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  • 300-year-old Agrippina Makes Her Florida Grand Opera Debut
    05/26/2022

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

     

    Agrippina 

    An Opera by George Frideric Handel 

    Libretto by Cardinal Vicenzo Grimani 

    Starring Christine Lyons, Flora Hawk, and Kenneth Tarver  

     

    Sat. May 14 at 7:00 p.m., Sun. May 15 at 2:00 p.m. 

    Tues. May 17 at 8:00 p.m., and Thurs. May 19 at 8:00 p.m. 

    At the Scottish Rite Temple, Miami 

     

    300-year-old Agrippina Makes Her Florida Grand Opera Debut 

    A Vibrant Villainess from the History Books Steps onto a 1930s Hollywood Sound Stage in a Regency-era Gown 

    Miami, FL, April 21, 2022 --- Agrippina, Roman empress turned Hollywood starlet turned scheming Regency-era mother makes her Florida Grand Opera debut this spring in FGO’s final mainstage offering of the 80th Anniversary Season.  

    Set in 1930s Hollywood, the audience experiences the hustle and bustle of a sound stage as the cast films a Regency-era version of the classic tale, Agrippina. Stage director Jeffrey Buchman found inspiration for his concept in the beautiful 1924-era Miami Scottish Rite Temple where Agrippina will be performed and the elegant cast, led by soprano Christine Lyons in the title role, Flora Hawk as Poppea, Kenneth Tarver as Nero, Neil Neilson as Claudius, and Brennan Hall as Ottone.  

    “It’s crafted in a way that’s meant to be a really enjoyable pass-through of the setting Handel gives us,” said Buchman. “The audience should come prepared to embrace lightness, humor, and fun.”  

    George Frideric Handel’s Agrippina is one of his earliest works, and it is based on the true story of the Roman empress who successfully schemed to place Nero, her son by another marriage, on the Roman throne, and later was murdered by him.  Despite the grim subject matter, the treatment is light-hearted as Agrippina reels from plot to foiled plot in her efforts to gain power. 

    In the opera, Agrippina receives news that her husband Claudius has perished in a storm at sea and immediately moves to have her reluctant son Nero (Nerone) declared emperor. Unfortunately for the schemers, Claudius is alive and well, and furthermore, has proclaimed his officer Ottone as heir. For Agrippina, this is merely a temporary setback. Through seductive promises, lies, tricks, and manipulation, she continues her efforts to see Nerone married to the beautiful Poppea and ensconced on the throne. Although her plots are foiled at every turn, somehow Agrippina emerges victorious, reconciled with Claudius, with Nerone at last winning the crown. 

    Handel composed Agrippina for the 1709-10 Venice Carnival season. Its satirical libretto is by the Cardinal Vincenzo Grimani, and some analysts claim that it reflects Grimani’s rivalry with Pope Clement XI. It is widely considered one of the best libretti Handel ever set. Agrippina premiered on December 16, 1709, to great success, and ran for an unprecedented 27 performances.  

    The opera score is also acclaimed as one of Handel’s very best. It follows the stylistic conventions of the time, alternating recitative and arias, with the plot advanced mainly during the speechlike recits and character exploration confined to the arias. However, Handel used this form to advantage, breaking or modifying it judiciously to heighten the drama or bring special attention to certain actions. The character of the music itself ranges from the sparkling coloratura of “Bel piacere” one of the opera’s best-known arias, to the powerful “Pensieri, voi mi tormenate and irresistible “Ogni vento ch’al porto lo spinga.” The orchestral brilliance is designed to offer singers an opportunity to show off their virtuosity through original ornamentation, riffing in much the same manner as today’s pop or R&B divas. 

    Agrippina stars soprano Christine Lyons in the title role, soprano Flora Hawk as the flirtatious Poppea, and tenor Kenneth Tarver as Nerone, all in their Florida Grand Opera and role debuts. Also debuting is conductor Jeri Lynne Johnson. FGO is the proud recipient of an Opera America 2022 Opera Grant for Women Stage Directors and Conductors to help bring Ms. Johnson to the podium. Jeffrey Marc Buchman returns to stage direct; most recently, he directed FGO’s critically acclaimed A Streetcar Named Desire earlier in the season. 

    Agrippina runs May 14 – 19 at the Scottish Rite Temple in Miami. Tickets are available at www.fgo.org. 

