Michelle Rofrano is a Sicilian-American conductor with a keen interest in the intersection of art and social activism. An avid opera conductor, she has recently led productions of Viardot's Cendrillon with City Lyric Opera; 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; Le nozze di Figaro with the Crane School of Music; Trouble in Tahiti, Service Provider, Avow, 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 the 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 Vixen, La Traviata, Blue, and Silent Night with The Glimmerglass Festival; Eugene Onegin and Salome with Spoleto Festival USA; L'elisir d'amore and The Merry Wives of Windsor with Juilliard Opera; Man of La Mancha with Opera Saratoga; and La Bohéme with Opera Birmingham.
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.
In response to the US federal immigration ban of 2017, Rofrano organized and led #NoBan: an orchestral protest concert with an aptly-named ad-hoc ensemble PROTESTRA to raise donations for refugee aid organizations. In 2020, PROTESTRA formally incorporated as a non-profit with the mission of raising awareness about social justice and societal issues through the lens of classical music. The group announced its first season and held its first virtual benefit concert in September 2020, A Concert for Black Lives, which reached more than three thousand viewers and raised donations for organizations that work towards racial equity. A featured performance on the concert included a virtual orchestral rendition of Florence Price's Symphony No. 4 mvt II "Andante Cantabile," which has independently reached ten thousand viewers online. In addition to her recent work as the founder and Artistic Director of PROTESTRA, Michelle is also a co-creator of the new initiative Girls Who Conduct, which provides conducting courses for young women and non-binary musicians in an effort to work towards gender parity on the conducting podium.
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. Appointed Resident Music Director for the NYC-based, women-led company City Lyric Opera during the 2021-22 season, Rofrano's role will expand to that of Music and Artistic Director for the 2022-23 season.
Rofrano completed graduate conducting studies at the Peabody Conservatory and counts Marin Alsop, Joseph Colaneri, Gustav Meier, and Markand Thakar among her mentors.