toll the AIDS epidemic was already taking on the performing arts community, to produce a “Music for Life” fundraising concert at Carnegie Hall. A total of three concerts raised over 4.4 million dollars for HIV/AIDS care, education and advocacy for Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) over a five-year period. Robert’s respect for the importance of the work being accomplished in the not-for-profit arena and the need for the private sector to provide financial and professional support was solidified and was to define his next chapter. With returning one day to San Francisco on his mind a six-year “pit stop” in New Mexico provided him the opportunity to join his first Board of Directors at the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, serving as President (2006-09), and also at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Robert finally returned to San Francisco in 2010 serving first on the board of Chanticleer and then Opera Parallèle in 2011 and served as President from 2013-17. In addition to his board service, Robert has consulted on governance, strategic planning, and fundraising with other organizations including American Bach Soloists and West Edge Opera. He has volunteered with Bay Area community organizations Under One Roof, Zen Hospice Project, Immune Enhancement Project, and currently Openhouse which provides housing and services to the low-income, senior LGBTQ communities. He serves on the Steering Committee for the opening ceremony of its new Community Center in September 2019 which will honor long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS. With a sense of having come full circle, Robert lives in the city with his husband of forty years Steven Spector and their dog Fargo.
Nancy Roberts has over 25 years of experience in marketing and public relations, communications, and project management for mission-driven organizations. She is a Senior Associate at Gigantic Idea Studio, a marketing/outreach agency that promotes environmental programs and behaviors for local government and non-profit clients. From 2010-2017 she consulted with the San Francisco Opera on social media and launched their Twitter account, which now has over 90,000 followers. From 2002-2015, Nancy served on the faculty of the Choral Management Institute, a program of Chorus America. Previously Nancy was Director of Marketing and PR for Chanticleer for five years. Other arts-related posts include Director of Marketing for San Jose Symphony, COO for Opera World, and Information Service Director (in charge of research and publications) for OPERA America, the international service organization for professional opera. Nancy has an M.B.A. in Sustainable Enterprise (Green MBA), from Dominican University of California, and M.A. and B.A. degrees from George Washington University.
Lawrence Siegel, JD
Lawrence Siegel is an attorney whose professional experience has focused on representing individual students with disabilities; representing and consulting regional, state, and national organizations regarding national and state law, policy, and reform of special education; special attention has been devoted to students with hearing loss. He is the author of numerous books, including The Human Right to Language, was a Fulbright Scholar Specialist in Sweden, advised Gifu University in Japan on special education law and received an honorary chair @ Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. He has been an adjunct professor at Hastings College of the Law, has testified before state and congressional committees and served 8 years on the California Special Education Advisory Commission. Along with his wife Gail, Mr. Siegel co-founded ForWords, a nonprofit organization committed to providing enriched literacy opportunities for impoverished youth in the San Rafael, California area.