Opera sings to every heart, connecting us to our history, to our humanity, and to our community. It is Opera Orlando’s privilege and responsibility to carry on opera’s legacy by sharing emotionally compelling and unique stories. We strive to introduce audiences new and old to the beauty and splendor of the greatest of all art forms.
Celebrating, expanding, and sharing the world’s greatest art form.
Opera Orlando’s mission is to produce high-quality operatic entertainment and educational programs that engage Central Florida audiences.
In January 2016, Opera Orlando raised its banner with the goal of becoming the standard bearer for the art form in central Florida. The region had been well-served for over a half of a century by the Orlando Opera and then, in 2009, by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Florida Opera Theatre. It was from the latter of the three that Opera Orlando was forged as leadership from the art form’s new generation, Executive & Artistic Director Gabriel Preisser spearheaded the project.
With the support of Opera Orlando’s Board of Directors and Membership, work began in earnest to raise the profile of the art form and to generate a new level of excitement for the organization’s offerings. “A Boisterous Rebirth for Opera in Orlando” was declared to match the organization's first production: a comedic double bill of Mozart’s Impresario and Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tirésias.
A crucial part of this boisterous rebirth was a high-profile fundraising gala in downtown Orlando’s elegant Grand Bohemian Hotel. The March 2016 event attracted a packed ballroom of nearly 200 opera lovers, artistic leaders and area movers and shakers galvanizing support and sentiment for the overall project.
“Opera Orlando promised Central Florida a ‘boisterous rebirth’ for opera. With its first full-scale production… the company has delivered the goods.” So wrote the Orlando Sentinel’s Matthew Palm in response to April 2016 performances of Mozart and Poulenc at the Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. He concluded “If this entertaining mix of music and merriment is a taste of what's to come from the troupe, opera fans have reason to rejoice.”
Summertime saw a strengthening of ties with the University of Central Florida with whom Opera Orlando produces the region’s Summer Opera Institute, a campaign to add awareness and enrollment to the Opera Orlando Youth Company; and the return of Opera on Park Summer Concert Series featuring three intimate vocal recitals at Winter Park’s University Club.
Then came great tragedy. The shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub caused our entire nation to mourn and offer help to the hundreds of victims and their families. It became the responsibility of Opera Orlando to champion its art form’s national response to the tragedy. Although still new on the scene, the organization rallied its forces and its friends to promote and produce One Voice Orlando: A Celebration in Song. For the September 11, 2016 performance it was decided to turn the focus on six charitable organizations that work to strengthen the vital infrastructure that supports diversity and understanding in our central Florida community including Orlando Health’s Level One Trauma Center whose incredible efforts this past June saved many lives.
Opera Orlando was assisted by 20 businesses and organizations to make the benefit possible. Held in the Walt Disney Theater at the Dr. Phillips Center, the concert was a rousing success as opera performers from all over the nation and beyond proffered a performance for the ages. Vital funds were raised and awareness enhanced for the benefiting organizations. The music and words spoken contributed mightily to the ongoing healing process in Orlando.
Then it was time to focus in on Opera Orlando’s inaugural season. The company’s summer concert series was at near capacity for its three offerings and the three ensuing Dr. Phillips Center productions, Don Pasquale (November), Amahl and the Night Visitors (December), and Don Giovanni (March) were totally sold out while garnering critical acclaim and audience accolades.
The company got to celebrate its first anniversary in an exciting and unexpected fashion. After Orlando Opera ceased operations in 2009, the Orlando Philharmonic stepped in to carry on the business of presenting large-scale operatic presentation. This they did with fine musical distinction for seven seasons. With the speedy ascent of Opera Orlando’s program, the Philharmonic chose to step back from producing opera, believing that the art form was now in “capable hands.”
Also, the ground was broken on Phase Two of the Dr. Phillips Center. In fall 2020, Steinmetz Hall will open its doors to seat over 1500 in a space ideally suited to present Grand Opera. With the continuing support of the community, Opera Orlando is poised to bring enduring artistic greatness to Central Florida.
During the 2017-18 season, Opera Orlando reached a total audience of more than 10,000 people through its productions, education programs, and auxiliary events. Opera Orlando was able to reach new audiences with the following additions to its initially programmed productions: a Youth Company production of Brundibar in partnership with the Holocaust Memorial Center and the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra; a Zarzuela highlights concert in Osceola County in partnership with Osceola County schools and Central Florida Vocal Arts; an Orlando Fringe Festival production of "The Companion" and "Safe Word" from the opera Threeway; and a Star Trek parody of Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio, partnering with several cosplay and comic book groups in central Florida and promoting the show at the Orlando MegaCon convention with over 100,000 attendees.
Opera Orlando's spirit of collaboration, innovation, and community is truly what sets it apart. The company seeks to continue to collaborate dynamically throughout the region with other arts groups, performers, artists, and musicians. In addition, the Opera seeks to maintain and enhance its ongoing artistic partnerships with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orlando Ballet as all prepare for the opening of Steinmetz Hall at Dr. Phillips Center in the spring of 2020. This will ensure the production of world-class, cutting edge, innovative presentations that will continue to attract and captivate diverse audiences within the community, nationally, and from around the world.