OUR MISSION
OPERA America is dedicated to supporting the creation, presentation and enjoyment of opera.

OPERA America draws on resources and expertise from within and beyond the opera field to advance a mutually beneficial agenda that serves and strengthens the field through programs in the following categories:

Creation: Artistic services that help artists and companies increase the creativity and excellence of opera productions, especially North American works;

Presentation: Opera company services that address the specific needs of staff, trustees and volunteers;

Enjoyment: Education, audience development and community services that increase all forms of opera appreciation.

The association provides members with an array of publications and online resources, regional workshops, an annual conference and network-specific services such as conference calls, listservs and direct contact with staff with expertise in opera production, administration and education. OPERA America provides members with tools to maximize the effectiveness of financial and human resources, expand the scope of repertoire and programs, and extend their reach to new and diverse audiences.

Founded in 1970, OPERA America has an international membership that includes nearly 150 Professional Company Members, 300 Associate and Business Members, 2,000 Individual Members and over 16,000 subscribers to its electronic news service.

In their voice
David DiChiera
Former General Director, Michigan Opera Theatre
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From 1979 to 1983, Dr. DiChiera served as president of OPERA America. Under his leadership, the national organization established a major initiative in opera education programs throughout the country. In the area of public information, he encouraged OPERA America to focus on strategies to help generate a positive image and interest in opera for a greater portion of the population. During this time, DiChiera spearheaded a major project entitled Opera for the Eighties and Beyond, which developed bold, innovative methods of encouraging and funding new American musical theater works. The success of this project led to the development of another OPERA America project, the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund/Opera for a New America Program, of which DiChiera served as chairman for two years. This project encouraged companies to reach previously under-addressed segments of the population, and has been instrumental in securing funding for this multimillion dollar project.

Our Sponsors
OPERA America.org is sponsored generously, in part, by funds from:


Financials
Click here to download OPERA America's most current Audited Financial Statement.

Click here to download OPERA America's most current Form 990.
Our History
1970 Seattle Opera presents world premiere of Carlisle Floyd's Of Mice and Men, where Glynn Ross convenes a meeting to finalize plans for a national service organization for opera

OPERA America is incorporated with 20 charter members; Robert Collinge of Baltimore Opera is board president; charter meeting held in Washington D.C.

Charter members include: Baltimore Civic Opera Society, Center Opera Co. of Minneapolis, Charlotte Opera Assoc., Colorado Springs Opera, Denver Lyric Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Opera Society of Washington, Mississippi Opera, Philadelphia Grand Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, St. Paul Opera, San Diego Opera, Seattle Opera, Tulsa Opera, Lake George Opera Festival, Cincinnati Summer Opera Festival, Omaha Civic Opera Festival, New Orleans Opera House, Kansas City Lyric Theatre, Kentucky Opera
1971 OPERA America holds its first annual meeting and national auditions in New York City with delegates from 27 companies
1972 OPERA America opens its first office in Baltimore, MD

OPERA America holds annual meeting in Dallas

At OPERA America's recommendation, the National Opera Institute awards $5,000 each to 28 emerging opera artists

Opera Memphis joins OPERA America

NEA recognizes OPERA America as the industry representative
1973 David Baber becomes executive director of OPERA America (1973-1974)

OPERA America members testify on Capitol Hill about the need to reauthorize the NEA

OPERA America holds annual meeting and auditions in Washington, D.C.

OPERA America moves its offices to Washington, D.C.

