Florida Grand Opera's Timeline

Luciano Pavarotti and Renata Scotti in La bohème, 1972. Photo by John Pineda.

 

1941

Arturo di Filippi, an accomplished tenor and voice teacher at the University of Miami, establishes the Opera Guild of Greater Miami with performances presented at the Miami Senior High School Auditorium.

1945

Broward County opera enthusiasts found The Opera Guild, Inc. of Fort Lauderdale. Their mission is to present the Opera Guild of Greater Miami’s productions in Fort Lauderdale at the War Memorial Auditorium.

1941–1972

Dr. di Filippi regularly brings leading artists from the Metropolitan Opera to South Florida, presenting them in the roles for which they garner worldwide acclaim, and earning Greater Miami Opera the nickname, “The Met South.”

1948

Regina Resnick makes her company debut as Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly.

1951

Miami-Dade County Auditorium opens west of the downtown area and becomes the Opera Guild of Greater Miami’s new mainstage home.

1961

Renata Tebaldi makes her Greater Miami Opera debut as Maddalena in Andrea Chénier.

1962

Richard Tucker makes his company debut as Alfredo in La traviata, and Birgit Nilsson sings the lead in Turandot.

1965

Greater Miami Opera presents a production of Lucia di Lammermoor with Dame Joan Sutherland featuring a young Italian tenor, Luciano Pavarotti, making his American debut. Grand opera begins to flourish in South Florida.

1966

Tenor Franco Corelli makes his Greater Miami Opera debut as Radamès in Aida.

1968

Plácido Domingo makes his company debut as Riccardo in Un ballo in maschera.

1972

Renata Scotto makes her Greater Miami Opera debut as Mimì in La bohème.

1973

Dr. di Filippi retires and is succeeded by Robert Herman, who served as Assistant General Manager at the Metropolitan Opera under Sir Rudolph Bing. During Herman’s administration, the world’s leading opera singers continue to appear with the company, and production values are dramatically elevated. Greater Miami Opera enters the ranks of the country’s leading opera companies and establishes itself as one of the premier cultural institutions in the southeastern United States.

1975

Mr. Herman begins the tradition of presenting national and international casts for South Florida audiences. National casts feature younger singers and English-language performances. The finest opera singers in the world compose the international casts. OPERA America, opera’s service organization, holds its annual conference in Miami for the first time.

1976

Jon Vickers sings the title role of Otello at Miami-Dade County Auditorium.

1978

Luciano Pavarotti and Mirella Freni sing the lead roles in La bohème.

1982

Greater Miami Opera presents the world premiere of Minutes till Midnight by Robert Ward, the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer of The Crucible.

1985

Robert M. Heuer is appointed General Manager when Herman retires. During Heuer’s tenure,  Greater Miami Opera develops extensive educational and outreach programs throughout the South Florida community.

Greater Miami Opera establishes its Young Artist Program. Graduates of the program who have returned in leading roles in FGO productions include Troy Cook, Rachele Gilmore, Leah Partridge, Elizabeth Caballero, Jonathan Michie, Andrew Bidlack, Tom Corbeil, and Hailey Clark.

1986

Diana Soviero makes her company debut singing the role of Nedda in Pagliacci.

1991

The Broward Center for the Performing Arts opens in Fort Lauderdale and becomes the company’s new mainstage home in Broward County.

1992

Greater Miami Opera holds the United States premiere of Cristoforo Colombo by Alberto Franchetti.

1993

OPERA America returns to Miami Beach for its annual conference.

1994

Greater Miami Opera and the Opera Guild of Fort Lauderdale merge, forming Florida Grand Opera.

1996

Deborah Voigt makes her Florida Grand Opera debut in the title role of Ariadne auf Naxos.

2006

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County opens, thanks in part to Robert Heuer’s efforts to build a much-needed state of the art performance venue in the county.

2007

OPERA America returns to Miami for its annual conference and brings opera leaders from around the world to South Florida to see Florida Grand Opera world premiere David Carlson’s Anna Karenina.

2012

Susan T. Danis takes the helm as Florida Grand Opera’s fourth General Director. She is the first woman to hold the position.

2013

Danis launches the Unexpected Opera in Unexpected Places series with a double-bill of Xavier Rodriguez’s Tango and Ástor Piazzolla’s María de Buenos Aires.

The company is only the fourth in the United States to perform Marvin David Levy’s Mourning Becomes Electra as a part of Danis’ first year of programming for the company.

2014

Danis establishes the Made for Miami series with the mainstage presentation of Nabucco. The series’ mission is to present one mainstage opera each season that resonates with the diverse communities and populations of South Florida. The Made for Miami initiative includes outreach and Community Conversation events.

2016

Miami and Florida Grand Opera are the fifth city in the United States and seventh opera company in the world to present Mieczysław Weinberg’s The Passenger.

Florida Grand Opera celebrates its 75th anniversary and receives the largest gift in the company’s history, its Doral headquarters housing the company’s administrative offices and rehearsal space, worth $7 million.

2017

Florida Grand Opera premieres Jorge Martín’s Before Night Falls based on the life of exiled Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas.

2018

Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo makes his house debut as Orfeo in the company premiere of Christoph Willibald von Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice.

GRAMMY® Award Winner Ana María Martínez makes her role debut as the title character in the company premiere of Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas, with a libretto inspired by the great Gabriel García Márquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude).

Florida Grand Opera is nominated as a finalist in the 2018 International Opera Awards for its outstanding achievements in the field of Education and Outreach.

2019

Florida Grand Opera takes Rodríguez’s Frida on a regional tour, making house debuts at the Miramar Cultural Center and Parker Playhouse, and returning to the Miami-Dade County Auditorium for the first time in over 12 years.

2019-20

Four female directors are scheduled to make their FGO debuts, each telling the stories of the season’s operas from a woman’s perspective. Fall events are sold out. The COVID-19 pandemic strikes mid-season, forcing the cancellation of the final two productions.

2020-2021

As COVID-19 rages on, FGO pivots to launch a winter season of four 20th- and 21st-century American composers in alternative venues, and an array of concerts and events designed to engage South Florida’s diverse communities.

2021–2022

FGO’s historic 80th season includes a 20th century work (Andre Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire), a 21st century work, (Gregory Spears’ Fellow Travelers), a classic Verdi grand opera (Rigoletto), and an innovative production of Handel’s Agrippina. The season includes four different theaters for the mainstage operas and over 80 events.

2022–2023

FGO is the first company to commission a Spanish translation of Domenico Cimarosa’s Il matrimonio segreto and to present the piece as a celebration of Cuban Americans in 1980s Miami.

2023–2024

After 11 years of leadership, Susan T. Danis steps down as General Director and CEO. The Board of Directors appoints Maria Todaro as Interim General Director just in time for the season opener, La traviata, a critical and popular success.