A B O U T
T H E N A M E
First, let's address the elephant on the website. Yes, that’s my name. No, we’re not related. No, I’ve never met him but I have met four other men named Michael Bolton. Yes, I cut my hair, but so did he in the mid-90s. Yes, I have seen Office Space. If you don’t know of whom I speak, visit this. If you hadn't guessed, yes, I can be self-deprecating.
M Y S T O R Y
My life changed in my late teens when I was exposed to opera through a quartet of defining experiences: the film Amadeus (1984) was released and I lost my breath hearing the Queen of the Night aria for the first time; I saw the film A Room with a View (1985) which had a generous dose of Puccini sung by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa; a high school opera assembly program had me gasping for my breath again, and the Metropolitan Opera telecast of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (1985) cemented my love of opera.
In 1987 I saw my very first live opera in the Academy of Music in Philadelphia: Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov starring Paata Burchuladze and Mignon Dunn. Little could I imagine that 20 years later I would be speaking to audiences of 500 and more in the very same space or that over 65,000 people would hear me lecture on opera and vocal music in Philadelphia, New York, Cincinnati, and beyond.
In the interim, I went to Temple University as a vocal performance major, was a classical music buyer for Tower Records at three of their Philadelphia-area stores, and worked in radio for over a decade – currently moonlighting on the air at WRTI 90.1 FM in Philadelphia
In 2001 I joined the staff at Opera Philadelphia managing a telemarketing campaign. I’ve worn a lot of different hats there. The bulk of my time there has been spent on the exec team heading the community initiatives department. In that role, I created a wide variety of programs which you can read about here. You may be familiar with the Random Act of Culture I organized in which 750 singers performed "Hallelujah" from Handel's Messiah at the Wanamker Organ in Philadelphia.
Still, the project that meant the most was Hip H’opera, an afterschool self-expression program I did with Tarana Burke and Valerie Gay at Art Sanctuary that introduced and empowered students from four Philadelphia schools through a wide variety of artistic media. This program culminated in the creation of a new opera, We Shall Not Be Moved, by composer Daniel Bernard Roumain, librettist Marc Bamuth Joseph, with director Bill T. Jones.
I began giving lectures on opera at Opera Philadelphia and have been fortunate to have been invited to speak before a wide variety of organizations, including African American Museum in Philadelphia, Cincinnati Opera, Curtis Institute of Music, The Metropolitan Opera Guild, The Philadelphia Orchestra, University of Pennsylvania, among many others. I love talking about opera and vocal music, sharing my passion for these great works, and helping audiences discover themselves in each work.
VISIT THIS PAGE for a list of some of my lectures to see how I might be a fit for your organization and to review samples of my work.
My husband and I live in the Philadelphia suburbs with our two dogs. We share our lives with an intellectually and physically disabled gentleman through a LifeSharing program. He joined us over 10 years ago and made us a family. We are wonderfully thankful and infinitely blessed that we share our lives with each other. It was the best decision we've ever made in our lives.
I'm always looking for new and exciting opportunities. Let's connect.