AZO Cast Members & Creatives
President and General Director
Joseph Specter, an experienced administrator who draws from a deep understanding of the arts and corporate environments, has served as President and General Director of Arizona Opera since June 2016.
Specter served as General Director at Austin Opera from April 2012 until May 2016, leading that organization through significant, healthy budget growth, and revitalized subscriptions and contributions, all while presenting vibrant and artistically successful operatic productions. During his tenure in Austin, Joe also led the company through a strategic rebranding process, and oversaw a major capital renovation of Austin Opera’s rehearsal and office space.
Prior to joining Austin Opera, Joe served as Director of Institutional Relations at the Metropolitan Opera, where he worked on corporate sponsorships, as well as public and foundation grants. In that capacity, Joe partnered with over 100 institutional funders, representing more than $5M in annual fundraising. Previously, Joe was Senior Client Service Associate at the investment firm Lord Abbett, where he worked with institutional investors in areas of marketing and relationship management.
A former professional baritone, Specter earned an artist diploma from Philadelphia’s prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts, and is an honors graduate of the double-degree program between Tufts University and the New England Conservatory of Music—in political science and voice, respectively. During his time as a professional singer, Specter performed more than 20 opera and musical theater roles with regional opera companies and young artist training programs throughout the United States, including Opera Memphis, the Utah Festival Opera, and Sarasota Opera, and sang for three seasons in the extra chorus of the Metropolitan Opera.