Vancouver Opera becomes OPERA America's first Canadian member
1974 Ann Farris-Darling becomes executive director of OPERA America (1974-1979)
1975 OPERA America holds annual meeting in Miami

John Crosby of The Santa Fe Opera is OPERA America board president (1975-1979)

OPERA America meets in Santa Fe with 36 companies and the NEA to discuss arts support through inflation/recession

1976 OPERA America holds annual meeting in San Francisco

Chattanooga Symphony and Nevada Opera join OPERA America

OPERA America initiates Public Advocacy Program
1977 OPERA America starts management program for marketing, financial and development networks
1978 OPERA America holds annual conference in Chicago

Mobile Opera, Fargo-Moorhead Opera and Indianapolis Opera join OPERA America

OPERA America holds first workshop dedicated to education
1979 OPERA America holds annual conference in Miami

OPERA America establishes the 504 Special Constituencies Program, offering assistance to opera companies in meeting section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act to make the arts accessible to a broader audience, including disabled people, the elderly, veterans, and those in nursing homes, mental institutions or prisons.

Cleveland Opera joins OPERA America

David DiChiera of Michigan Opera Theatre becomes OPERA America Board President (1979-1983)
1980 Martin Kagan becomes executive director of OPERA America (1980-1990)
1981 OPERA America holds annual conference in New Orleans
1982 Anchorage Opera and Boston Lyric Opera join OPERA America

OPERA America holds annual conference in San Francisco
1983 OPERA America holds annual conference in Toronto

Robert Herman of Greater Miami Opera becomes OPERA America board president (1983-1985)

Opera Columbus joins OPERA America
1984 In its inaugural year, OPERA America's Opera for the Eighties and Beyond (OFTEAB) funds Exploration Fellowships for eight companies and co-sponsors the "New Visions in American Opera" with the Brooklyn Academy of Music; funding from Rockefeller Foundation

OPERA America holds annual conference in New York City in conjunction with the Metropolitan Opera's centennial season

Madison Opera, Piedmont Opera, and the Dayton Opera Association join OPERA America
1985 Through OFTEAB, OPERA America gives the Hidden Valley Opera Ensemble a grant to commission Hotel Eden by composer Henry Mollicone.

David Gockley of Houston Grand Opera becomes OPERA America board president (1985-1990)

Skylight Opera Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Glimmerglass Opera, Knoxville Opera, The Atlanta Opera, Opera Carolina, the Greensboro Opera Company, and the Edmonton Opera Association join OPERA America

OPERA America holds annual conference in Washington, D.C.
1986 Los Angeles Opera, Eugene Opera and Opera Lyra Ottawa join OPERA America

OFTEAB supports Houston Grand Opera's commission and production of Nixon in China with an $80,000 grant

NEA grants $25,000 for OFTEAB, the first of six consecutive annual grants for that program

OPERA America holds annual conference in Miami

1987 OFTEAB announces 12 grants supporting the commission and production of new works; includes a $113,700 grant to the The Dallas Opera for Argento's The Aspern Papers and $85,000 to Kentucky Opera for Glass's The Fall of the House of Usher

OPERA America holds annual conference in Dallas

Pacific Opera Victoria, Ashlawn Opera Festival and Manitoba Opera join OPERA America

1988 OPERA America holds annual conference in Houston

OPERA America announces initiative with Very Special Arts to bring opera to the disabled

Opera Colorado and Austin Lyric Opera join OPERA America

Attendance at mainstage performances of OPERA America members reaches a new high of almost four million

Through OFTEAB, OPERA America supports the commission and production of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis's Under the Double Moon by Anthony Davis
1989 Lyric Opera of Chicago launches "Toward the 21st Century", a program to support the commission of new American opera

OFTEAB grants the San Francisco Opera $25,000 to workshop Weisgall's Esther and to commission Frida by Robert Xavier Rodriguez (American Music Theater Festival) and Bolivar by Thea Musgrave (Los Angeles Music Center Opera)

MetLife grant of $15,000 to launch Music! Words! Opera!

OPERA America holds annual conference in San Francisco

Banff, Sacramento Opera Company, Opera Roanoke and Nashville Opera join OPERA America
1990 OPERA America absorbs the Central Opera Service archives from the Metropolitan Opera Guild with a $150,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Townsend Opera Players join OPERA America

OPERA America's 20th annual conference takes place in Washington, D.C.

