Opera Parallèle is an award-winning, professional, nonprofit organization that develops and performs contemporary opera. These operas are internationally acclaimed but rarely performed here. Opera Parallèle is the only organization in the Bay Area presenting fully cast and staged contemporary operas exclusively.
Susan McConkey, President
Susan McConkey is Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM), supporting the mission and operations of SFCM through business-driven technology projects and business process improvement initiatives. The technical foundation for Susan’s career was at Tandem Computers (later Compaq, then Hewlett Packard), where she held senior positions in business-critical software development. In 2005, she joined the San Francisco Opera as their first Chief Information Officer, where she led the modernization of systems and business processes and championed the use of technology and new media to reach new audiences. Prior to joining SFCM in January 2015, Susan spent two years as a Client Principal at ThoughtWorks Inc., a boutique software consulting firm. A native of Belfast, Northern Ireland and a proud resident of San Francisco, Susan has been an avid supporter of the arts in San Francisco and the Bay Area and is a strong supporter of women in technology. She also serves on the San Francisco Civic Center Community Benefit Board.
Didi Boring, Vice President
Didi Boring is an active community volunteer in San Francisco, opera lover, birder, mother, and grandmother. She has been a member of the board at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music since 1990 (Board Chair from 1994-1999) and has also volunteered with the San Francisco Symphony Foundation and the California Historical Society. She is a proud member of the San Francisco Bach Choir and sings with Berkshire Choral International every summer. She currently lives in San Francisco with her husband Dix and has 2 grown sons and 5 grandchildren. Didi and Dix enjoy traveling – especially for theater, opera, and great food! Opera Parallèle presents Didi with a new way to be engaged in her favorite art form and she feels privileged to be part of such an innovative, exciting institution.
Ines Bouvet has more than 10 years of global experience in Business Development and Marketing acquired in the financial industry (consumer finance and car leasing) and the tech industry. Her successful track record of putting in place high return on investment business models and of turning data and insights into customer-centric marketing plans include heading digital marketing for LCL, a leading French retail bank that is part of Credit Agricole Group. LCL has over 2,000 offices serving over 6 million individual customers. She was Co-founder and CEO of Prosadvisor.com, a French search engine providing customer reviews of 300,000 contractors for home construction works across France. She is fluent in English, Chinese, and French. She holds an MBA from INSEAD, a masters degree, DEA, in international economy and science from Université Paris Dauphine, and a masters degree from the Reims Management School.
Charles Charnas is a lawyer and musician with a long history of serving the causes he embraces. A native New Yorker, Charnas moved to California in 1970 with his family, where he went to Stanford, earning degrees in Comparative Literature and Economics; he then completed a law degree at UC Berkeley. After law school, he joined Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro in San Francisco, and later Cooley Godward in Palo Alto. His work with high technology issues led him in 1989 to Hewlett-Packard, where he became Acting General Counsel. Later he joined Apple Corp. as head of its corporate legal department and advising Steve Jobs on board matters. In 2009 he left Apple to pursue a long-time dream of making a jazz CD. In 2013, Tall Drink of Water was released, with an assortment of jazz standards and original composition by Charnas. His second CD, Wooden Zipper, contains five of his own compositions with Charnas on lead vocals and his co-executive producer Danny Caron on guitar.
In addition to his music and law careers, Charnas has served on several boards including Congregation Emanu-El for 10 years and SF JAZZ. He recently joined the Board of SF General Hospital Foundation and also serves on the board of California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley. His third CD, “Fashion First,” contains only jazz standards and came out in July 2017.
Debbie joined Opera Parallèle as Executive Director in February 2017.
She is the former Executive Director of the Carmel Bach Festival (CBF) where, from 2012-2016, she led the administrative and operations of the Festival. She established a strategic vision to grow CBF from a two-week summer festival in Carmel into a presenter of classical music concerts throughout the Monterey Peninsula over the course of a 12-month period. This vision was successfully achieved within four years as demonstrated by an 18% growth in local audiences and a 15% growth in sustained foundation support. In addition, Debbie led the season planning process, the curatorial direction of CBF’s Community Engagement year-round activities, and oversaw board and staff development, artist relations, fundraising, marketing, event planning, finances, and general management.
Over the past 25 years, Debbie has held executive leadership positions as Managing Director at CENTERSTAGE (the State Theater of Maryland), California Shakespeare Theater, and Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey. While at the San Francisco Symphony, she served as Volunteer Council Director overseeing the activities of 1,700 volunteers. She began her career at the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.), University of San Francisco, and Center Theatre Group of the Music Center of Los Angeles where she was responsible for volunteer event management and institutional fundraising.
