GRETHE BARRETT HOLBY - Executive & Artistic Director
A driving force in new American Opera for over 25 years, Grethe Barrett Holby works in multiple artistic dimensions. Her background and skills in theatre and storytelling, dance and movement, and architecture and visual design combine to compelling results in every one of her artistic endeavors.
Holby is a visionary. She launched the groundbreaking organizations American Opera Projects in 1988, which she led for 13 years, and Ardea Arts/Family Opera Initiative in 1995, which she continues to lead. With these initiatives, Holby has changed the way the general public views opera, by engaging new audiences of all ages to the art form, often in unexpected settings.
Holby has collaborated with the artists Leonard Bernstein, Placido Domingo, Lou Reed, Kitty Brazelton, and many more, in venues from The Kennedy Center and La Scala to The Flea Theater. She has directed Faust for opera companies in Philadelphia, Indianapolis, and Memphis; La Traviata in North Carolina, and most recently John Cage's Europera 5 and the American staged premiere of Erik Satie's Socrate for Center for Contemporary Opera (CCO). Holby has served as resident choreographer of the Houston Grand Opera, choreographing Turandot, Wozzeck, and Dido and Aeneas, among others. She has also choreographed productions for Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and Michigan Opera Theater. She began her performing career dancing for the minimalist Laura Dean and Dance Co in Dean’s world premiere of Steve Reich’s Drumming and was an originating cast member of Robert Wilson-Philip Glass's Einstein on the Beach. Her own company, Grethe Holby and Dancers, staged works to Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music and music by Brian Eno, David Byrne and many more.
In the 2014-2015 season, Holby’s focus is on the development of two major projects. The Three Astronauts is an opera based on a children's book by Umberto Eco with music by a trio of international composers. Workshop presentations of The Three Astronauts have been performed at the International Symposium for Personal & Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) in New Mexico and at LaGuardia Arts High School in New York. BOUNCE: The Basketball Opera, with a libretto by renowned poet Charles R. Smith Jr. and music by Daniel Bernard Roumain, brings opera-theatre to basketball courts in inner cities and rural America, with planned performances across the country from Alaskan native villages to a city park at Coney Island. Also in 2014, Holby has produced and choreographed a new staging of the classic tale Babar with music by Poulenc, and created original material for two opening scenes.
Holby earned a Master of Architecture degree and a B.S. in Architecture and Aero-Astro Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has participated on panels for Opera America; the Kennedy Center, Beijing Modern Music Festival, and others, and has given master classes at MIT and Boston University. Holby lives in New York City with her husband, Vogue photographer Arthur Elgort. They have three children, photographer Sophie Elgort, filmmaker Warren Elgort and film actor Ansel Elgort.
CHIDI OZIEH - Managing & Media Director
Chidi Ozieh was born October 1981 in London, England and currently resides in New York City. He is a writer, director, producer, music composer and visual effects supervisor known for a number of short films such as Serum (2010), (2012 Best Sci-Fi Short Film at The Philadelphia Film Festival), Inheritors (2013) and the rotoscope live action animated film Young Mallory (2014). Since childhood, Chidi has always been an artist at heart with solid foundation in visual arts and later studied Music at Thames Valley University. He embarked on his filmmaking journey after immigrating to the U.S. with the belief that filmmaking is the ultimate form of artistic expression and storytelling as it incorporates his many talents in visual arts, music, writing, producing and directing. Chidi is currently working on his feature film debut as a writer/director/producer.
EMILY TAPLIN - Development Manager
Emily Taplin Boyd brings a broad background in development to her work at Ardea Arts.
Most recently, she worked as an Associate Consultant at Advance NYC, where she
contributed to the development and execution of large-scale fundraisers and special
events for a wide range of nonprofits, and provided grant and speechwriting support for
arts organizations throughout New York City. She has also worked as the Development
Assistant at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield, MA and as a tele-fundraiser for the
DNC and the Brooklyn Museum. Emily received a Bachelor’s in Theatre and
Performance Studies from the University of Chicago, a degree in Classical Acting from
LAMDA, and a Master’s Degree in Medieval and Renaissance Studies from Columbia
University. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Dramaturgy from Columbia University
School of the Arts.
KAILEIGH ALLEN - Administrative & Production Assistant
Kaileigh Allen is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts with a Drama degree from The Experimental Theater Wing as well as a minor in Producing. Kaileigh has a background in production having previously worked for PRG Lighting and Madison Square Garden's production and operations department. She is from the nearby Jersey Shore and currently resides in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Kaileigh is now excited to step into her creative life producing theater and live events.
Affirmative Action policy and Equal Opportunity Employment policy
Ardea Arts provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, political affiliation, disability or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, Ardea Arts complies with applicable New York state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the company has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, leaves of absence, compensation and training.
Ardea Arts expressly prohibits any form of workplace harassment based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, genetic information, disability, or veteran status. Improper interference with the ability of our employees to perform their job duties may result in discipline up to and including discharge.