About Figaro Systems, Inc
Mission Statement: To enhance the excitement and enjoyment of live performance or presentations by removing barriers to accessibility with intelligent technology through an environment that fosters creativity and innovation.
The concept that became Figaro's Simultext® seatback system began in 1992 as a dinner conversation between three opera professionals.
Patrick Markle, who at that time was with the Santa Fe Opera, was trying to figure out a way to make the theatre more accessible to patrons with disabilities.
Proving that three heads are better than one, Patrick worked together with Geoff Webb and Ron Erkman to devise the first prototype of a personal seatback titling device. John Crosby of the Santa Fe Opera loved the idea and saw its potential for all the opera patrons.
The Figaro Simultext® system was installed at the Santa Fe Opera in 1998, as part of a complete refurbishment of the opera house.
The three inventors soon realized they were on to something important, and in 1998 a patent was issued. Figaro set up offices in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1999.
Since then, Figaro has installed hardware and software at Wien Staatsoper in Vienna, Teatro degli Arcimboldi in Milan, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, the Royal Opera House in London, the Piermarini at La Scala in Milan, and most recently at the Ellie Caulkins' Opera House in Denver, Colorado.
Additional installations of Figaro systems have occurred at the Des Moines Metro Opera, Seattle Opera, Kansas City's Lyric Opera, and the Roy O. Disney theatre in the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque.
Today we are honored to be partners with some of the premier opera houses in the world.
Figaro President, CEO, and Co-Founder. Previously, he served as Figaro's Vice President responsible for the design and engineering of titling systems. Geoff continues to pursure the research and development of new groundbreaking technologies.
Previously, he served as the design engineer at the Metropolitan Opera and also as a visiting professor at the Yale School of Drama where he taught a graduate class in computer-aided structural design techniques.
Mr. Webb holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale University and a Bachelor of Science-Architecture from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.
Figaro Director of Systems Integration Bryan Hollar lead the development of the in-Ovation® software interface and trains clients in the installation and operation their Simultext® system. Mr. Hollar is currently Figaro’s Project Manager for their seat-back system installation at the Kauffman Center for the performing arts in Kansas City Missouri
Before joining Figaro in June of 2001, he had spent three years as head of the titles department for the Santa Fe Opera, where he worked closely with Geoff Webb during the Figaro installation.
Bryan has a diverse background including music production and performance, TV and Film production and project management.
Patrick Markle, member of Figaro's board of directors. Former president and CEO.
Previously, Patrick worked as production director for San Francisco Opera and as Production Director for The Santa Fe Opera. He also served as assistant technical director at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
Mr. Markle earned his Masters of Fine Arts Degree from Yale School of Drama and his B.A. from Niagara University. Mr. Markle received a Fellowship for Artists from the Japan Foundation, during which he researched the influence of Western Opera on Kabuki Theatre.
Figaro Co-Founder Ron Erkman spent the last 18 years at the Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, New York providing research and development in the areas of special effects, motion control and automation, as well as repair and upkeep to its many electronic and electromechanical subsystems.
A six-year U.S. Navy veteran trained in Nuclear Power and Satellite Communications, Mr. Erkman received a Bachelors of Engineering Science from the City University of New York.