She currently serves as Board Vice President of Theater Bay Area, the largest regional theater service organization in North America. She is also on the board of San Francisco Community Music Center, a 97-year old organization that provides music classes and programs to students of all ages. Debbie most recently served on the board of the Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET), the national coalition of ensembles created by and for theater practitioners. She is an immediate past Board President of the Association of California Symphony Orchestras (ACSO), the statewide service organization providing programs and services for classical music producers and presenters in California and the west coast region. Her other past board affiliations include Theatre Communications Group (the national consortium for professional nonprofit theaters in the United States), Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, California Arts Advocates, and George Soros’ Open Society Institute’s Leadership Council–based in Baltimore, MD.
Debbie’s transformative work at the Carmel Bach Festival is featured as one of thirteen case studies in “Creative Social Change: Leadership for a Healthy World”, a recent volume (Spring 2016) in the International Leadership Association Series which assembles thought leaders to reimagine leadership in building a healthy, sustainable, and equitable world.
Debbie is originally from Syosset, NY and she attended the University of Southern California, majoring in Theater, under the artistic direction of John Houseman. Her passions include traveling, wine collecting, being in the audience to support the work of arts colleagues, immersing herself in the company of big and bold thinkers, and championing the growth of the next generation of artists and arts administrators.
Carolyn Clark Beedle
Carolyn Clark Beedle brings over 25 years of leadership and strategic planning experience to her current role as General Manager, Construction Solutions Division at One Workplace. Ms. Clark Beedle has worked with Steelcase, the world’s largest commercial furniture manufacturer, managing global accounts and leading teams, and ran Global Workplace Resources for Accenture Consulting where she led the team responsible for building out 4 million square feet of office space in nearly every major city on the planet. Carolyn has experienced music and opera whenever and wherever she could. Ms. Clark Beedle has also held executive leadership roles in a number of nonprofit organizations supporting education for Native Americans and teaching children to train service dogs for people with disabilities while living in Santa Fe, NM. Ms. Clark Beedle currently serves on the Boards of the International Interior Design Association Northern California Chapter and La Madre De Los Pobres. As a 5th generation Californian and San Francisco native, Ms. Clark Beedle has a deep familiarity with Bay Area people, place, and history. She has an MA in History from the University of San Diego and a lifelong love for global travel, art, and culture. Her great appreciation for the innovative and high-quality contemporary opera efforts of Opera Parallele led Carolyn to offer support through Board participation.
Philip Goward, Treasurer
Philip Goward has over 25 years of experience in the software industry. He is a partner and founder at Smile, developer of award-winning productivity software. He is skilled in product design, management, and all phases of the software business from concept development through marketing and sales. He began his passion for opera as a student in the UK while studying for his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at the University of Manchester.
Jane Hartley was raised in the East Bay. She moved to San Francisco after college and had a brief career teaching before she became interested in apartment renovation and has bought, renovated, and managed properties in San Francisco ever since.
As a 4th grader, she attended an Opera Guild matinee at the San Francisco Opera House. As a consequence, she joined the Opera Guild Board in 1983 to be involved in their opera education programs, including introducing opera to school children. She later became President and started an endowment for opera education. Subsequently, she has served on the Boards of Opera Volunteers International, Opera America, and is currently on the Board of the San Francisco Opera.
She lives in San Francisco with her husband, David. Her two children also live in the City with her three granddaughters. Jane has traveled extensively with her husband who was formerly the Travel Editor for Sunset Magazine. She enjoys cooking, gardening, hiking, and experiencing opera around the country.
Dina Kuntz, Secretary
During her 30+ year career in business, management consulting and executive search, Dina Kuntz served a broad spectrum of organizations placing a primary focus on non- profits and in particular visual and performing arts. In 1990 she founded and became the managing principal of TRC Executive Search working with many performing arts organizations including San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Cal Performances, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chanticleer, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Montalvo Arts Center, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, San Francisco Girls Chorus and the Los Angeles Master Chorale to name a few. Earlier in her career, Dina held senior management positions in the corporate sector. During that time she served as president of San Francisco Financial Women, the board of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) California, and held professional membership in The International Alliance of Women (TIAW). She received her BFA from the University of New Mexico.
