The Team

Julia Lagahuzère

Co-founder / General Director

Nominated Chevalière des arts et des lettres 2023, as well as “Femme de Culture 2020”, Julia Lagahuzère was previously Deputy Casting Director of Opéra National de Paris in the two theatres of Opéra de Bastille and Palais Garnier.

She has also held the position of artistic consultant to the Queen Sonja International Music Competition in Oslo, Norway. Julia has a passion for finding and helping to nurture young talent, and established a concert series in order to strengthen relations between the QSIMC and the top international young artist programs; notably in collaboration with the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

She has previously worked at San Francisco Opera, Scottish Opera and Opéra de Limoges. She is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and Sussex University, a musicology scholarship recipient at the University of California, Berkeley, and holds a Masters degree in Opera and Visual Performing Arts from King’s College London, in collaboration with the BBC Proms.

Kamal Khan

Co-founder / Artistic and Musical Director

Kamal Khan combines a passionate commitment to the globalization of operatic training with an active career as a recitalist and conductor. He was the Director of the Opera School at the University of Cape Town for nearly a decade, where he took students starting from their late teens and prepared them to win top prizes in such prestigious competitions as the Belvedere International, Montserrat Caballe Competiton, OPERALIA, Neue Stimmen, and many others.

He is currently affiliated with the Royal Opera Covent Garden Jette Parker Young Artists Program, the iSING Operatic Training Festival in Suzhou, China, the Voices of South Africa Festival and Competition, and is Director of the Taller de Jovenes Cantantes in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He has worked at the Juilliard School, Mannes College of Music, the Manhattan School of Music in New York, Chautauqua School of Music, Ravinia Festival and Glimmerglass Opera. Kamal Khan is an active recitalist in leading international venues.

Jenna Wolf

Co-founder / Artistic and External Relations Consultant

With more than ten years of experience working in the performing arts, Jenna Wolf brings a devoted passion for music and diversity in the arts to her many endeavors. She is currently the Publicity and Digital Media Manager at Lenny’s Studio, a renowned female-founded international public relations and digital firm, which collaborates with an acclaimed roster of artists and performing arts organizations. Previously, she worked in Development and External Relations for Minnesota Opera, and has consulted on fundraising and communications strategies with a number of arts organizations throughout the continental United States.

Jenna was an inaugural member of Arts Midwest’s Future Leaders Network, and served on the board of the Tempo Young Professionals Organization. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree (Horn Performance) from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, and a Master’s degree in Music (Horn Performance) from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

Clyde Long de Lugo

Chief Operations Officer / CFO

Founder of Konsei advisory, a boutique public agency for startups, Clyde Long de Lugo has over a decade of experience in project management. In addition to having worked for several well known startups, including NationBuilder and Snapchat, he has also worked in audit for AXA Investment Managers.

Originally from North Carolina, USA, Clyde studied linguistics as an undergraduate before attending graduate school at the University of Chicago, where he studied South Asian literature. He received a Master’s in Business Strategy from l’Institut d’études politiques (Sciences Po) and his MPA from l’École nationale d’administration (ENA). He is still a linguist at heart, though. He speaks English, French, Spanish, and Japanese proficiently as well as several other languages in a working capacity. An amateur fan of Baroque opera, Clyde with his extensive experience of international business provides the legal, financial and project management expertise to help Opera for Peace reach its global goals.

Jean-Philippe Thiellay

President

Author of numerous books and articles around opera and classical music, Jean-Philippe Thiellay is currently the Chairman and CEO of the Centre national de la musique, France. He was previously Deputy general manager of Opéra national de Paris from 2014-2019. He notably led and implemented the development of international co-productions, a new audience policy and structural improvements, as well as the digital transformation of the company.

Trang Fernandez-Leenknecht

Vice-President

Trang is a Swiss tax lawyer, entrepreneur & impact investor with a keen understanding of finance and technology. She is founder of Holistik Ltd, an agile and forward-thinking wealth planning boutique with Swiss and international tax & law expertise.
Trang was Director Tax & Wealth Mngt Switzerland in a leading private bank, Vice-Chair of the Board & member of the Investment Committee of a US$ 1 billion pension fund.

Mariano Gilardon

Treasurer

Mariano is a partner at Spencer Stuart, the executive search firm, where he focuses on senior executive roles for industrial, equipment, services, transportation and logistics companies. Earlier than that, he worked as a management consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton and as a trader with YPF in Argentina. Mariano holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from ITBA and an MBA from INSEAD.

Gary Ashford

Board Member

Gary is an International Tax Partner (non lawyer) at Harbottle and Lewis in London, ranked Band 1 in the Chambers and Partners High Net Worth guide. He was also a board member of CFE Tax Advisers Europe, an organisation based in Brussels supporting over 250,000 tax advisers throughout Europe and part of the Global Tax Platform (GTAP) which connects to over 1million tax advisers across the globe. He recently spoke at both Conservative and Labour Party parliamentary party conferences on the subject of taxation.