Ardis Krainik, Lyric Opera of Chicago, becomes board president (1990-1993)

Marc A. Scorca becomes CEO of OPERA America

Inaugural year for Music! Words! Opera!, piloted in St. Louis with an NEA Grant of $10,000

OFTEAB grants $379,675 for commissions and productions of new opera works, including Monk's Atlas at Houston Grand Opera, the American Music Theater Festival's premiere of Davis' Amistad and the Lyric Opera of Chicago commission of McTeague by Bolcom
1991 Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund grants $5 million to OPERA America for Opera for a New America program

OPERA America begins Grants to Singers> program (formerly the London/Sullivan Grants to Singers program of the National Institute of Music Theater)

Marc A. Scorca helps draft legislation for O and P visas for foreign artists

OPERA America holds annual conference in Chicago

Musical Traditions joins OPERA America
1992 OPERA America creates a membership category for individual and affiliate members

OPERA America holds annual conference in San Diego with keynote speaker Gerard Mortier

First OPERA America regional meeting is held in Charlotte, NC

Opera Atelier, Tacoma Opera, and Nautilus Music-Theater join OPERA America
1993 Plato Karayanis becomes OPERA America board president (1993-1996)

Boheme Opera New Jersey joins OPERA America

OPERA America receives $200,000 from the The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create the Trustee/Volunteer Resource Center

OPERA America holds annual conference in Miami with keynote speaker Colin Graham
1994 Opera Theater of Pittsburgh and Tapestry New Opera Works join OPERA America

OPERA America holds annual conference in Seattle, with playwright Terrence McNally as the keynote speaker
1995 OPERA America's website is established
1996 OPERA America receives $300,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to launch OPERA America Online

Publication of first Audition Advice for Singers

OPERA America holds annual conference in Los Angeles with keynote speaker Julie Taymor

Meeting of current and prospective international members in Paris lays the groundwork for the European Opera Network

Opera Idaho joins OPERA America

Plato Karayanis becomes board chairman; Marc A. Scorca's title changes to president

OPERA America launches online Season Schedule, Set Directory and Singer Database
1997 Kevin Smith becomes chairman of the board (1997-2000)

OPERA America holds annual conference in Philadelphia; Carlisle Floyd is keynote speaker

Publication of The Singer/Manager Relationship, part of OPERA America's Perspectives series that features articles by opera professionals for young artists

Nashville Opera and Tennessee Opera Theater merge

49% of OPERA America members have a website

Opera North and Chants Libres join OPERA America
1998 66% of OPERA America members have a website

Opera Southwest, American Opera Projects and El Paso Opera join OPERA America

OPERA America holds annual conference in Minneapolis, with first New Works Sampler; author and consultant Stan Davis gives the keynote speech
1999 Queen of Puddings Music Theatre joins OPERA America

Challenge grant received by OPERA America from Helen F. Whitaker Fund to create The Opera Fund

OPERA America holds annual conference in Vancouver
2000 Opera Boston joins OPERA America

OPERA America receives $350,000 grant from American Express for a three-year audience research study

OPERA America holds annual conference in Houston; Tod Machover is keynote speaker
2001 Ian Campbell becomes OPERA America board chairman (2001-2004)

Center for Contemporary Opera, Spokane Opera and Pine Mountain Music Festival join OPERA America

European Opera Network merges with Eurolyrica to form Opera Europa

OPERA America holds annual conference in Atlanta; composer William Bolcolm is keynote speaker
2002 Libby Larsen is the first composer elected to the OPERA America board of directors

First Audience Development Awards from The Opera Fund

Philip Glass delivers keynote address at annual conference in Toronto

Janice Mayer is the first artist manager elected to the board of directors

Opera in the Heights joins OPERA America
2003 Long Beach Opera joins OPERA America

OPERA America holds annual conference in Saint Louis with keynote speaker Graham Vick
2004 Charles MacKay becomes board chairman (2004-2008)

