Founder and President
Justin Werner is an operatic professional with extensive experience in production, education, and artist representation. Mr. Werner is the Founder and President of Stratagem Artists in 2018, which cultivates and represents a select roster of operatic artists through artist driven collaboration.
Between 2014-2018, Mr. Werner was a co-founder and artist manager at Couret & Werner (C&W) Artist Management. Mr. Werner gained his initial Artist Management experience at IMG Artists, where he served as an Artist Management intern.
Mr. Werner was the founder and Artistic Director of New York Opera Exchange (2011–2015), which afforded numerous opportunities for emerging singers, directors, and designers to mount critically acclaimed productions. According to Opera Today, "Artistic Director Justin Werner manages to infect others with his enthusiasm through sheer force of charisma and passion." Additionally, Mr. Werner founded the Independent Student Opera Initiative at Boston University.
A valued advisor for emerging artists, Mr. Werner is a frequent panelist for Opera America's Career Blueprints and Feedback Audition programs. He has presented masterclasses and workshops for institutions such as Emerging Leaders of New York Arts (ELNYA), Yale School of Music, the Stratford Summer Music Vocal Academy, Des Moines Metro Opera, the Glimmerglass Festival, CCM, Boston University, Fort Worth Opera / Texas Christian University, Oklahoma City University, the University of North Texas, the New York Opera Alliance, the University of Delaware, Opera NextGen and the Seagle Music Colony. In the spring of 2021, Mr. Werner joined the Atelier Lyrique at L’Opéra de Montréal and Mannes School of Music at The New School as an Artistic Advisor in Residence to the Mannes Opera where he will return for the 2021/2022 academic year.
In past seasons, Mr. Werner served on the adjudicating panels of the McCammon Vocal Competition, Talents of the World Annual Voice Competition, MetroWest Vocal Competition, CS Music Vocal Competition and Opera Ithaca Competition. In the spring of 2023, he will judge the finals of the Cooper-Bing Competition at Opera Columbus.
Mr. Werner earned his BM in Vocal Performance from Boston University and his Advanced Certificate in Vocal Performance from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. Mr. Werner is also proud to be the chair of the On Site Opera Artistic Advisory Council.
Rebecca Townsend is swiftly solidifying her reputation as a highly accomplished arts administrator, boasting a wealth of expertise in the field of classical music and opera. Her portfolio is distinguished by her fostering of close collaborations with esteemed arts organizations and influential leaders throughout Canada and the United States.
A fervent champion of artistic growth, Ms. Townsend possesses a deep-seated commitment to fostering collaborations with artists, facilitating both performance and professional development opportunities. Her expertise and industry acumen has been recognized through numerous engagements, including appearing on panels for the Association for Opera in Canada, judging the NATS Competition and acting as a consultant for distinguished organizations such as the University of Toronto, William Jewell College, Vancouver Opera's Young Artist Program and the Highlands Opera Studio.
In addition to her role as Artist Manager with Stratagem Artists, Ms. Townsend also contributes her knowledge to the esteemed team at Lenny's Studio. Within this capacity, she actively engages in content development for artists and companies, harnessing her creative acuity to elevate their ventures while forging impactful connections with global audiences.
Earlier in her career, Ms. Townsend had the privilege of performing notable soprano roles including Fiordiligi in Mozart's Così fan tutte, Rose Maurrant in Kurt Weill's Street Scene, Diana in Offenbach's Orphée aux enfers and the Sandman/Dew Fairy in Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel. Throughout her studies in Voice Performance, Ms. Townsend had the opportunity to showcase her talents in recitals at the Canadian Music Centre, Toronto Arts and Letters Club, Heliconian Club and the Alliance Française de Toronto.
Ms. Townsend holds a BM and MM from the University of Toronto, and a Graduate Certificate in Arts Management from Centennial College in Toronto.
A passionate administrator with a focus on database design, Maria Miller has served many roles in the nonprofit sector, most recently as the Development Coordinator with Classic Lyric Arts for five years. She attended RISE camp with the Crested Butte Music Festival in 2020, receiving training in grant writing and nonprofit entrepreneurship.
Maria has extensive experience with writing. A fluent linguist, she served as a house intern at the Ruban Vert Théâtre in Aix-en-Provence, and has since offered translation and coaching services for numerous institutions and composers in French and Italian. In 2019-2020, she co-wrote Opera in Overalls' recital series Once Upon A Time that included a feature recital film with the Kentucky National Association of Teachers of Music. Her screenplay Housewife, co-written with Josh Kight, advanced to the semifinals of the Screencraft Film Fund. In past years, Maria wrote scripts for courses at Market House Theatre in Paducah, KY.
As a singer she has performed with Cincinnati Opera including several workshops and a premiere with OperaFusion: New Works, as well as Sarasota Opera, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, and Opera on the James, and has completed residencies with Des Moines Metro Opera, Sarasota Opera and the Santa Fe Opera (Covid19). Maria received accolades at the Saisons de la Voix competition in Gordes, France, two Encouragement Awards at the regional level of the Laffont Competition, and the Treigle Award in the Corbett Competition.
Maria holds both a MMus and a BMus in Voice from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. Additional studies include the Mascarade Opera Studio. She holds a French Honors Certificate from the Institute of American Universities, and studied French language and history at the University of Louisville.
ARTIST COUNSEL: CONSULTATIONS & MASTERCLASSES
The art of classical singing is one that demands great commitment, discipline, and enthusiasm. Along each singer's journey arise questions of repertoire, presentation, and career viability. Stratagem Artists is proud to offer guidance to those singers who wish to improve their command of the operatic craft, while also addressing the realities of the current classical industry.
Stratagem Artists is committed to artist development. Justin Werner's experience in artist counsel includes presenting masterclasses for Emerging Leaders of New York Arts (ELNYA), Yale School of Music, Mannes School of Music, Des Moines Metro Opera, the Glimmerglass Festival, Boston University, Fort Worth Opera / Texas Christian University, Oklahoma City University, the University of North Texas, the New York Opera Alliance, the University of Delaware and the Seagle Music Colony, as well as serving as artistic director / founder of the New York Opera Exchange (2011–2015). In past seasons, he served on the adjudicating panels the McCammon Vocal Competition, the Cooper-Bing Competition at Opera Columbus Talents of the World Annual Voice Competition, MetroWest Vocal Competition, CS Music Vocal Competition. In 2021, he will adjudicate the Opera Ithaca Competition as well as joining the faculties of the Atelier Lyrique at L’Opéra de Montréal and the Mannes School of Music.