Ruxandra Ispas

Board Member

Ruxandra is a senior leader, with extensive international and industry experience (FMCG, Construction, Consulting), recognized for long lasting performance improvement and growing diverse and high performing teams.
She is experienced in setting direction in complex environments, supporting environmental transition and digitalization.

She currently sits on the Board of STEF a listed €4,2bil company, and runs a business management consultancy helping companies to adapt their business model to new behaviors and consumption patterns, digital revolution and social and climate issues.

Mengmeng Wang

Partner Engagement Adviser

With a diverse background encompassing Eurasian culture and a decade of luxury sector experience, Mengmeng offers a distinctive outlook as Partner Engagement Adviser at Opera for Peace. Her passion for art and heritage preservation is evident in her dedication to the organization’s mission. Mengmeng’s determination to cultivate cross-cultural discourse, and her belief in art’s transformative influence fuels her desire to unite diverse communities through Opera for Peace. Her aspiration revolves around forging impactful partnerships that enrich the sustainable development of civil societies and institutions. Holding a Master’s degree in Marketing and Strategy from the University Paris Dauphine, Mengmeng remains committed to nurturing young talent and driving tangible advancement towards positive societal change.

Paolo Petrocelli

Co-founder

Paolo Petrocelli, PhD, is currently Head of the Dubai Opera. He has become a leading member of some of the most prestigious international organizations, including the United Nations, UNESCO, and the World Economic Forum.

He is also the Co-Founder and Honorary President of the Italian Youth Association for UNESCO. As a Music Diplomacy Ambassador, he serves in institutional roles to forge bonds through music in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the US. Dr. Petrocelli is the founder and President of EMMA for Peace (Euro-Mediterranean Music Academy for Peace).

Former Board member at Rome Opera House and International Advisor at Royal Opera House Muscat, he is Cultural Advisor for Coldplay, the multi Grammy award-winning British band, and Cultural Diplomacy Officer for the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates.

Denyce Graves, mezzo-soprano

Advisor

Recognized worldwide as one of today’s most exciting vocal stars, Denyce Graves continues to gather unparalleled popular and critical acclaim in performances on four continents. USA Today identifies her as “an operatic superstar of the 21st Century,” and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution exclaims, “if the human voice has the power to move you, you will be touched by Denyce Graves.”

Her career has taken her to the world’s great opera houses and concert halls. The combination of her expressive, rich vocalism, elegant stage presence, and exciting theatrical abilities allows her to pursue a wide breadth of operatic portrayals and to delight audiences in concert and recital appearances. Denyce Graves has become particularly well-known to operatic audiences for her portrayals of the title roles in Carmen and Samson et Dalila. These signature roles have brought Graves to the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Washington Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Arena di Verona, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opernhaus Zürich, Teatro Real in Madrid, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles Opera, and the Festival Maggio Musicale in Florence.

Thomas Hampson, baritone

Advisor / Education & Technology Artist for Peace

Thomas Hampson, America’s foremost baritone, has received international honors and awards for his captivating artistry and cultural leadership. Lauded as a Metropolitan Opera Guild “Met Mastersinger” and inducted into both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Gramophone’s “Hall of Fame,” and a recipient of the famed Concertgebouw Prize, Hampson is one of the most respected and innovative musicians of our time. With an operatic repertoire of over 80 roles, his discography comprises more than 170 albums, which include multiple nominations and winners of the Grammy Award, Edison Award, and the Grand Prix du Disque. He was honored with a Living Legend Award by the Library of Congress, where he has served as Special Advisor to the Study and Performance of Music in America.

Hampson is an honorary professor at the University of Heidelberg, and holds honorary doctorates from Manhattan School of Music, the New England Conservatory, Whitworth College, and San Francisco Conservatory, and is an honorary member of London’s Royal Academy of Music. He carries the titles of Kammersänger of the Wiener Staatsoper and Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the Republic of France. He was awarded the Austrian Medal of Honor in Arts and Sciences and the Hugo Wolf Medal. He is the Artistic Director of the Heidelberg Lied Academy, and collaborates with the Barenboim-Said Academy Schubert Week in Berlin each year. 

Sumi Jo, soprano

Advisor / UNESCO Artist for Peace

Praised for the remarkable agility, precision and warmth of her voice, and for her outstanding musicianship, Sumi Jo has established herself as one of her generation’s most sought-after sopranos. She is the highest-selling Classical singer in the world, with over 50 recordings to her credit, including a Grammy-winning Die Frau ohne Schatten with Sir Georg Solti for Decca London and Un Ballo in Maschera for Deutsche Grammophon under Herbert von Karajan. Sumi has performed at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, at the International Olympic Games in Beijing, and appeared, performing as herself, in the film ‘Youth’ by Paolo Sorrentino starring Michael Caine. Sumi’s performance of the film’s signature song, “Simple Song #3” won her an Oscar in the “Music – Original Song” category.

