Our Team

Staff

EB Headshot 1Erin Bregman
Founding Director (2011 – 2020) & Education Specialist

Erin (she/her/hers) is a San Francisco-based playwright, librettist, and teaching artist. Over the last ten years, she has led over 100 classes through the creation of original operas with education programs that include the San Francisco Opera, the Randall Museum, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, and the San Francisco Boy’s Chorus. Her own work has been produced around the country, including at Just Theater, Rorschach Theater, and Washington National Opera.

Education: BA, Literature

 

Danny-Clay-Little-OperaDanny Clay
Teaching Artist (2013 – present)

Danny (he/him/his) is a composer and teaching artist based in San Francisco. As a teacher, he has taught K-8 music at private schools in SF and college courses at Stanford University and San Francisco State University. As an artist, he frequently organizes collaborative pieces between young creative minds and professional artists around the country, including projects with Kronos Quartet, Eighth Blackbird, Third Coast Percussion, the People’s Music School of Chicago, MyCincinnati Youth Orchestra, 826 Valencia, and the San Francisco Girls Chorus. To learn more about Danny’s work as a composer, feel free to visit his website.

   Education: MM, Music Composition

 

Jenny Hanson smallJenny Hanson
Teaching Artist & Registrar (2013 – present)

Jenny (she/her/hers) is a flutist, teacher and freelance musician in San Francisco. She has been a teaching artist at Little Opera since 2013 and has collaborated on composing many operas with her students. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in flute performance and has performed as a member of rock bands, folk bands, hip hop groups, choirs, orchestras and classical chamber groups. In addition to her work with Little Opera, she teaches Suzuki flute from her home studio in San Francisco. Originally from Minnesota, she started an all girl punk rock band called Eufio and got her start making music with kids at summer rock band camps. She is fascinated by group improvised music and, thanks to the inspiration of her incredibly talented Little Opera colleagues, is constantly trying out new ideas on improvising music with her flute students. To learn more about Jenny’s work as a performer and instructor, feel free to visit her website.

Education: MM, Flute Performance

 

 

Ava-Harmon-Little-Opera

Ava Harmon
Intern (2020 – present)

Mezzo-soprano Ava Harmon (she/her/hers) is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Music degree at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, studying under the tutelage of mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook and coach Mai-Linh Pham. Her work with Little Opera includes event planning, social media and newsletter creation, online classroom management, and staff support. After graduating in the spring, Ava plans on studying higher education at the master’s level to hone the skills necessary to be an effective change-maker in arts education.

 

 

 

 

Eva Langleafman
Teaching Artist (2012 – present)

Eva (she/her/hers) has been a teaching artist in the Bay Area since 2005 with non-profits including LEAP, Streetside Stories, the Bay Area Children’s Theater, and Little Opera. Eva’s background is in theatre and cultural anthropology, and she’s had training in counseling psychology and drama therapy. In addition to teaching, she currently works as a freelance ghostwriter and editor, and is a local musician. Her favorite band will always be Led Zeppelin.

Education: BA, Anthropology; BA, Acting

 

 

Casi-Maggio-Kristant-Little-OperaCasi Maggio Kristant
Executive Director (2020 – present)

Casi (she/her/hers) is a Bay Area native with a passion for education of the next generation of young artists, developing inspiring curriculum and providing access to all young artists with a desire to create. Casi’s education began as a performer and she was introduced to the joy of being an educator while at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts. She has taught and collaborated with several Bay Area and Chicago Theaters including: BACT, Bailiwick Theater, Cal Shakes, StarStruck, SF Arts Education, Windy City Players and most recently held the position as the Producing Conservatory Director with Berkeley Playhouse. Casi has performed in commercial, TV, web series, voice over, drag, cabaret and internationally at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. While in Chicago, she received a Best Actress Jeff Nomination for Kate Monster in Avenue Q, originated the role of Jackie Kennedy in the musical Kennedy by Alan Jay Friedman/Leslie Bricusse and played Snow White in Boystown’s longest running musical, Snow White & the 7 Drag Queens. Her favorite role to date is spouse to Chris and mother to Wesley and Winifred.

   Education: BA in Theatre (Acting Option) CSUEB, certification from PCPA, Second City Conservatory graduate

 

 

matt headshotMatt Morgera
Outreach Coordinator & Teaching Artist (2015 – present)

Matt (he/him/his) is an actor, singer, director, choreographer, playwright and teaching artist based in the Bay Area. He has directed and/or choreographed several productions for high schools, middle schools and elementary schools in the Bay Area, New York, Massachusetts and Vancouver. Matt is entering his 4th year as the resident Drama Teacher at Prospect Sierra Elementary School and also teaches music for the youngest grades. Over the last five years, he has served many functions at Little Opera, as a Teaching Artist, Acting Coach, Outreach Coordinator and Site Director. Matt is incredibly proud to be a part of Little Opera and to contribute to the growth of our students’ creativity.

