Music — especially opera — has been a mainstay in new Opera Omaha leader's life

A revelation onstage at New York’s Carnegie Hall led Opera Omaha’s new general director to a rewarding career.

Allison Swenson, recently named to replace Roger Weitz as leader of Nebraska’s only opera company, was performing with a high school choir at the time. She loved to sing, but had been wondering what she would do if she wasn’t destined to be a diva.

“I saw a woman running around with a clipboard,” she said in a recent interview. “A light went off and I thought, ‘You can work on the business side of classical music.’”

Swenson, 37, will come to Omaha with an impressive background in arts management, having worked for two highly regarded opera organizations in her short career. She is currently director of development for the Santa Fe Opera, where she has worked since 2013, and she started out as artistic operations manager with the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, New York.