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Michelle Gatesy Aspires to Build a Career While Expanding Opera’s Audience

By Jacob Nelson

For Michelle Gatesy, opera runs in the family.

The San Jose native and new MSLCE student grew up with a father who was passionate about opera, and who would take Gatesy to see performances from the time she was 10 years old.

“Opera is a genetic thing,” Gatesy said during a recent interview.

While pursuing her undergraduate degree at the University of San Francisco, where she studied English and music, Gatesy took introduction to opera courses and also went to the city’s renowned opera houses.

“I became obsessed,” Gatesy said about the art form. “And here I am now, hopefully working in that area.”

Gatesy aspires for an administrative position within the opera world, where she can play a role in trying to expand the opera audience. She hopes to do so by working in some sort of outreach role to make more people aware of what opera is and why it’s appealing.

“Opera is not as well attended as other live music events, and I think that’s really disappointing,” Gatesy said.

Gatesy understands this lack of interest from seeing it within her own family. Although she and her dad love opera, her sister does not.

“I’ve taken my sister to a couple of operas, and she’s just not as into it as I am,” Gatesy said. “She hasn’t had the same education and exposure I’ve had to it, if she had maybe it would be different.”

After finishing at the MSLCE program, Gatesy hopes to stay in California and work for an opera company doing audience outreach or marketing and public relations.

“I’m really looking forward to learning how I can use the natural abilities I already have to create a career path.”

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