Marcia Lazer has over 40 years’ experience as a marketing and communications professional in the performing arts industry, including senior positions with the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Center Theatre Group (Ahmanson Theatre, Mark Taper Forum), and South Coast Repertory (Orange County’s Tony-Award winning theater, one of the country’s foremost producers of new plays). She also held management positions with direct marketing firms specializing in arts and entertainment, with non-profit and for-profit performing arts clients nationwide, including Disney Theatrical. As San Francisco Opera’s Director of Marketing from April 2006 through her retirement in August 2017, she was responsible for all aspects of the Company’s marketing functions including marketing and advertising strategy, subscription and single tickets sales campaigns,pricing, institutional branding, patron relations, box office, and audience development through outreach events such as the annual AT&T Park Opera at the Ballpark simulcasts. At the Met, where she worked for fourteen years (including as Marketing Director from 1981 to 1986), she was responsible for marketing the Met’s annual 30-week opera season and American Ballet Theatre’s 8-week summer season in the opera house, among many other summer presentations. She holds a master’s degree in musicology from Yale University and a bachelor’s degree in music history from Wellesley College and completed Columbia University’s Institute for Not-for-Profit Management program.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Bernice Lindstrom has been a subscriber to the San Francisco Opera for 45 years. Besides her family and friends, her greatest loves are opera and traveling. Having studied abroad at the University of Vienna where she fell in love with opera, and in Paris at the Sorbonne and the Institute for Foreign Teachers of French, she has taught high school and adult education German and later both French and German in middle school. Bernice now manages her real estate investments and travels frequently to see operas around the US and in Europe. Her daughter, Lise Lindstrom, is a professional opera singer with an active career. In recent years Bernice has become especially interested in contemporary opera. Bernice graduated from Pomona College majoring in Comparative Literature and then received her Masters in Education from Stanford.
Alice Ames Morison
Alice was born and raised on the San Francisco Peninsula. From a very early age, she knew that supporting the performing arts, and particularly opera, was where she was headed. After graduating from Dominican University, she got her advanced degree in Arts Administration at San Francisco State University and began working at San Francisco Opera as Administrator of Spring Opera Theater under the leadership of Kurt Herbert Adler. She has served on the boards of West Bay Opera and Peninsula Ballet Theatre. Alice has been a lifelong subscriber and patron of San Francisco Opera, both as a member of the Medallion Society and as a Friend of the Adler Fellowship Program for Young Singers. Alice has traveled widely and has enjoyed attending opera in foreign houses at every opportunity. She is proud to serve on the Board of Directors of Opera Parallèle and recognizes the importance of promoting and supporting contemporary opera of the highest artistic quality to the Bay Area and beyond.
Simin Naaseh serves as the CEO and President of Forell/Elsesser Engineers, a preeminent structural engineering firm in San Francisco. The firm has a strong structural design portfolio of cultural buildings such as SF Conservatory of Music, SFJazz, Berkeley Art Museum, Asian Art Museum, original SFMOMA, amongst other, as well as important public, institutional, corporate and privately-owned buildings. While building on the firm’s 58-year tradition of technical excellence and exceptional service, Simin takes a special interest in advancing the firm as one of the most innovative structural engineering firms in the nation. Simin is well recognized for her experience in seismic design and the implementation of innovative seismic protection technologies such as seismic isolation and has lectured internationally sharing her knowledge on the subject. She is very active professionally and has served as the president of the board of the Structural Engineers Association of Northern California (SEAONC). She has also served on the board of American Institute of Architects (AIA) San Francisco, and as a trustee of the California Preservation Foundation. She currently serves on the board of the Design Build Institute’s Western Pacific Region. She received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Azar Abadegan in Tabriz, Iran, and a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor. Simin is a resident of Oakland and enjoys the nature and the art scene in the Bay Area.
Nicole Paiement, DMA
Nicole Paiement (Opera Parallèle Artistic Director, Conductor, Founder) has gained an international reputation as a conductor of contemporary music and opera. Her numerous recordings include many world premiere works and she has toured extensively in the US and Asia. This past April, Paiement was awarded the American Composer’s Forum “Champion of New Music Award” for her outstanding contributions to contemporary music.
Her 2012 Dallas Opera debut conducting Peter Maxwell Davies’ 1979 thriller, The Lighthouse earned rave reviews. Subsequently, Paiement was appointed Principal Guest Conductor at The Dallas Opera. Paiement has since returned to Dallas to conduct performances of Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers, as well as the critically acclaimed and highly anticipated world premiere of Joby Talbot’s opera Everest. In Fall 2015, Paiement assumed the post of Associate Conductor for the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s Great Scott. She will return in 2017 to conduct Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw.
