Welcome to Opera Carolina
Since the dawn of time, humanity has been expressing profound ideas and telling famous stories - especially love stories. These stories are timeless and connect us all through the common experience of love. Opera is the most powerfully expressive art form in its ability to entertain and engage. Despite the popular stereotypes of Grand Opera, it remains a relevant and important part of the cultural landscape for any great community and a great nation.
With our 2013/14 season, Opera Carolina celebrates three true architects of Opera whose inspiration, vision and skill crafted works of art that have endured centuries and still resonate with audiences today.
We open our season with a celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi, the greatest of all Italian Opera composers, with a new production of his beloved AIDA.
We will continue our Puccini Cycle, in which we will perform all of Giacomo Puccini's operas between the January 2012 production of Madama Butterfly and the spring of 2017, with his Il Trittico: three one-act operas created for the Metropolitan Opera, Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, which Opera Carolina has never performed as Puccini intended: a trio of masterworks.
And we will celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Richard Wagner, the towering master of German music-drama who built upon the genius of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, with The Flying Dutchman.
Opera Carolina is Your Opera Company. Attending the Opera is a celebration of great art and a great community. Join us for the entire season as we honor the Architects of Love.
General Director & Principal Conductor
Founded in 1948 as the Charlotte Music Club, Opera Carolina is the largest opera company in the Carolinas; annually serving more than 75,000 people in North Carolina and South Carolina (excluding broadcasts); reaching an average of seventeen counties in the Carolinas each year through its Education & Outreach programs, and is a source of tourism to Charlotte for main stage productions at the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. Opera Carolina is an efficient organization with no accumulated debt, an Endowment fund of roughly two million dollars, and an annual budget of $2.8 million.
The company has a long history of excellent professional leadership including Artistic Directors Richard Marshall and Charles Rosecranz, and General Director James Wright. Currently under the leadership of General Director & Principal Conductor James Meena, Opera Carolina has nearly doubled in size under Mo. Meena’s leadership, and today produces three main stage productions each season and an extensive array of educational programs, including the Opera Express statewide educational tours, The Opera Carolina Academy and Student Night at the Opera.
As the largest opera company in the Carolinas and one of the most successful in the Southeast, Opera Carolina’s footprint is region-wide. The audience for performances at the Belk Theater averages 78% attendance, nearly 30% of which are opera lovers who travel from outside Mecklenburg County to attend performances. Our subscriber base is comprised of people living as far away as Raleigh, Charleston and Atlanta. The audience for Opera performances is diverse in age and ethnic background. On average, 22% of the Opera audience comes from non-Caucasian communities, and the 25-40 age group is our second largest audience demographic.
The company has a long-standing commitment to creating and producing new works of art and preserving the masterpieces of past generations. In the last eight years the company has presented six regional premieres and three new American operas, including Cold Sassy Tree and Susannah by South Carolina native son Carlisle Floyd, and Margaret Garner by Richard Danielpour and Toni Morrison.
Opera Carolina is the only Charlotte performing arts organization to be featured on national radio. The 2007 production of Margaret Garner and the 2008 production of Faust were broadcast over NPR World of Opera, nationally syndicated to 92 stations and supported by Wells Fargo Private Bank. The 2011 productions of Eugene Onegin and Il Trovatore are slated for broadcast in 2012.
Opera Carolina is governed by a forty-member Board of Directors comprised of business and community leaders. The Board has a deep commitment to the success of the company. In each of the last five years, individual and company donations from the Board of Directors have accounted for 50% of giving in these two categories.
Opera Carolina is a member of Opera America and is supported by the Arts & Science Council of Charlotte–Mecklenburg, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the North Carolina Arts Council.