International Friends of Festival Verdi Announces New Executive Director

By Afton Wooten

Michael J. Bolton has been named the new executive director of the International Friends of Festival Verdi.

Bolton began in this position on March 18. He now leads the organization in its mission to promote and support the Teatro Regio di Parma’s Festival Verdi, honoring the legacy of the renowned Italian composer. Bolton brings a wealth of experience in arts management and a passion for fostering cultural exchange to International Friends of Festival Verdi. His leadership is expected to further elevate the organization’s impact on the global stage, strengthening its commitment to celebrating Verdi’s timeless works and expanding its reach to audiences in the U.S. and beyond.

Before joining International Friends of Festival Verdi, Bolton was on the leadership team at Opera Philadelphia for fourteen years.  He is also a noted opera lecturer having spoken to over 65,000 people at organizations including the Metropolitan Opera Guild, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Cincinnati Opera, among dozens of others. He is the host of Arizona PBS’s The Phoenix Symphony broadcast series and the opera podcast Front Row Center.

In a statement, Bolton said, “I am deeply honored to join International Friends of Festival Verdi as Executive Director. Giuseppe Verdi’s music has transcended generations and borders, embodying the essence of human emotion and artistic expression. I am excited to collaborate with our wonderful partners at the Teatro Regio di Parma and stakeholders everywhere to support and enrich Festival Verdi, ensure its ongoing success in the years to come, and continue Verdi’s great operatic legacy.”

Bolton’s appointment comes at a pivotal moment for International Friends of Festival Verdi as it prepares for its upcoming annual gala in May and Festival Verdi this fall. Additionally, the organization brings the immersive outreach initiative, “Verdi OFF!” to New York City this June.

“We are delighted to welcome Mike as the new Executive Director of International Friends of Festival Verdi,” said James E. Miller, President of the organization. “His proven track record of excellence in arts administration, fundraising, coupled with his dedication to opera education and outreach efforts, makes him the ideal candidate to lead our organization into the future. We look forward to working closely with Mike to advance our mission and showcase the enduring legacy of Giuseppe Verdi to audiences around the globe.”