     

    CAST 

    Agrippina – Christine Lyons 

    Poppea – Flora Hawk 

    Nerone – Kenneth Tarver 

    Claudius – Neil Neilson 

    Ottone: Brennan Hall 

    Conductor: Jeri Lynne Johnson 

    Director: Jeffrey Marc Buchman 

     

    THE CREATIVE TEAM 

    Conductor Jeri Lynne Johnson  

    Director Jeffrey Buchman 

    Lighting Designer Stevie Agrew 

    Costume Designer Howard Tsvi Kaplan  

    Wig and Make- up Designer Sue Sitko 

    Associate Conductor Marlon Daniel 

     

     

    ABOUT FLORIDA GRAND OPERA 

    Florida Grand Opera (FGO), the oldest performing arts organization in Florida, celebrates its 80th Season in 2021-22. The mainstage operas of the season include André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire (Jan. 22-Feb. 5, 2022), Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto (March 12 – April 2), Gregory Spears' Fellow Travelers (Apr. 23-28), and George Frideric Handel's Agrippina (May 14-19). 

    FGO's Box Office is located at the Doral Opera Center on 8390 NW 25th Street, Miami, FL 33122. It is open from 10 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday during the season. Tickets may be purchased online at www.FGO.org or by phone at (800) 741- 1010. 

    FGO was founded in 1941 as Greater Miami Opera and merged with The Opera Guild Inc. in 1994. As Florida's premier opera company, it presents standard repertoire, contemporary works, new commissions, and original productions — all featuring projected translations in English and Spanish. 

    # # # # # #  

     

     

                                                                                                       

     

     

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

     

    Agrippina 

    An Opera by George Frideric Handel 

    Libretto by Cardinal Vicenzo Grimani 

    Starring Christine Lyons, Flora Hawk, and Kenneth Tarver  

     

    Sat. May 14 at 7:00 p.m., Sun. May 15 at 2:00 p.m. 

    Tues. May 17 at 8:00 p.m., and Thurs. May 19 at 8:00 p.m. 

    At the Scottish Rite Temple, Miami 

     

    300-year-old Agrippina Makes Her Florida Grand Opera Debut 

    A Vibrant Villainess from the History Books Steps onto a 1930s Hollywood Sound Stage in a Regency-era Gown 

    Miami, FL, April 21, 2022 --- Agrippina, Roman empress turned Hollywood starlet turned scheming Regency-era mother makes her Florida Grand Opera debut this spring in FGO’s final mainstage offering of the 80th Anniversary Season.  

    Set in 1930s Hollywood, the audience experiences the hustle and bustle of a sound stage as the cast films a Regency-era version of the classic tale, Agrippina. Stage director Jeffrey Buchman found inspiration for his concept in the beautiful 1924-era Miami Scottish Rite Temple where Agrippina will be performed and the elegant cast, led by soprano Christine Lyons in the title role, Flora Hawk as Poppea, Kenneth Tarver as Nero, Neil Neilson as Claudius, and Brennan Hall as Ottone.  

    “It’s crafted in a way that’s meant to be a really enjoyable pass-through of the setting Handel gives us,” said Buchman. “The audience should come prepared to embrace lightness, humor, and fun.”  

    George Frideric Handel’s Agrippina is one of his earliest works, and it is based on the true story of the Roman empress who successfully schemed to place Nero, her son by another marriage, on the Roman throne, and later was murdered by him.  Despite the grim subject matter, the treatment is light-hearted as Agrippina reels from plot to foiled plot in her efforts to gain power. 

    In the opera, Agrippina receives news that her husband Claudius has perished in a storm at sea and immediately moves to have her reluctant son Nero (Nerone) declared emperor. Unfortunately for the schemers, Claudius is alive and well, and furthermore, has proclaimed his officer Ottone as heir. For Agrippina, this is merely a temporary setback. Through seductive promises, lies, tricks, and manipulation, she continues her efforts to see Nerone married to the beautiful Poppea and ensconced on the throne. Although her plots are foiled at every turn, somehow Agrippina emerges victorious, reconciled with Claudius, with Nerone at last winning the crown. 

    Handel composed Agrippina for the 1709-10 Venice Carnival season. Its satirical libretto is by the Cardinal Vincenzo Grimani, and some analysts claim that it reflects Grimani’s rivalry with Pope Clement XI. It is widely considered one of the best libretti Handel ever set. Agrippina premiered on December 16, 1709, to great success, and ran for an unprecedented 27 performances.  