Education: BA, Theater & Dance

 

 

 

Gertrude-Stookey-Little-OperaGertrude Stookey
Assistant Teaching Artist (2018 – present)

Gertrude (she/her/hers) has been continuously involved in Little Opera since joining as a fourth-grader in the program’s second season. She was a part of five shows as a student and is now an assistant teaching artist. She credits Little Opera with nurturing her love of composing, singing, and teaching. She takes voice lessons, is a member of her school’s chamber choir, and takes part in its annual musical. Gertrude will begin her senior year of high school this fall and hopes to foster her love of music, the creative process, and teaching in the years to come.

 

 

Swerdlow-CPS photo fall 2013Susan Swerdlow
Teaching Artist (2019 – present)

Susan (she/her/hers) is thrilled to be part of the Little Opera team! A solo and choral singer, choral conductor, and music teacher, she has worked in schools as well as at the San Francisco Girls Chorus, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, SF Community Music Center, UC Berkeley Young Musicians program, and Oakland Parks and Recreation. During her long tenure as choral director at the College Preparatory School, she coached singers in 15 musicals. She also trained choruses for more than 15 West Edge Opera and Oakland Opera Theater productions.

Education: BM in Music Education, MM in Choral Conducting, teaching credential.

 

 

Suzanne-Vradelis-Little-OperaSuzanne Vradelis
Teaching Artist (2012 – present)

Suzanne (she/her/hers) brings 30 years of classroom experience to Little Opera. She is a recipient of the 2007 SF State University Alumni Award for Teacher of the Year, and 826 Valencia’s Teacher of the Month prize, and achieved Nation Board Certification. During her tenure at West Portal she wrote, directed, and produced 13 original musicals with over 1,000 students. Suzanne trained in ballet and modern dance for many years — she taught dance at Antioch college in Ohio and worked as dance director for Otrabanda Theater Company in New Orleans before coming to San Francisco.

Education: Masters in Education

 

Board

Eliza-Fox-Little-Opera

A 25-year San Francisco resident, Eliza Fox is committed to the cultural life of the city. Most recently she has worked on the Bowes Center capital campaign at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Prior, she was an executive assistant at Skidmore Owings & Merrill, LLP (SOM). For a decade she was in the Executive Offices of the San Francisco Opera during the tenure of General Director David Gockley. Her passion for vocal music was fostered during childhood as a chorister in the St. Ignatius Loyola Choir in Manhattan under the leadership of Roger Evans. She enjoys bringing music education into the lives of the next generation through Little Opera.

 

 

 

 

Frances-Lee-Little-Opera

Frances Lee (Treasurer) is a nonprofit development professional with 12 years of experience leading fundraising and communications at local and national organizations. She is currently the Director of Development at MyPath, a San Francisco based national nonprofit on a mission to power working young people of color to achieve financial security and build wealth. Frances studied music education and flute performance at the University of Southern California and California State University Los Angeles. She currently sings with the San Francisco Bach Choir.  She is excited to share her lifelong passion for music with the talented young creators and performers of Little Opera.

 

 

 

 

 

      • Elizabeth McGee — bio coming soon —

 

Joyce-Ohgi-Little-OperaJoyce Ohgi (Secretary) works as a senior user researcher/principal usability engineer whose primary goal is to make technology easier for people to use. She studied Human-Computer Interaction at Stanford (BS in Symbolic Systems), so this is a natural fit for her curious mind. Joyce hopes, as a board member, to help Little Opera grow and reach more students who want music, art and creativity in their lives.

 

 

 

 

 

Jonas-Wright-Little-Opera

Jonas Wright (President) went to work in film exhibition at US based film festivals after completing a degree in Film Studies, eventually leading to a position at the American Film Institute working with the graduate students. From there, he pivoted into the education sector where he has been since. He has also worked at the Presidio Graduate School, an MBA program, and is currently at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. After hearing about Little Opera on a local NPR station, he found the avenue he was looking for to help promote arts education, particularly opera, to younger audiences. Jonas received his BA in Film Studies at the University of Buffalo. He is currently Dean Chief Academic Officer at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

 

 

 

 

Advisory Board

Caitlin Brune
Program Officer, AdminiTrust

Paul Cello
Organization and Learning Consultant, Board President Playwrights Foundation, Producing Artistic Director of 2by4 Theatre Company

Simon Glinsky
Principal, The Glinsky Group – Management Consulting

Heath Marlow
Chair, Center for Professional Development and Performing Arts Leadership, New England Conservatory

Melissa Smolensky
Director of Communications and Marketing, Core OS

Claire Shaw
Nonprofit Organization Manager & Music Educator

Carolyn Spitz
Probono Consultant & Music Educator

Jesse Taggert
Founding Member, Dean and Trustee of the Awesome Foundation, Product Strategy/Research/Design at18f at GSA

Kaitlyn Trigger
Mobile Product Designer and Product Manager

To see what job opportunities and volunteer positions we have available, click here.