Richard Russell is General Director of Sarasota Opera. A former singer, he performed with the company for four seasons beginning in 1989 as an apprentice artist, studio artist, and principal. Among the roles he performed in other regional opera companies were Hoffman in The Tales of Hoffman, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, Rodolfo in La bohème, and the title role in Andrea Chenier. As a concert artist he sang the world premiere Lewis Rosengarten’s Three Poems by Arnaut Daniel for Tenor and Orchestra with the Alabama Symphony. He returned to the stage to sing Emperor Altoum in Turandot for Sarasota Opera in 2019.
After transitioning out of professional performing, he joined Citigroup’s Emerging Markets Sales and Trading group and where he was a Vice-President and Global Webmaster for eCommerce efforts across Citigroup’s over 30 emerging markets countries in Latin America, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and Africa.
In 2005 he accepted the position of Director of Marketing at Sarasota Opera. He left in 2010 to become General Director of Princeton-based Opera New Jersey, where he was in charge of both the artistic and administrative sides of the company. He returned to Sarasota in 2012 to become Executive Director. During his tenure Sarasota Opera has increased individual giving by over 50%, doubled its endowment by 80%, and completed its world-renowned Verdi Cycle. Mr. Russell managed the construction and fundraising for the new Steinwachs Artist Residences for Sarasota Opera, which encompasses 30 units housing up to 70 artists and the purchase of a 30,000 costume collection to support Sarasota Opera’s production and greatly expand its rental business.
He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in voice performance and choral conducting from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music.