I believe in the power of storytelling. There is nothing as powerful as the ability of classical music and opera to open our minds and to inspire empathy. My love for the Italian operatic canon began as a child listening to my Sicilian grandfather’s records, and I have a strong desire to reconcile my contemporary views with these stories from the past by interpreting classic Italian works through a modern and feminist lens.


Advocating for equity in our industry and in society is extremely important to me and that is why I founded my ensemble PROTESTRA and am a founding team member of Girls Who Conduct; organizations that take a stand on issues of social justice and advocate for equity within our field. It is my goal as an artistic leader to be a collaborative and supportive colleague, and to create a space for all voices to be heard and for all stories to be told.

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Michelle Rofrano is an Italian American conductor with a keen interest in the intersection of art and social activism. An avid opera conductor, she is the Music Director of City Lyric Opera, a women-led company in NYC.  She has led productions of The Queen of Spades and Trouble in Tahiti with The Glimmerglass Festival; Telemann's comic opera Don Quichotte at Camacho's Wedding with Opera Saratoga; the New York premiere of Pauline Viardot’s Cendrillon with City Lyric Opera; Le nozze di Figaro with the Crane School of Music; Trouble in Tahiti, Service ProviderAvow, and A Flourish of Green with  Westminster Choir College; Così fan tutte and The Turn of the Screw with DC Public Opera; Così fan tutte with the Oberlin in Italy opera festival; and Suor Angelica with New Jersey Opera Project. She has served as assistant conductor for productions of La bohéme and Le nozze di Figaro with Florida Grand Opera; The Cunning Little VixenLa TraviataBlue, and Silent Night with The Glimmerglass Festival; Eugene Onegin and Salome with Spoleto Festival USA; The Merry Wives of Windsor and L'elisir d'amore with Juilliard Opera; Man of La Mancha with Opera Saratoga; and La bohème with Opera Birmingham.

Upcoming projects include conducting Philip Glass’s The Fall of the House of Usher with Orpheus PDX and serving as cover conductor for Dream of the Red Chamber with San Francisco Opera and Proximity with Lyric Opera of Chicago.

A Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship Mentee, Rofrano enjoys performing orchestral repertoire in addition to opera and has led concerts with the Spoleto Festival USA orchestra, CJMEA youth orchestra, and The Little Orchestra Society. Her recording of Fanny Mendelssohn's Overture in C from the Spoleto Festival's Classical Showcase in 2019 has been featured multiple times on classical music radio program Performance Today, reaching a national audience.

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