Asheville Lyric Opera joins OPERA America

OPERA America holds annual conference in Pittsburgh, in conjunction with the first National Performing Arts Convention
2005 OPERA America moves to New York City

NEA and Department of Defense launch Great American Voices with support from OPERA America

OPERA America holds annual conference in Detroit, featuring premiere of Danielpour's Margaret Garner; Toni Morrison is keynote speaker

Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia, Festival Opera, Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, Long Leaf Opera and Wichita Grand Opera join OPERA America
2006 OPERA America creates Educational Producing Associate member category

Light Opera Oklahoma and Opera Santa Barbara join OPERA America

OPERA America holds annual conference in Seattle; Peter Gelb is keynote speaker
2007 Opera Providence and Gotham Chamber Opera join OPERA America

OPERA America's Young Friends of Opera program is established

OPERA America holds annual conference in Miami; Keynote speaker is composer Osvaldo Golijov
2008 Anthony Freud becomes board chairman

OPERA America holds annual conference in Denver in conjunction with second National Performing Arts Convention; keynote is Gerard Mortier

Inaugural NEA Opera Honors go to Carlisle Floyd, Richard Gaddes, Leontyne Price, James Levine

DuPage Opera Theatre, Delaware Valley Opera, Opera Circle, Opera Vivente and Opera on the James join OPERA America
2009 OPERA America holds annual conference in Houston; Alex Ross is keynote speaker

OPERA America receives Mellon Foundation grant of $770,000 for bolstering electronic, media and professional development services

Green Mountain Opera Festival, Center City Opera Theater, Opera New Jersey, Sugar Creek Symphony and the Family Opera Initiative join OPERA America

Director-Designer Showcase launches
2010 OPERA America holds annual conference in Los Angeles; keynote speaker is composer Daniel Cátan

Opera San Jose, Opera for the Young, Opéra Français de New York, West Edge Opera, Opera Theatre of Weston and Nickel City Opera join OPERA America

OPERA America celebrates its 40th anniversary, and Marc A. Scorca marks 20 years with the organization
2011 OPERA America holds its annual conference in Boston with keynote speaker Nicholas Negroponte

OPERA America creates the online Career Guide for Opera

OPERA America launches the New Works Forum, supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Livermore Valley Opera, Golden Gate Opera, Opera Parallèle and Beth Morrison Projects join OPERA America
2012 OPERA America holds its annual conference in Philadelphia with keynote speaker Douglas McLennan

Frayda B. Lindemann, Ph.D., becomes OPERA America board chairman, the first opera company trustee to hold this position in the organization’s history

On July 1, OPERA America unveils its new logo and branding

OPERA America opens the National Opera Center at its headquarters in New York City

OPERA America holds its inaugural Marketing/PR Forum

American Lyric Theater, Chelsea Opera, HERE Arts Center and Opera Coeur d’Alene join OPERA America
2013 OPERA America launches the Building Opera Audiences grant program, thanks to the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, supporting the efforts of opera companies to build informed, enthusiastic audiences for opera through innovative marketing projects

OPERA America launches Opera Grants for Female Composers, made possible through the generosity of The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation

OPERA America holds its annual conference in Vancouver with keynote speaker Don M. Randel

The New York Opera Alliance is founded by OPERA America and 19 opera companies and producers in New York City

Intermountain Opera, Salt Marsh Opera, Juventas New Music Ensemble, OperaLancaster, Hubbard Hall Opera Theater, The Industry, UrbanArias, VisionIntoArt and Opera Ebony join OPERA America

Thomas Hampson serves as honorary chairman of National Opera Week.
2014 OPERA America holds its annual conference in San Francisco, which breaks the all-time conference attendance record. The Opening Session features Jake Heggie and Frederica von Stade

Guerilla Opera, Lyric Opera of the North, Opera Naples, Opera on Tap, Solo Opera, Opera Fort Collins, the little OPERA THEATRE of NY and Skylight Music Theatre join OPERA America
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