Fanfare Contributor Bio
Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold
Though I presently live in coastal Maine, I was born and raised in the metropolitan New York area, where my grandparents and parents nurtured me on opera—Verdi and Puccini, of course—and classical music. I fell in love with the Old Met (and later the New) at an early age and was a regular standee throughout my high school and college days, as well as frequenting New York’s many concert halls and theaters.
I took my A.B. with concentrations in comparative literature, theater, music, and art history at Sarah Lawrence College and my M.A. in literature and journalism at Fairleigh Dickinson University, after which I taught literature and drama in a number of excellent prep schools in New Jersey, Lake Forest, IL, and New York City before leaving academe to work as a journalist and in the classical music business. For two decades my music and visual arts reviews and features appeared regularly in Opera News, Gramophone, Opéra International, Opera, Music Magazine, Beaux Arts, and The Crisis, and my byline headed numerous program essays and record liner notes. Among my non-fiction works, the best known is We Need A Hero! Heldentenors from Wagner’s Time to the Present: A Critical History. Working for 11 years as baritone Thomas Hampson’s personal assistant, I collaborated with him on his song research, recital planning, and helped to create several television projects, serving as associate producer and content consultant/writer, among them I Hear America Singing for WNET/PBS and Voices of the Heart: Stephen Foster for German television.
With my late husband Gregory, who turned me into an ardent Wagner fan, and in my work for Mr. Hampson, I travelled much of the U.S. and Europe, visiting the great opera houses, concert halls, and festivals of the world and gathering a lifetime of glorious memories.
Since moving to Brunswick, Maine, in 2009, I have published two novels and a collection of short stories, as well as a screenplay of my first book, Raising Rufus: A Maine Love Story, which won the 2011 Grand Prize at the Rhode Island Film Festival. I also continue to work as a journalist, serving as senior writer for Scene4 Magazine, Maine regional editor for Broadway World and Talkin’ Broadway and a proud contributor to Fanfare Magazine.