Meet Our Team

Artistic Team

Nancy King

Nancy King

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Canadian soprano NANCY KING, is an active performer, teacher, guest lecturer, and chair of the Department of Music at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. In 2014, she co-founded Opera Wilmington, and serves as Artistic Director and stage director.

Dr. King holds a DMA in vocal performance from the University of Minnesota, and has performed with the NC Baroque Orchestra, Opera Wilmington, the Toronto Classical Singers, the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus, the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra, and regularly performs new music concerts with Duo Sureño and the Carolina Chamber Players. During her time at UNCW, she founded WOOP! (UNCW’s Opera Outreach Project), presenting a series of opera lectures and various outreach programs.

Dr. King is also the creative spirit behind Opera Wilmington’s Opera Camp and continues as its director

Aaron Peisner

CHORUSMASTER

Dr. Aaron Peisner has overseen the preparation of Opera Wilmington’s choruses since 2022. He serves as an Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where he conducts the concert choir, chamber choir, and opera workshop in addition to teaching. He is also the artistic director and conductor of the Cape Fear Chorale, a Wilmington-based community choir.

He holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of Maryland, a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from the Yale School of Music, and a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Wesleyan University.

During his DMA coursework, Dr. Peisner served as assistant conductor of the University of Maryland Chamber Singers, preparing the ensemble for collaborations with major orchestras and conductors.

Mark D. Sorensen

ASSISTANT ARTISTIC DIRECTOR & COSTUME DESIGNER

Mark D. Sorensen has created costumes for Broadway shows, national theatre tours, regional theatre productions, and—since 2006—for UNCW’s many theatrical productions. He joined the Opera Wilmington creative team as costume designer for The Merry Widow, our inaugural production, and has imaginatively clothed our cast members ever since.

After earning his B.F.A. in Art from the University of North Texas, Mr. Sorensen completed an M.F.A. in Costume Design and Production from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music. He is currently professor of Costume Design at UNCW.

As an assistant professor at Denison University and as an adjunct professor at The University of Cincinnati, Mr. Sorensen was actively involved with the Cincinnati Opera, the Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, and the Cincinnati Playhouse, working at all levels of costume production.

Max Lydy

SCENIC DESIGNER

Before he embarked on a university teaching career, Max Lydy worked as a scenic designer, lighting designer, and technical director for several nationally acclaimed theatre and dance companies. His portfolio includes designs for more than 350 productions, including the PBS series Dance Talks and the off-Broadway production The Diary of Anne Frank.

Mr. Lydy has created sets for Opera Wilmington’s fully staged productions, sets that provide inventive backdrops for the action and make the most of every square foot of stage space.

Mr. Lydy’s academic preparation includes a B.A. from Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne and an M.F.A. from Purdue University. In addition to his career at UNCW, he has taught at Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, The University of Southwestern Louisiana, The State University of New York at New Paltz, and The State University of New York in Stone Ridge.

Daniel Brier

MUSIC DIRECTOR & PRINCIPAL CONDUCTOR

In addition to his role with Opera Wilmington, Daniel Brier is the Resident Conductor of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. In recent seasons, he has guest conducted the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Lexington Philharmonic, Adrian Symphony Orchestra, Whiting Park Festival Orchestra, and St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic. He has also collaborated with a diverse range of artists including Bobby McFerrin, Pablo Sainz Villegas, Rachel Barton Pine, and Jennifer Frautschi.

Previously, Mr. Brier was Interim Music Director of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Music Director of the Spectrum Orchestra, Assistant Conductor for the Lexington Philharmonic, and conductor of the University of Michigan Orpheus Singers. In 2010, he received a prize for his “exceptional conducting” during the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic’s International Conducting Competition.

Nancy Podrasky Carson

CHOREOGRAPHER

Nancy Podrasky Carson currently serves as Opera Wilmington’s choreographer, creating beautiful and evocative dances for the company since its inception.

Carson received a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Performance from Northern Illinois University, and performed and choreographed with regional companies. She teaches technique, dance history, and choreography at UNCW and is a founding member, teacher, dancer, and choreographer at the Dance Cooperative. Carson is the creative force behind the popular Wilmington Dance Festival, held each spring at UNCW.

Board of Directors

Paul Albritton

Paul Albritton is retired from various positions, primarily in corporate law and management. He was involved in the formation of Opera Wilmington and has served on the Board since 2014. Currently, he serves as Treasurer. Paul says “I enjoy and appreciate the many vocal and instrumental performances by the wonderful and talented groups we are blessed to have in this area.”

Nancy King

Nancy King, Associate Professor of Music and Coordinator of Vocal Performance at University of North Carolina Wilmington, is at the heart of Opera Wilmington’s creative team. She wears many hats — all of them stylish — and can be heard frequently in performance with many Cape Fear area music ensembles.  She can find connections between opera and almost any other art form and can put together almost any kind of program with the talent in the region.

Jenny Callison

Jenny Callison, a retired communications professional, joined the Opera Wilmington board in 2015. You’ll never see her on the opera stage, but she’s a dedicated utility voice in her church choir and loves humming along to the arias she hears during broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera on Classical HQR 92.7.

Tina Langevin

Tina Langevin joined the Opera Wilmington Board in 2019. Having completed her vocal performance undergraduate voice studies at UNCW, she holds a master of music in voice performance and vocal pedagogy from East Carolina University. She also performs in a professional Wilmington cover band.

Tina made her professional opera debut as an ensemble member in Opera Wilmington’s Die Fledermaus and has also appeared in the ensembles for Don GiovanniAmahl and the Night Visitors, and La Bohéme.

Tony Elkins

Tony moved to Wilmington in 2023 and works for Meridiam Infrastructure as Vice President of Business Development, North America. He is passionate about the arts and public service and especially opera. Last year he visited Vienna, Salzburg and Prague and explored the opera houses and the birthplace of his favorite composer – Mozart. Tony also serves on the board of the Boys and Gilrs Club of Wilmington.

Cynthia L. Tarantino

Cindy, a retired CPA from New York City, moved to Sunset Beach in 2007.  She served on the board of Paws-Ability in Brunswick County and The Board of Advisors for SAVI, a sexual assault and violence prevention program in New York City. In 2022, she joined the board of Opera Wilmington.

Cindy’s initial interest in opera grew after she attended Wagner’s The Ring Cycle at the Metropolitan Opera in 1989. Since then, she has expanded her love of opera and traveled to many venues in Europe.

“I am very excited about joining the board of Opera Wilmington and leveraging my passion for the art. I want to grow our presence south of Wilmington.”

Tanya Hanano

Tanya Hanano works full-time as an Acute Care Physical Therapist at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. She joined the Opera Wilmington Board in 2016. She has completed her undergraduate degree in vocal performance at UNCW.

Tanya made her professional debut as an ensemble member in Opera Wilmington’s Rigoletto and has also appeared in the ensembles for Cosi Fan Tutte, Carmen, Die Fledermaus, and La Bohème. She was the winner of the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra’s Young Artists Competition, collegiate level, in 2018.

Mary Tyndall

Mary Tyndall is an elementary music teacher for New Hanover County Schools and an adjunct professor for Bladen Community College. She joined the Opera Wilmington Board in 2017 and continues to appear in Opera Wilmington productions as an ensemble member. She says, “My love of opera and the opportunity to share it with people of all ages is very fulfilling to me.”