Creative Disruption

Creative disruptions builds culturally innovative, professional development centered content by hosting digital and in-person conversations for MN Opera staff and friends. Content distribution and conversation offerings happen once every month during a Friday lunch hour. We hope to see you there!


FEBRUARY TOPIC: Complexity of the Classical Canon

WHEN: Friday, February 17 at Noon
SPEAKER: Kristi Brown-Montesano

Professor Kristi Brown-Montesano is the Chair of Music History at Colburn Conservatory of Music and a public musicologist. She is a lover of opera but as a scholar of music history, passionately critiques the industry-wide status quo and academic reverence for supporting problematic narratives without thoroughly analyzing the real-time, cultural work that presenting art inherently influences.


MARCH TOPIC: The Song Poet Design Conversation

WHEN: Friday, March 17 at Noon
WHERE: Bemis

In March I look forward to being in conversation with a member of The Song Poet design team. This is scheduled for March 17th and may have an in-person gathering opportunity.


APRIL TOPIC: Conversation with Creator-Performer Teiya Kasahara

WHEN: Friday, April 21 at 12PM

The first in a two-part series around the topic of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access or IDEA at Other Operas with this conversation focusing on policy implementation. 


MAY TOPIC: IDEA at Other Opera’s – Access

WHEN: Friday, May 12th or May 19 at Noon (75 minutes)
SPEAKER: Veronica Chapman-Smith, Dennis Robinson Jr., Sara Litchfield

The second part of this seasons IDEA at Other Opera’s conversation with a focus on Access. We will be joined by Veronica Chapman-Smith who is the Vice President of Community Initiatives at Opera Philadelphia, Dennis Robinson Jr. who is the Director of Programs & Partnerships, and Sara Litchfield who is the Associate Director of Youth Learning Programs, both at Seattle Opera. 



JANUARY TOPIC: Impact of Art for Historically Disconnected Communities

SPEAKER: Ginger Klee

Ginger Klee is a licensed marriage and family therapist who has a focus on trauma and multi-ethnic acculturation. Some folks may have had the chance to see her in July 2021 in conversation with Opera America for their Opera America Taking Care: A Series on Mental Health for Opera Professionals. Minnesota Opera’s Access & Civic Engagement AD invited Dr. Klee to discuss practice and strategy around dismantling the historical precedence of fine arts institutions being unsafe for folks disconnected from the status quo.


DECEMBER TOPIC: Think Beyond the Binary

SPEAKER: Jake Fedorowski

Jake Fedorowski (they/them) grew up in a small town in Minnesota where they spent their childhood at the lake. After graduating from Columbia College Chicago, they moved around the country, working as a stage manager with multiple opera companies, including Santa Fe Opera, The Dallas Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and Minnesota Opera. They transitioned into artistic administration while at Minnesota Opera and served as a representative on the company’s Diversity Council. It was during that time that Jake discovered their passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion work, which provided the foundation for their life of advocacy ahead. 

In January of 2021, Jake stepped out of the performing arts industry and moved to Seattle for the water and mountains. Jake now works in operations, where they support and manage collaborative teams, specifically those working to carve out space for communities that are often ignored or silenced.  

 Outside of work, Jake serves as the Vice President of Seattle Frontrunners, an LGBTQIA+ running and walking club, and works with the larger running community to expand access to non-binary athletes. After publishing their Guide to Non-Binary Inclusion in Running in the spring of 2022, Jake went on to consult for major marathons as they implemented non-binary divisions, including the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Jake recently founded Run Beyond (RUNN+) which is a community for non-binary athletes to exist, participate, advocate, and represent. Visit for more information about the movement, including coverage of Jake’s work in The New York Times, The 19th, Runner’s World, and the podcast, Running for Real. 


OCTOBER TOPIC: A Conversation Exploring Hmong History and Culture in the Hmong Diaspora in the Twin Cities

SPEAKER: Josephine Yang

Josephine Yang is the Artistic and Equity Coordinator at The Children’s Theatre Company and a local photographer of the Twin Cities. She is also the cultural consultant for our production of The Song Poet. Josie’s conversation explored Hmong History and Culture in the Hmong Diaspora in the Twin Cities, giving us a foundational understanding of the displacement of the Hmong people, upcoming observances, and actionable steps to continue our education and appreciation of the Hmong community here in the Twin Cities. 



SPEAKER: Frankie Charles

Frankie started with the company as the Resident Artist Assistant Technical Director and is now the Access & Civic Engagement, Assistant Director. He began doing technical production work in 2008 and graduated with his BFA in Theatre Technology in 2018 from The Theatre School at DePaul University. Frankie is a trans-masculine (having started his medical transition in 2016) and, queer, Afro-Caribbean Cuban American. He acknowledges benefiting from multiple areas of privilege, perceived cis-male privilege and light skin light-skin privilege to name some. 

He is originally from a predominantly white northern Chicago suburb and grew up in a single-parent, multi-generational household. Embodying all of these identifiers and experiences is how he shows up today and every day and helped him find his way into the Impact Department. However, we contain multitudes so while Technical Direction is no longer his main focus, he has had the pleasure of being the Technical Director for the Premier and Tour of Tracing Sacred Steps presented by local modern dance, theatre, social justice and figure skating company Brownbody.

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