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The Toledo Opera is an American opera company in Toledo, Ohio, performing in the Valentine Theatre in downtown Toledo. The company's season consists of three fully-realized operas, plus additional community programming for the Northwest Ohio region.
Founded in 1959, the company's first General Director was Lester Freedman with conductor Joseph Hawthorne serving as Music Director.In 1960, Freedman founded the Dayton Opera and for many years he led the two organizations simultaneously - an arrangement which cut down on production costs for both companies. Mr. Freedman enjoyed a great collaboration with many Metropolitan Opera stars who came to Toledo Opera to sing. These included Placido Domingo, Lili Chookasian, Chester Ludgin, Roberta Peters, Robert Merrill, Barry Morell, James McCracken, Louise Russell, Martina Arroyo and many more including conductors Anton Coppola, Anton Guadagno, and Imre Pallo. In 1983, Freedman was forced out of his position by the Toledo Opera Board after in-fighting among the company's leadership. Several interim directors kept the company going over the next three years, including David Bamberger and Johan van der Merwe.
In 1986, conductor James Meena became the company's new permanent general director and successfully produced opera at the Masonic Theatre (now called the Stranahan Theatre).During Mo. Meena's tenure, many rising opera starts appeared in Toledo Opera's productions including Renee Fleming, Mark Delavan, and Marcello Giordani. In 1994, Toledo philanthropists Theodore and Lucille Gorski created a major financial boon for the company through a one million dollar challenge grant which enabled it to establish an endowment. That same year the company played a major role in supporting the renovation of the historic Valentine Theatre in Toledo; a decision which saved the theatre from demolition. The renovations of the theater took several years, and Toledo Opera could not move into its new permanent home until 1999. The company had the honor of opening the newly renovated theater for Toledo Opera's 40th Season gala night on October 22, 1999, with a production of Giacomo Puccini's Tosca , featuring Diana Soviero in the title role.
In 2000, Renay Conlin succeeded Meena as the director of Toledo Opera. David Shengold highlighted the company in the February 2006 issue of Opera magazine, commenting that "Toledo's proudest legacy of its glory days of glass and automobile manufacturing is its astonishing Museum of Art, free to all and with a collection to make strong curators weak. But operatically-minded visitors should not overlook the worthy Toledo Opera, housed in the impressive yet intimate Valentine Theatre, a beautiful 900-seat house built in 1895."In 2005, Conlin launched a capital campaign to increase the endowment and was able to raise $2 million. Ms. Conlin was also able to secure the company's first NEA grant.
In March 2011, Conlin resigned from Toledo Opera when she took a position as CEO of Napa Valley Museum.The board of directors appointed a former development director, Suzanne Rorick, as Toledo Opera's new executive director. Under Rorick's leadership, the company has focused on fundraising and education and has undergone an artistic re-organization that saw the return of several former Toledo Opera colleagues, including James Meena, who currently serves as guest conductor and principal artistic adviser. Ms. Rorick has brought financial stability and artistic excellence to the company with many of today's operatic stars gracing its productions including Jennifer Rowley, Kathryn Lewek, Othalie Graham, and Michael Chioldi.
In 2018, Toledo Opera presented the world premiere of I Dream , a "rhythm and blues opera" with libretto, lyrics, and music by Douglas Tappin, chronicling the last 36 hours of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's life. I Dream was first conceived in 2006, and an earlier revision of the work was performed in Atlanta in 2010.
Opera On Wheels, its resident artist education program, annually performs for 22,000 elementary and junior high students in the region and the resident artists are featured in the mainstage productions providing them with exposure and education from world-class singers, conductors, and directors. Toledo Opera's preschool program, An Opera Is A Story, visits preschool classrooms in Toledo Public Schools to develop literacy and social-emotional skills in children. This program helps prepare children for kindergarten as they practice Ohio Early Learning objectives.
Opera Australia is the principal opera company in Australia. Based in Sydney, its performance season at the Sydney Opera House accompanied by the Opera Australia Orchestra runs for approximately eight months of the year, with the remainder of its time spent at the Arts Centre Melbourne, where it is accompanied by Orchestra Victoria. In 2004, the company gave 226 performances in its subscription seasons in Sydney and Melbourne, attended by more than 294,000 people.
Lyric Opera of Chicago is one of the leading opera companies in the United States. It was founded in Chicago in 1954, under the name 'Lyric Theatre of Chicago' by Carol Fox, Nicola Rescigno and Lawrence Kelly, with a season that included Maria Callas's American debut in Norma. The company was re-organized by Fox in 1956 under its present name and, after her 1981 departure, it has continued to be of one of the major opera companies in the United States. The Lyric is housed in a theater and related spaces in the Civic Opera Building. These spaces are now owned by the Lyric.
The Opera Company of Boston was an American opera company located in Boston, Massachusetts, that was active from the late 1950s through the 1980s. The company was founded by American conductor Sarah Caldwell in 1958 under the name Boston Opera Group.
