Staff

Camille Coppola – Co-Founder, Artistic Director
Email: camille@nropera.org
Mrs. Coppola has directed all of the productions for the past 28 seasons and has been instrumental in assisting young opera singers in their careers whom are currently performing leading and comprimario roles at the Metropolitan Opera. Mrs. Coppola has been a judge for vocal competitions: Puccini Foundation, New York Vocal Artists, Inc. and Career Bridges Association and lectures on opera throughout the county. She also directed for the Altamura Center for the Performing Arts under the renowned Maestro Anton Coppola. As a soloist she has performed with the New Rochelle Opera, Westchester County Opera Association and the Performing Arts Society. She is the founder of the Queen City Sound Singers and received the Cab Calloway Lifetime Achievement Award for the Performing Arts.

Billie Tucker – Co-Founder, General Manager
Email: billie@nropera.org
Billie Tucker was the heart of the New Rochelle Public Library for 25 years, where she was hired to create a City Cultural Center at the Library in 1979. She more than accomplished her mission before her retirement in 2004, averaging at the time more than 2,400 programs and exhibits a year. Many of the programs still popular and continuing at the Library are a result of her creativity and vision. In her early pursuits to provide a broad base of cultural activities for the community, she sought to bring opera to New Rochelle, and co-founded New Rochelle Opera, Inc. with Camille Coppola in 1985, serving currently as its General Manager. Billie has been recognized for her contributions to the arts and the community with awards from numerous organizations.

Tom Coppola – Press & Marketing Director
Email: press@nropera.org
Tom’s background in press and marketing for the performing arts began with a marketing internship at Manhattan Theatre Club in 2003. Since then, Mr. Coppola has provided press and marketing for Genesius Theatre Guild, Lynx Theater Company, Village Theatre Guild and Big Noise Theatre Company. From 2012-13, Tom was the managing director for Quest Theatre Ensemble in Chicago, IL. By day, he is Senior Integrated Producer at SpotCo, one of the leading full service advertising and branding agency for live entertainment, where he has the honor of producing creative content for some of Broadway’s most notable shows and iconic NYC theatrical institutions. Tom holds a degree in Mass Communications/Public Relations from Iona College.

Board of Directors
Camille Coppola, President
Elizabeth Gillman, Vice-President
Richard Selinka, Treasurer
Landa LaMotta, Recording Secretary

Virginia Andriola
Marge Bliss
Dolly Hockemeyer
Robert Kalian
Louise Shepherd
Paulette Soffin
David Stratton
Billie Tucker

Honorary Board Members
Martina Arroyo
Tom Coppola
Mignon Dunn
Marcella Flanagan
Linda Kalian
Shirley Love
Elaine Malbin
Arthur McManus
Aprile Millo
Sherrill Milnes
Elinor Ross

Honorary Board Members (post.)
Licia Albanese
Marta Eggerth
Marion Merrill
Robert Merrill
Roberta Peters

Aida, 2008

New Rochelle Opera History

New Rochelle Opera, Inc. developed from an invitation to Camille Coppola, a vocalist from New Rochelle with a background in opera, to present a lecture on opera to students of the Immaculate Conception School in Tuckahoe, NY. Later presentations at other local schools followed. In order to add live performance to the lectures, Ms. Coppola enlisted several other professional singers and a piano accompanist to the program. The aim was to introduce and educate young people to the world of opera.

Billie Tucker, working at that time as Community Relations and Cultural Coordinator at the New Rochelle Public Library, was impressed with Camille’s knowledge and presentation. Mrs. Tucker being a lover of opera herself, it wasn’t long before Billie invited Camille to present opera highlights from La Boheme at the Library. The success of that program in the Spring of 1982 prompted a staging of highlights from Madama Butterfly in the Fall of that same year. In 1983, a production of I Pagliacci was mounted with a piano accompanying a small chorus. Ms. Coppola not only directed these presentations, but sang the leading roles as well.

It was in 1984 that the New Rochelle Public Library offered a full-length opera production, Cavalleria Rusticana, to enthusiastic audiences. In that same year, the Company revived the production twice–at the Hudson Park Bandshell in New Rochelle, NY and at Westchester Community College in Valhalla, NY.

Initially called “Camille Coppola and Company,” the troupe and the scope were clearly expanding, and a more suitable company name was necessary. Being a lifelong New Rochelle resident, Mrs. Coppola wanted to name the company for her hometown.  The Company’s new name, New Rochelle Opera, was established in 1984

A year later, the New Rochelle Opera was incorporated as a non-for-profit organization.
Soon after, the Company was given a State Charter and the Board of Directors was formed. With Mrs. Tucker’s continued support, New Rochelle Opera found a permanent performance home at the New Rochelle Public Library.

In March 1985, Mrs. Coppola produced and directed a full-length production of La Boheme with 7 leading singers and a 24-person chorus consisting of adults and children. In 1986, a small orchestra replaced the piano-only accompaniment for the Company’s production of Tosca. In 1987, a fully orchestrated, full-costumed production of Madama Butterfly was presented at the library and at Hudson Park. Although this was the last production in which Mrs. Coppola sang the leading role, she continues to direct and produce every production.

Other fully staged and authentically detailed operatic productions followed in subsequent years, including La Traviata (1988), Die Fledermaus (1989) and The Merry Widow (1990). With each production season, the scope continued to broaden, more talented singers were sought, and audience appeal grew immensely.

New Rochelle Opera continues to present recreations of the operas the Company produced in previous years, which are generally regarded as the most popular with opera audiences. The Company’s goals have remained intact and New Rochelle Opera still succeeds in what it set out to do:

  • To present opera programs to New Rochelle and the surrounding communities
  • To give young opera singers the opportunity to gain valuable experience by performing with orchestra and receive instructive characterization and direction
  • To offer high quality, classically presented opera at affordable prices, and
  • To educate young people in the field of opera through lectures, demonstrations and presentation of operas

Since 1982, New Rochelle Opera has been successful in continuously achieving these aims and goals that were developed at its infancy as a result of Mrs. Coppola’s passion, the Company’s dedicated staff, and continued support from its audiences.

NEW ROCHELLE OPERA MISSION STATEMENT

The New Rochelle Opera was formed for the purpose of presenting imaginative and appealing operatic productions to the Westchester community. It serves to create a deeper understanding and appreciation of live opera, and make it accessible and affordable to a diverse audience. The company presents the art form in various capacities–fully staged performances, concert, school programs, workshops and demonstrations–engaging aspiring young artists as well as experienced professionals.