Q&A with Chari Kruse

A quick note from the General & Artistic Director:

“An opera company is only ever as strong as the people who work behind the scenes to make its performances happen. The sentiment especially applies to the DMMO year round staff members – who are often times the most unsung heroes. Chari Kruse has been one of those people for twenty years now, making her one of our longest serving staff members in the history of the Company. Beyond being one of the first contact points for DMMO patrons and artists both in person or over the phone, Chari serves the Company in a myriad of ways, from housing coordination during the Summer Festival Season to in depth work assisting the OPERA Iowa troupe. I hope you’ll join me in congratulating her on her 20th year with DMMO!” – Michael Egel

Chari (right) posing with Kim Dragelevich at DMMO’s Wine & Food Showcase event

Name: Chari Kruse

Position at DMMO: Administrative Assistant

Unofficial title at DMMO: Momma Chari

How long have you worked at DMMO?  20 years, 4 months

Chari (front row, third from left) with the rest of the DMMO staff  in 2004

Outside of the office, where can you be found? At church directing choirs or visiting my sons and wonderful grandchildren.

What is something you do in your job that would surprise people? Every winter, I coordinate (and sometimes create!) the costumes for the OPERA Iowa Educational Touring Troupe (see a few examples below). I also prepare the apartments for principal artists and clean them out at the end of the season.



What has been your favorite DMMO production over the past 20 years? There are several that stand out – our 1999 Street Scene; 2002 Turandot; 2011 La Bohème; and 2017 Billy Budd!

Any favorite/funny office memories? A numbers of years ago we had a group of office interns who liked to celebrate birthdays that happened during the season, so for Jeri, our former Executive Director’s birthday, they decided to fill up her office with pink balloons, pink streamers and “Pretty Princess” dress up stuff.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen since starting here? Use of digital media/computers, additional full time staff and type/variety of shows produced.

Chari with her husband Matt at Hoonah, Icy Strait, in Alaska (Aug 2017)


Hometown: Indianola

Family: Husband Matt; Son Adam, his wife Felicia, grandchildren Lucy and Dean; Son Jason, his wife Sarah, and grandchild due in May!

Favorite composer: Mozart and Debussy

Favorite book: I hate to admit it but the Harry Potter series

Favorite food: Italian

What is your secret talent? Ringing solo handbells and finding a horse that can go on stage!

Describe yourself in three words: organized, positive, resourceful


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s