Leadership and Staff
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 achieve 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 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 dancing career for 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.
Holby has collaborated with the artists and composers Leonard Bernstein, Plácido 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). In 2014, Holby produced and choreographed a new staging of the classic tale Babar with music by Poulenc, and created original material for two opening scenes.
Currently, Holby’s focus is on the development and premiere 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, with a libretto by renowned poet Charles R. Smith, Jr. and music mainly by the late two-time Emmy-award-winning composer Glen Roven, brings opera-theatre to basketball courts in inner cities and rural America. BOUNCE launched its wildly successful world premiere at the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre in November 2017, and currently in the works for the 2018-19 season is "BOUNCE Across America," an ambitious, five-city outreach making stops in NYC, New Orleans, Houston, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
Holby holds a Master of Architecture and a B.S. in Architecture and Aero-Astro Engineering, both 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 currently lives in New York City with her husband, Vogue photographer Arthur Elgort. They have three children: photographer Sophie Elgort, filmmaker Warren Elgort, and movie star 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)—Best Sci-Fi Short Film at the 2012 Philadelphia Film Festival, Inheritors (2013), and the rotoscope live-action animated film Young Mallory (2014). Since childhood, Ozieh has always been an artist at heart with a 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. Ozieh is currently working on his feature film debut as a writer, director, and producer.
ALAN DAI — Administrative Coordinator for Grethe Barrett Holby
Alan Dai is a self-taught vocalist and composer. A native of sunny Los Angeles, he enjoys recording, producing, and mixing & mastering music as a freelancer, and hopes to one day start his own professional recording studio. Dai also has an interest in the Computer Science field, and aspires to combine those skills with his love for music to explore unorthodox music-producing methods through innovative technologies. He is a recent graduate of Columbia University, earning a B.A. in Music, and is presently based in New York City, enjoying its unique position as a hub for both technology and the arts.
Affirmative Action 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 non-discrimination 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.