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NORFOLK, Va. – Virginia Opera is excited to announce the election of two new board members ahead of the 2012-2013 season. Mrs. Nancy Branch and Dr. Elisabeth Muhlenfeld were elected by the board on Sunday, May 20, 2012.
Branch is former member of the Virginia Opera Board of Directors, having served from 1996 until 2006. She has also previously served as the President of the Virginia Opera Guild Board and as Chair of the Virginia Opera Gift Shop. Re-joining the Virginia Opera Board of Directors continues her long history of service to the arts in Hampton Roads, where she has also served in multiple capacities with the Chrysler Museum of Art, including as Master Docent and President of the Docent Council, as a President of the Norfolk Society of Art Board of Trustees, and as a member of the YWCA of South Hampton Roads Board, among others. Branch is also a current member of the Hermitage Museum and Gardens Board of Trustees and a member of the Board of Directors for WHRO, Hampton Roads Public Media. She received her Bachelor's Degree from the University of Wisconsin and a Master's in Career Development Counseling from the University of California.
Dr. Muhlenfeld joins the Board as a member of the Virginia Opera Central Virginia Board of Governors and as president emerita of Sweet Briar College, having served as the college's ninth president from 1996 until 2009. During her tenure, Muhlenfeld oversaw a large expansion and numerous successful initiatives and fund-raising endeavors, as well as Sweet Briar becoming the second women's college in the nation to offer an engineering degree.
Muhlenfeld is also a former chair of the Board of Directors of the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar and of the Women's College Coalition. She is also currently serving on the Richmond Symphony Council and the Mount Vernon's Advisory Council, in addition to several others. She received her undergraduate degree from Goucher College, her Master's degree at the University of Texas at Arlington, and her Ph.D. in English from the University of South Carolina. Muhlenfeld is a frequent guest and contributor on NPR, C-SPAN, and a number of other media outlets.
Virginia Opera was organized in 1974 and performs in Norfolk, Richmond, and Fairfax. It was named The Official Opera Company of the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1994 by unanimous vote of the Virginia General Assembly. Virginia Opera launches its 2012-2013 season on Sept. 29 with the premiere of Georges Bizet's The Pearl Fishers. This season will also include Die Fledermaus, A Streetcar Named Desire, and The Marriage of Figaro. Tickets start as low as $25 and can be purchased online by visiting www.vaopera.org.