As Artistic Director of Opera Parallèle, Paiement has conducted many new productions, including: world premieres of Lou Harrison’s final version of Young Caesar, Dante De Silva’s commissioned opera Gesualdo, Prince of Madness (presented as a graphic opera), Luciano Chessa’s commissioned opera A Heavenly Act, and the commissioned chamber version of John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby; the West Coast premieres of John Rea’s re-orchestration of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck and Philip Glass’ Orphée; Virgil Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts; Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar; Francis Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tirésias; Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny Songspiel; the American Premieres of Adam Gorb’s Anya17 and Tarik O’Regan’s Heart of Darkness; and the San Francisco Bay Area return of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking. Under her baton, the company has performed two works this season – the premiere of the re-orchestration of Terence Blanchard’s Champion in collaboration with SFJAZZ Center and a new production of Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse.
Additionally, Paiement has been the Artistic Director of the BluePrint Project at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) where she has commissioned, premiered, and recorded works from many living American composers. At SFCM, she holds the Jean and Josette Deleage Distinguished Chair in New Music. Paiement previously served as the Director of Ensembles at the University of California – Santa Cruz (UCSC). In 2014, she was awarded the UCSC Eminent Professor Award. In 2015, she received the Edward A. Dickson Emeriti Professorship in recognition of her outstanding contributions and achievement in artistic scholarship and teaching.
Paiement is also an active guest conductor. Current guest conducting engagements include Robert Ward’s The Crucible and George Frideric Handel’s Xerxes at The Glimmerglass Festival, and coming up, Kevin Puts’ Silent Night at The Atlanta Opera, and the world premiere of Mohammed Fairouz’s The Dictator’s Wife with Washington National Opera. She will also appear this year at the Monterey Jazz Festival to conduct the world premiere of Wayne Shorter’s new commissioned work and with the OtherMinds Festival in San Francisco on a celebration of Lou Harrison’s 100th anniversary.
Nancy Petrisko currently holds the position of Development Director for the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, UC Davis. She has held major positions on both coasts with Washington Concert Opera, Washington National Opera, BlackRock Center for the Arts, Vocal Arts DC, Washington Performing Arts Society, San Francisco Performances, San Francisco Symphony, and San Francisco Opera. As a consultant, she helped a wide range of nonprofit organizations develop audiences, raise critical funding, establish important data systems, and build effective strategic alliances. For a decade, she was an adjunct professor at American University teaching courses in nonprofit management, fundraising, and financial management. She has served on funding panels throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Nancy holds an M.A. in Classics from the University of California, Santa Barbara and nonprofit executive certification from the University of San Francisco.
Jerome C. Roth
Jerry Roth, a litigation partner in the San Francisco office of Munger, Tolles & Olson, specializes in business and international litigation as well as white collar criminal defense.
Jerry is recognized by Chambers USA as a “leading lawyer” in white-collar litigation in California. He was named by Best Lawyers as the 2016 top lawyer in San Francisco for “bet-the-company” litigation.
Jerry has defended large-scale commercial disputes; securities fraud, antitrust, RICO, privacy and consumer class actions; and intellectual property cases including trade secret misappropriation and trademark matters. In the criminal arena, he has guided high-profile clients through fraud, corruption, environmental, false claims act, securities fraud, and other government investigations.
Jerry is an active member of the international litigation bar and is also an ICC-trained international arbitration lawyer. He speaks French, Spanish and Italian and works in German and Portuguese. Jerry is in the current leadership of the Paris-based Union Internationale des Avocats, the world’s oldest international law association. He has also served as co-chair of the ABA Litigation Section’s International Litigation Committee. In addition to his Harvard College and Harvard Law School degrees, Jerry holds a French-language master’s degree in law from the Université de Paris.
Jerry has an active pro bono practice. He recently served on a pro bono basis as General Counsel to the Blue-Ribbon panel set up by the San Francisco District Attorney to investigate potential bias in the San Francisco Police Department. He has submitted many amicus briefs on LGBT issues including same-sex marriage. In 2007, Jerry and other ABA members spearheaded a program to train Sudanese lawyers to represent victims of the Darfur tragedy before the International Criminal Court, and he has trained human rights lawyers in Haiti, Brazil and elsewhere around the globe.