David Hamilton

General Director

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David Hamilton joined the staff of Fargo-Moorhead Opera in 1999 as Artistic Director and became General Director in 2006. He is responsible for all company operations including all artistic decisions, fundraising and staff oversight and is been the public face of the company. Under his guidance, the company presented its first world premiere with The Poe Project in 2014.  In 2014 he also secured funds to create the Gate City Bank Young Artist program

Prior to joining FM Opera, Mr. Hamilton was a full-time performing musician.  His distinctive, elegant lyric tenor voice has been heard at many opera companies including the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Washington Opera, Vancouver Opera, Opéra de Nice, and Teatro Bellini in Catania. His broad repertoire as an orchestral soloist has led to engagements with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis. Among the awards he has received are First Prize and Opera Prize in the Paris International Competition, First Place in the Eleanor Steber Competition. He is a recipient of North Dakota Governor’s Award for the Arts.

Mr. Hamilton holds a Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School of Music, and a Bachelor of Music with honors degree from the University of Iowa. In addition to his work with FM Opera, Mr. Hamilton is a Professor of Voice and Italian at Concordia College in Moorhead.


Shirley Leiphon

Relationship Director

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Shirley Leiphon joined Fargo-Moorhead Opera as Relationship Director in September 2015. Prior to that, Shirley most recently lived in Boston, MA where she held the position of Administrative Director for the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) for 8 years and Associate Director for the Preparatory School at New England Conservatory for 2 years. Originally from Devils Lake, ND, she received her undergraduate degree from North Dakota State University in Music Education (Voice and Piano emphasis) and taught at Oak Grove Lutheran High School in Fargo, ND before relocating to Boston to pursue her MM degree in Vocal Performance at Boston University. She also worked on her DMA in Voice at the University of MN – Twin Cities.

While in Minneapolis/St.Paul she taught at Apple Valley High as well as sang professionally with Minnesota Opera, Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Minnesota Chorale. Her vocal career also included solo performances with various regional, national & international orchestras & ensembles including: Venezuela Youth Symphony, Oregon Bach Festival, Norman Luboff Singers, Masterworks Chorale, Dallas Symphony Baroque Festival and several appearances as soloist at the NDSU Baroque Festival. 


Iris Fogderud

Office Manager

Iris Fogderud is the office manager/costume coordinator for the Fargo- Moorhead Opera. She is a born and bred North Dakotan having spent her entire life in the state – the past 30 in Fargo. Raised on a small farm, she graduated from Valley City State University with a degree in English and Art. She married and raised four daughters over the years. In 2001, she became involved with opera costumes and in 2009 she assumed the role of Office Manager. Besides wrangling costumes and office chores, Iris enjoys spending time with her grandchildren (4 total), doing home improvement projects, and gardening.