Upcoming plans include a concert tour with the English Concert in Korea and in Europe, judging the Glyndebourne Opera Cup, and numerous other international recitals and concerts. Born in Korea, Sumi Jo studied in her native country before enrolling in the Conservatory of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome. Her many prestigious awards include the international Puccini Award and First Prize at international competitions in Seoul, Naples, Enna, Barcelona, Pretoria and the Carlo Alberto Cappelli International Competition in Verona. She was elected UNESCO ‘Artist for Peace’ in 2003.

Fabio Luisi, conductor

Advisor

Fabio Luisi is the Music Director of the Dallas Symphony, General Music Director of the Zurich Opera and Chief Conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. He was Principal Conductor at the Metropolitan Opera in New York from 2011 to 2017, prior to this he served as Chief Conductor of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra (2005-2013), General Music Director of the Staatskapelle Dresden and the Saxon State Opera (2007-2010), Music Director and Principal Conductor of the MDR Symphony Orchestra Leipzig (1999-2007) and Music Director of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (1997-2002) and of the Tonkünstler Orchestra in Vienna (1995-2000).

Fabio Luisi is also Music Director of the Festival della Valle d’Itria in Martina Franca (Apulia, Italy) and he is guest conductor of several major ensembles including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the NHK Tokyo, the Munich Philharmonic, the Filarmonica della Scala, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the Saito Kinen Orchestra and in all major opera houses worldwide. He has conducted Richard Strauss’s Die Liebe der Danae and Die Ägyptische Helena for the Salzburg Festival; and his work for the Zurich Opera has included new productions of three Bellini operas along with Rigoletto, Fidelio, Wozzeck and Verdi’s Messa da Requiem.

Sondra Radvanovsky, soprano

Advisor

Soprano Sondra Radvanovsky is a globally celebrated artist. The depth and exquisite color of her voice are matched by her dramatic acting ability and versatility across a remarkable range of repertoire, from the title roles in Rusalka and Lucrezia Borgia, to Roxanne in Cyrano de Bergerac and the title role in Manon Lescaut. She is widely regarded as one of the premiere Verdi sopranos alive today, as well as one of the premiere interpreters of bel canto.

She has performed in every major opera house in the world, including the Royal Opera House, Teatro alla Scala, Opernhaus Zürich, and numerous others. Her signature interpretations of Verdi’s heroines include the title roles in Aïda and Luisa Miller, Elvira in Ernani, Elena in I Vespri Siciliani, Elisabeth de Valois in Don Carlo, Amelia in Simon Boccanegra, and Lina in Stiffelio, among others.

She trained at the Metropolitan Opera in the late 1990s in the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. After performances in smaller roles there, Radvanovsky caught the attention of critics as Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann and was singled out as a soprano to watch. On the concert platform, she has sung with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Verbier Festival Orchestra, both with James Levine; with the Chicago Symphony and David Zinman; with the San Francisco Symphony and James Conlon, and with the Bayerische Staatsoper and Zubin Mehta.

Dmitry Tcherniakov, stage director

Advisor

Dmitry Tcherniakov was born in 1970, in Moscow. In 1993, he completed his studies at the Russian Academy of Theatre Art. He directed opera and theatre productions in Russia, Europe and USA. He has been the set designer for all his productions. Dmitri Tcherniakov has been awarded several times the Golden Mask Russian National Theatre Prize as well as The International Opera Awards 2013 (‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Production’), The Franco Abbiati Italian music critic prize (2008) and the Spanish Prize National Campoamor Lyrics Awards (2014).

A notable event in 1998 was his production of the world premiere of V. Kobekin’s The Young David at the Novosibirsk State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet.
In 2000, the Mariinsky Theatre invited him to do a production of Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevronia. In 2002, at the Golden Mask Festival, his Invisible City was voted the best opera production of the 2000-2001 season, while he himself garnered a Golden Mask in the work by a director in opera nomination.

Ludovic Tézier, baritone

Advisor

One of the world’s leading baritones, Ludovic Tézier, makes regular guest appearances at many of the world’s great opera venues: Metropolitan Opera in New York, Staatsoper in Vienna, Opéra National de Paris, Deutsche Oper Berlin, La Scala in Milan, Liceu in Barcelona, Teatro Real Madrid, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, the Summer and Easter Festival of Salzburg, Bregenz and Glyndebourne, and Chorégies d’Orange – just to name a few.

He has sung under the baton of numerous conductors including Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Myung-Whun Chung, Antonio Pappano, Riccardo Muti, Philippe Jordan and Zubin Mehta.

His repertoire includes the title roles in HamletEugene Onegin, Don Giovanni Conte (Le Nozze di Figaro) and Werther (baritone version), Renato (Un Ballo in Maschera), Ford (Falstaff), Yeletsky (The Queen of Spades), Enrico (Lucia di Lammermoor), Germont (La Traviata), Chorèbe (Les Troyens), Wolfram (Tannhäuser), Posa (Don Carlo), Don Carlo di Vargas (La Forza del Destino) and Simon Boccanegra.