Florida Opera Theatre is now Opera Orlando with new leadership and direction
Opera in Central Florida is due for some major changes in this new year. It has been the mission of the Florida Opera Theatre to act as the standard bearer of the art form since its formation in 2009. The company has offered performances and special events that have consistently honored the totality of the operatic experience.
“It’s time for opera to once again become a vital part of the greater Orlando artistic landscape,” said John Wettach, President of the Florida Opera Theatre's Board of Directors. "Our entire board has taken on the challenge to lead our organization into a new level of excellence and impact. There will be powerful changes in every aspect of how we do business."
As of January 18, 2016 the company has officially changed its name to Opera Orlando reflecting the mission to be the regional beachhead for the art form. And it is with new and dynamic leadership that this recharged vision will be realized.
"I'm delighted to announce that Gabriel Preisser has been appointed our executive and artistic director," said Wettach. "He is renowned locally and nationally for the quality and intensity of his performances. While working with him on our board, I discovered how extensive his knowledge is of the business side of opera."
Preisser is a native of the Orlando area and earned degrees in Vocal Performance and Business from Florida State University and a Master's Degree in Voice from the University of Houston.
“It’s time to put opera back in Orlando,” said Preisser. “I’ve been deeply involved with opera for most of my life. Now with the help of the many people who built Florida Opera Theatre, I have the opportunity to be part of something truly exciting in a part of the world that I consider to be my home. Our plan is to reshape the community's idea of what opera is."
[Please see biography for more information on Preisser HERE ]
To assist him in this vision, Preisser has enlisted the talents of another opera professional, who is a native Floridian, and who also studied voice at Florida State University. Vince Connor, who earned his Master's Degree from the University of Arizona, has been named to the position of general director. “This is what I always hoped to come home to, " said Connor. “We have the opportunity to take an already wonderful company and launch it into rarefied air.” Connor, who will be relocating from Philadelphia to Orlando, brings experience as a professional performer, director and teacher.
[Please see biography for more information on Connor HERE ]
"Vince and I both feel that the key to exciting audiences and building the future for our art form depends on breaking new ground in the presentation of our repertoire," said Preisser. "It will be fun and unpredictable to attend productions at Opera Orlando. Our traditions will always be honored but never stand in the way of fresh ideas and creativity."
The first hint of their handiwork will be on display in the upcoming double-bill of Mozart’s “The Impresario” and Poulenc’s “Les Mamelles de Tiresias.” These Opera Orlando performances will take place April 22, 23 and 24 in the Jim & Alexis Pugh Theater at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
"We're calling this production 'A Boisterous Rebirth for Opera in Orlando,'” said Connor. “We'll start things off this spring with 'Boisterous Beginnings,' a series of special programs, presentations and performances that will prepare the community to enjoy and appreciate what we'll have on stage."
An additional release with full details about the productions and lead up events will be distributed in early February.
Judy Lee, past President of Florida Opera Theatre's Board of Directors, brings a much-needed perspective to the "rebirth" of the organization she helped to found.
"We've weathered many challenges over the past years to assure that the life blood of opera kept flowing for us all in Orlando," she said. "Now we know that not only will the music go on, but we're going to touch the lives of thousands more with the beauty and power of the art form we all love."