Monday, June 12, 2017

Melanie Ross takes her final bow at Seattle Opera

Melanie Ross. Photo by Alan Alabastro
By Melanie Ross 
Director of Artistic Operations & Season Planning

At the end of this month I will retire from Seattle Opera as an employee.

When I told Aidan last fall this would be my last season with the company, I knew this next step in my life would be daunting. After all, I have worked here my entire adult life for three General Directors, including my father Glynn Ross, the founding General Director. I even met my husband, Tim Buck, here. So I will be setting aside a very large piece of myself—one that is familiar and comfortable.

Working at Seattle Opera wasn’t pre-planned. One day my dad asked me to come in to the office to help translate Italian scenery plans. When I had an hour or so to kill before Dad was ready to go home, the Administrative Director asked me to type some envelopes, but I couldn’t finish by the end of the day so I came back next day. A week later it was mimeographing, ugh. And so it continued. I was very aware of being the boss’s daughter and worked my tail off. Each day there was a job for me—at the front desk answering phones, helping to reconcile numbers, transporting miniature donkeys in my Ford Falcon (no joke!)—I was your basic go-to assistant. Eventually I settled in Production. 

Producing opera is an intense and joyous business, and certainly my passion is in this company along with much of my identity. The memories I’ve made show by show, success by success, with some conflict thrown in to keep us real, make it seem inconceivable to leave. But as I move on, forever embedded in my soul is the community of colleagues, performers, advisors, donors and audience members with whom I have worked and collaborated far and wide. Each and every one has taught me something, challenged me with a task, trusted me, offered me an opportunity and definitely shared in the triumphs and (the few) misadventures. Many have become lifelong friends.

This company, and every one of you, have given me a rich and exciting life. Thank you for your generosity of spirit, thank you for your support, thank you for a million things, for everything. You are too wonderful and I am forever grateful.

I know I will stay in touch with many of you or see you at future performances of the opera.

Gratefully and faithfully yours,

Melanie Ross

Melanie Ross with each of Seattle Opera's General Directors, beginning with her father. From right: Melanie's mother, Angelamaria “Gio” Solimene Ross, Glynn Ross, and Melanie. 
Melanie Ross and Former General Director Speight Jenkins. 
Melanie Ross and General Director Aidan Lang.