Introducing the Artistic Advisory Council


by Justin Werner, Founder / Artist Manager at Stratagem Artists

Hello! My name is Justin Werner and I am honored to be chairing the On Site Opera Artistic Advisory Council. As the proud founder of Stratagem Artists LLC, a boutique artist management firm based in NYC, you may recognize several of my artists who have joined On Site Opera (OSO) productions over the years (Martin Bakari, Kristen Choi, Michael Kuhn, and Jordan Rutter just to name a few!) OSO is one of the most vibrant arts organizations in New York and I am eager to help build upon the amazing foundation that the OSO Team has already established.

Having seen almost every OSO show over the last few seasons, I have learned that OSO is uniquely placed to excite new generations of opera lovers through their ability to embrace the quirks of a space to more accurately represent the world of any work they produce. While many opera companies struggle with the difficulties of immersing their audience in a production in a traditional space, this unique approach to operatic production amplifies both the experience of the artistic community involved in the creation of the show, but also succeeds in capturing a theatrical experience for the audience usually only experienced on a much larger scale and price point. When an opera is placed in a setting that serves the story, the intimacy of the experience and accessibility of each show is second to none, setting itself apart from many of the other options made available on a regular basis. Most importantly, this creates the artistic camaraderie between artist and community which is so essential for sustainable growth and success. This is the future of opera. 

OSO productions have always been incredibly effective at creating an inclusive atmosphere in which every member of the artistic team, administration, and the audience feel like they are part of the process. I know for myself, I am always more enthusiastic about attending an event if one of my clients or a close colleague is involved in the production process. Immersive opera captivates–even for the first time opera goers! Opera companies who place themselves in the core of their community aren’t just a beacon for a certain class or tax bracket. This idea of inclusive excellence–and correlating efforts to gain loyalty within the community–will be integral as opera continues to compete with Broadway jukebox musicals and reality television. I truly believe that opera will have a long and storied future as colorful and tenured as its past.

Our Artistic Advisory Council includes some of the top operatic professionals in every theatrical discipline.The enthusiasm that Eric and I received during the construction of the Advisory Council was astronomical–and the candor displayed in our first meeting has already stimulated a larger conversation, among many of our colleagues, regarding the art form at large. Our Advisory Council members look forward to contributing as a resource for the company as well as continuing to be some of OSO’s most passionate advocates. (More information on our members will be coming soon!)

I’m incredibly proud to be working with Eric, Geoff, Piper, Chris, Pooja and the rest of the OSO team. They are not only some of my favorite artistic colleagues, but honestly, some of my favorite people I work with. I look forward to meeting you all at a show soon!

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