    The opera score is also acclaimed as one of Handel’s very best. It follows the stylistic conventions of the time, alternating recitative and arias, with the plot advanced mainly during the speechlike recits and character exploration confined to the arias. However, Handel used this form to advantage, breaking or modifying it judiciously to heighten the drama or bring special attention to certain actions. The character of the music itself ranges from the sparkling coloratura of “Bel piacere” one of the opera’s best-known arias, to the powerful “Pensieri, voi mi tormenate and irresistible “Ogni vento ch’al porto lo spinga.” The orchestral brilliance is designed to offer singers an opportunity to show off their virtuosity through original ornamentation, riffing in much the same manner as today’s pop or R&B divas. 

    Agrippina stars soprano Christine Lyons in the title role, soprano Flora Hawk as the flirtatious Poppea, and tenor Kenneth Tarver as Nerone, all in their Florida Grand Opera and role debuts. Also debuting is conductor Jeri Lynne Johnson. FGO is the proud recipient of an Opera America 2022 Opera Grant for Women Stage Directors and Conductors to help bring Ms. Johnson to the podium. Jeffrey Marc Buchman returns to stage direct; most recently, he directed FGO’s critically acclaimed A Streetcar Named Desire earlier in the season. 

    Agrippina runs May 14 – 19 at the Scottish Rite Temple in Miami. Tickets are available at www.fgo.org. 

     

    CAST 

    Agrippina – Christine Lyons 

    Poppea – Flora Hawk 

    Nerone – Kenneth Tarver 

    Claudius – Neil Neilson 

    Ottone: Brennan Hall 

    Conductor: Jeri Lynne Johnson 

    Director: Jeffrey Marc Buchman 

     

    THE CREATIVE TEAM 

    Conductor Jeri Lynne Johnson  

    Director Jeffrey Buchman 

    Lighting Designer Stevie Agrew 

    Costume Designer Howard Tsvi Kaplan  

    Wig and Make- up Designer Sue Sitko 

    Associate Conductor Marlon Daniel 

     

     

    ABOUT FLORIDA GRAND OPERA 

    Florida Grand Opera (FGO), the oldest performing arts organization in Florida, celebrates its 80th Season in 2021-22. The mainstage operas of the season include André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire (Jan. 22-Feb. 5, 2022), Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto (March 12 – April 2), Gregory Spears' Fellow Travelers (Apr. 23-28), and George Frideric Handel's Agrippina (May 14-19). 

    FGO's Box Office is located at the Doral Opera Center on 8390 NW 25th Street, Miami, FL 33122. It is open from 10 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday during the season. Tickets may be purchased online at www.FGO.org or by phone at (800) 741- 1010. 

    FGO was founded in 1941 as Greater Miami Opera and merged with The Opera Guild Inc. in 1994. As Florida's premier opera company, it presents standard repertoire, contemporary works, new commissions, and original productions — all featuring projected translations in English and Spanish. 

    # # # # # #  

     

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

     

    Agrippina 

    An Opera by George Frideric Handel 

    Libretto by Cardinal Vicenzo Grimani 

    Starring Christine Lyons, Flora Hawk, and Kenneth Tarver  

     

    Sat. May 14 at 7:00 p.m., Sun. May 15 at 2:00 p.m. 

    Tues. May 17 at 8:00 p.m., and Thurs. May 19 at 8:00 p.m. 

    At the Scottish Rite Temple, Miami 

     

    300-year-old Agrippina Makes Her Florida Grand Opera Debut 

    A Vibrant Villainess from the History Books Steps onto a 1930s Hollywood Sound Stage in a Regency-era Gown 

    Miami, FL, April 21, 2022 --- Agrippina, Roman empress turned Hollywood starlet turned scheming Regency-era mother makes her Florida Grand Opera debut this spring in FGO’s final mainstage offering of the 80th Anniversary Season.  

    Set in 1930s Hollywood, the audience experiences the hustle and bustle of a sound stage as the cast films a Regency-era version of the classic tale, Agrippina. Stage director Jeffrey Buchman found inspiration for his concept in the beautiful 1924-era Miami Scottish Rite Temple where Agrippina will be performed and the elegant cast, led by soprano Christine Lyons in the title role, Flora Hawk as Poppea, Kenneth Tarver as Nero, Neil Neilson as Claudius, and Brennan Hall as Ottone.  

    “It’s crafted in a way that’s meant to be a really enjoyable pass-through of the setting Handel gives us,” said Buchman. “The audience should come prepared to embrace lightness, humor, and fun.”  