Santa Fe Opera (SFO) is an American opera company, located 7 miles (11 km) north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. After creating the Opera Association of New Mexico in 1956, its founding director, John Crosby, oversaw the building of the first opera house on a newly acquired former guest ranch of 199 acres (0.81 km2).
Christoph von Dohnányi is a German conductor.
Great Lakes Theater, originally known as the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival, is a professional classic theater company in Cleveland, Ohio, United States. Founded in 1962, Great Lakes is the second-largest regional theater in Northeast Ohio. It specializes in large-cast classic plays with a strong foundation in the works of Shakespeare and features an educational outreach program. The company performs its main stage productions in rotating repertory at the Hanna Theatre in Playhouse Square, which reopened on September 20, 2008. The organization shares a resident company of artists with the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. On its main stage and through its education programs, GLT connects approximately 85,000 adults and students to the classics each season.
Opera Omaha is a major regional opera company in Omaha, Nebraska. Founded in 1958, the professional company is widely known for the International Fall Festival events it held in the 1980s and 1990s, which garnered international attention and served as the U.S. and world premieres for a number of notable works. One of these performances, the 1990 U.S. premiere of the 1841 work Maria Padilla, was among the primary debuts for noted soprano Renee Fleming. "I’ve been calling all my singer friends and saying, 'You’ve got to sing for this company.'" Fleming said at the time. It has "a lot of vision." In 2007, the Toronto Star said "Opera Omaha has grown into one of the continent's most enterprising regional opera companies."
Wexford Festival Opera is an opera festival that takes place in the town of Wexford in south-eastern Ireland during the months of October and November.
Skylight Music Theatre, known until January 2012 as Skylight Opera Theatre, is a professional light opera and musical theatre company located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Founded in 1959, Skylight performs in the 358-seat Cabot Theatre at the Broadway Theatre Center in Milwaukee. Offering a broad spectrum of works, including Gilbert and Sullivan and other light opera, small-scale operas and musicals, the company is known for its all-English repertoire.
Pittsburgh Opera is an American opera company based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh Opera gives performances in several venues, primarily at the Benedum Center, with other performances at the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School (CAPA) Theater. Pittsburgh Opera headquarters is located in the former George Westinghouse Air Brake Factory, 2425 Liberty Avenue, in the Strip District. Pittsburgh Opera has been awarded LEED Silver Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council and is the first "green" opera company in the U.S. in the Operations and Maintenance Category. Pittsburgh Opera's headquarters is also the oldest green building in Pittsburgh.
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (OTSL) is an American summer opera festival held in St. Louis, Missouri. Typically four operas, all sung in English, are presented each season, which runs from late May to late June. Performances are accompanied by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, which is divided into two ensembles, each covering two of the operas, for the season. The company's performances are presented in the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of Webster University.
Central Catholic High School, is a Catholic, co-educational, college prep secondary school in Toledo, Ohio. It is operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo and is the largest Catholic high school in the area. CCHS was founded as Cathedral High School in 1919, with its name change in 1920. The school, which is located one mile northwest of Downtown Toledo, offers two possible degrees: honors or college prep. It has received two School of Excellence Awards and the Drug Prevention Award.
Dayton Opera is an American opera company based in Dayton, Ohio. The company makes its home at the Schuster Performing Arts Center in downtown Dayton where it annually produces three operas and an operatic concert and has an annual budget of approximately $2 million. Kathleen Clawson is the Artistic Director.
The Toledo Alliance for the Performing Arts was created in 2019 when the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and the Toledo Ballet merged. Based in Toledo, Ohio, it operated with a $13.2 million budget in its fiscal year 2020 and maintains the two brand names Toledo Symphony (sic) and Toledo Ballet, each with its own website. The orchestra part of TAPA performs at various venues, including the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle Theater, the Valentine Theatre, the Toledo Club, the Stranahan Theater and some twenty churches and performing arts centers across the region.
Detroit Opera is the principal opera company in Michigan, USA. The company is based in Detroit, where it performs in the Detroit Opera House. Prior to February 28, 2022, the company was named Michigan Opera Theatre.
The Valentine Theatre is located in the downtown district of Toledo, Ohio at the corner of Superior and Adams Streets. The 127-year-old facility seats 901.
James Meena is an American conductor and opera administrator. Formerly the General Director and Principal Conductor of Toledo Opera in Ohio, since 2000 he has been the General Director and Principal Conductor of Opera Carolina, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Viswa Subbaraman is an American conductor. Subbaraman was co-founder and artistic director of Opera Vista, and served as artistic director of Skylight Music Theatre. He served as music director and conductor for two productions at the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Houston.
Michael Capasso is an American opera impresario and stage director. Formerly the General Director of Dicapo Opera Theatre in New York City which he founded in 1981, he is presently the General Director of New York City Opera.
Brad Cresswell is an American radio broadcaster and former opera singer who is currently based at WGTE-FM in Toledo, Ohio. He is also the creator and host of Living American Composers: New Music from Bowling Green, a radio series sponsored by Bowling Green State University and syndicated internationally by The WFMT Radio Network. Since 2012 he has hosted the popular Opera Quiz intermission feature heard during the international Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts.