John Massaro, Composer
John Massaro is an American conductor, composer, and pianist. He is Founder and Executive Director of Phoenix Opera Company and the International Southwest Vocal Competition. He is also the Resident Conductor of the Scottsdale Philharmonic. At the Phoenix Opera, he conducted many opera productions as well as galas with world renowned opera superstars Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Jonas Kaufmann. Massaro began his career in Los Angeles as a vocal coach and conductor, later moving to New York City to coach and accompany several members of the Metropolitan Opera Young Artist Development program. He served as an assistant to Leonard Bernstein during the creation of the opera A Quiet Place, and to Zubin Mehta for Israel Philharmonic’s production of Madama Butterfly. Massaro worked extensively with the great German soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, with whom he travelled and coached both opera and art-song repertoire. Maestro Massaro made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting the Mozart Requiem which led to a distinguished European tour to Budapest, Krakow, Prague, Salzburg and Vienna in celebration of the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth. In 2002, he debuted with the Phoenix Symphony conducting a 9/11 Memorial Concert, which included his own arrangement of The National Anthem and in 2006, he conducted the 50th Anniversary Season of the Symphony of the Southwest. Massaro served as Musical Director for Phoenix Theater and the Black Theatre Troupe, where he received an AriZoni Award for the production Blues in the Night. As the first Music Director for Arizona Broadway Theatre, Massaro conducted numerous award-winning stage productions.
John E. Kramer, Librettist
John E. Kramer is an accomplished wordsmith, storyteller, and the author of the 2017 novel, Blythe, upon which the dramatic three-act opera, Isabella, is based. As the Institute for Justice’s VP for Strategic Relations and VP for Communications, Kramer has helped the Institute and many other organizations personalize, humanize and dramatize their stories of individual liberty. In this capacity, he has directed media relations for 10 landmark Supreme Court cases and in 2018 earned “The Thomas Roe Award”—the highest honor presented by the State Policy Network for those who have demonstrated leadership, innovation and accomplishments in public policy. Kramer’s writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and The New York Times among many other news outlets. His path-breaking media relations work was featured in the 2017 movie Little Pink House—a major Hollywood movie starring Catherine Keener that offered a behind-the-scenes look into the prominent eminent domain Supreme Court case Kelo v. City of New London that challenged government’s abuse of power. His work spotlighting eminent domain abuse was featured by Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes. Kramer’s media relations work, scriptwriting and billboard campaigns have earned him top awards from the Public Relations Society of America, the International Association of Business Communicators, the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, and other organizations. He was featured as a “Voice of Authority” on public relations and the law in the nation’s leading public relations textbook, The Practice of Public Relations, by Fraser Seitel. Kramer received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from New Mexico State University where he has been recognized as a distinguished alumnus. Kramer is a member of the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C., whose members have distinguished themselves in science, literature and the arts, a learned profession or public service. Kramer is currently scripting four additional libretti in English, French, German and Spanish.