    George Frideric Handel’s Agrippina is one of his earliest works, and it is based on the true story of the Roman empress who successfully schemed to place Nero, her son by another marriage, on the Roman throne, and later was murdered by him.  Despite the grim subject matter, the treatment is light-hearted as Agrippina reels from plot to foiled plot in her efforts to gain power. 

    In the opera, Agrippina receives news that her husband Claudius has perished in a storm at sea and immediately moves to have her reluctant son Nero (Nerone) declared emperor. Unfortunately for the schemers, Claudius is alive and well, and furthermore, has proclaimed his officer Ottone as heir. For Agrippina, this is merely a temporary setback. Through seductive promises, lies, tricks, and manipulation, she continues her efforts to see Nerone married to the beautiful Poppea and ensconced on the throne. Although her plots are foiled at every turn, somehow Agrippina emerges victorious, reconciled with Claudius, with Nerone at last winning the crown. 

    Handel composed Agrippina for the 1709-10 Venice Carnival season. Its satirical libretto is by the Cardinal Vincenzo Grimani, and some analysts claim that it reflects Grimani’s rivalry with Pope Clement XI. It is widely considered one of the best libretti Handel ever set. Agrippina premiered on December 16, 1709, to great success, and ran for an unprecedented 27 performances.  

    The opera score is also acclaimed as one of Handel’s very best. It follows the stylistic conventions of the time, alternating recitative and arias, with the plot advanced mainly during the speechlike recits and character exploration confined to the arias. However, Handel used this form to advantage, breaking or modifying it judiciously to heighten the drama or bring special attention to certain actions. The character of the music itself ranges from the sparkling coloratura of “Bel piacere” one of the opera’s best-known arias, to the powerful “Pensieri, voi mi tormenate and irresistible “Ogni vento ch’al porto lo spinga.” The orchestral brilliance is designed to offer singers an opportunity to show off their virtuosity through original ornamentation, riffing in much the same manner as today’s pop or R&B divas. 

    Agrippina stars soprano Christine Lyons in the title role, soprano Flora Hawk as the flirtatious Poppea, and tenor Kenneth Tarver as Nerone, all in their Florida Grand Opera and role debuts. Also debuting is conductor Jeri Lynne Johnson. FGO is the proud recipient of an Opera America 2022 Opera Grant for Women Stage Directors and Conductors to help bring Ms. Johnson to the podium. Jeffrey Marc Buchman returns to stage direct; most recently, he directed FGO’s critically acclaimed A Streetcar Named Desire earlier in the season. 

    Agrippina runs May 14 – 19 at the Scottish Rite Temple in Miami. Tickets are available at www.fgo.org. 

     

    CAST 

    Agrippina – Christine Lyons 

    Poppea – Flora Hawk 

    Nerone – Kenneth Tarver 

    Claudius – Neil Neilson 

    Ottone: Brennan Hall 

    Conductor: Jeri Lynne Johnson 

    Director: Jeffrey Marc Buchman 

     

    THE CREATIVE TEAM 

    Conductor Jeri Lynne Johnson  

    Director Jeffrey Buchman 

    Lighting Designer Stevie Agrew 

    Costume Designer Howard Tsvi Kaplan  

    Wig and Make- up Designer Sue Sitko 

    Associate Conductor Marlon Daniel 

     

     

    ABOUT FLORIDA GRAND OPERA 

    Florida Grand Opera (FGO), the oldest performing arts organization in Florida, celebrates its 80th Season in 2021-22. The mainstage operas of the season include André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire (Jan. 22-Feb. 5, 2022), Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto (March 12 – April 2), Gregory Spears' Fellow Travelers (Apr. 23-28), and George Frideric Handel's Agrippina (May 14-19). 

    FGO's Box Office is located at the Doral Opera Center on 8390 NW 25th Street, Miami, FL 33122. It is open from 10 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday during the season. Tickets may be purchased online at www.FGO.org or by phone at (800) 741- 1010. 

    FGO was founded in 1941 as Greater Miami Opera and merged with The Opera Guild Inc. in 1994. As Florida's premier opera company, it presents standard repertoire, contemporary works, new commissions, and original productions — all featuring projected translations in English and Spanish. 

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  • THE OPERA SOCIETY HONORS DIVA DIANA SOVIERO
    05/26/2022

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

     

    Diva Celebration Luncheon 

    Honoring International Opera Star, Diana Soviero 

    Saturday, March 19, 2022, 11:30 a.m. 

    Coral Ridge Yacht Club 

    2800 Yacht Club Boulevard 

    Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33304 

     

     

    THE OPERA SOCIETY HONORS DIVA DIANA SOVIERO  

    World-famous soprano and master teacher receives the Founder's Award 

    Fort Lauderdale, FL, DATE ---  The Opera Society, an affiliate organization of Florida Grand Opera, will honor international opera star and award-winning master teacher Diana Soviero with the Dr. Arturo di Filippi Founder's Award at the Coral Ridge Yacht Club in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, March 19. Ms. Soviero served as Director of FGO's distinguished Young Artists' Program in the 1990s and from 2017-18. She also appeared with FGO many times, undertaking leading roles in thers. 

     

    "We are honored to have Diana as an important part of the FGO family," said FGO CEO and General Director Susan T. Danis. "Her impact on our company and the next generation of opera singers is immense. This award is indeed a fitting tribute to her amazing artistry. "  

    The program includes lunch, live harp music, and performances by FGO Studio Artist, soprano Page Michels, and Miami soprano Chelsea Bonagura, a student of Ms. Soviero. Three sculptures created and donated by Dr. Stanley Goodman will be raffled, with all proceeds benefitting Florida Grand Opera. As a highlight of the afternoon, Ms. Soviero will speak about her extraordinary life in opera. 

    One of the most recognized American opera singers of the twentieth century, Ms. Soviero appeared in leading roles at the world's most famous opera houses, including The Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, Vienna Staatsoper, Opéra national de Paris, Opéra de Paris Bastille, Hamburg Staatsoper, Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, Chicago Lyric Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and San Francisco Opera. Opera Magazine called her "One of the world's greatest singing actresses." Over her forty-year career span, Ms. Soviero was particularly renowned for her interpretation of Puccini heroines such as Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly, Mimì, and Musetta in La bohème, Liù in Turandot, and the title roles in Tosca, Manon Lescaut, and Suor Angelica. She is also esteemed for her work in the French repertoire, including Marquerite in Faust, Juliette in Roméo et Juliette, and the title role in Manon. Other critically acclaimed leading roles include Violetta in La traviata, Nedda in I pagliacci, and Margherita in Mefistofele. Her final stage appearance was as Mrs. De Rocher in Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking at Baltimore Opera. Her discography includes recordings on the Analekta, Telarc, and Chandos labels. 

    In the last decade, Ms. Soviero has dedicated herself to teaching singers. In addition to her large private vocal studio in New York City, she is a member of the voice faculty at the Mannes School of Music and gives masterclasses across the country. 

    Ms. Soviero has received many accolades for her work as a master teacher. These include the VERA (Voice Education Research Award) Award from The Voice Foundation,   Lifetime Achievement Awards from The Giulio Gari and Gerda Lissner Foundations, and the Anton Coppola Excellence in Arts Award. In November 2018, Eurostampa published a biography of her life,  entitled "Diana Soviero: the artistry and beyond," written by Professor Alina D. Zamfir. In January 2019, Opera Index, Inc. honored her at its Annual Distinguished Achievement Award Dinner.  

    "The Opera Society's members are looking forward with much anticipation to Ms. Soviero sharing memories of her distinguished life in opera," said Claire Crawford, President of the Opera Society and Chair of the Diva Luncheon. 

    The luncheon is open to all and takes place on Saturday, March 19, 2022, 11:30 am, at the Coral Ridge Yacht Club in Fort Lauderdale. All proceeds benefit Florida Grand Opera, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization. Tickets are available for $100 per person. Contact Maria Salgado at mariasalgado@me.com or visit https://www.theoperasociety.org/ for reservations. 

     

     

    ABOUT THE OPERA SOCIETY 

    The Opera Society, an affiliate of Florida Grand Opera, is one of the oldest cultural organizations in Fort Lauderdale. A membership organization consisting of 150 opera lovers, it was established in 1978 to support opera in Broward County. and continues to do so today with "glamour and fun." Through a variety of social events and gatherings, The Opera Society offers members captivating entertainment, as well as educational and enrichment opportunities. The mission is to stimulate interest in opera and generate financial support for the presentation of grand opera by Florida Grand Opera in Broward County. For more information, see www.theoperasociety.org.   

     

    ABOUT FLORIDA GRAND OPERA 

    Florida Grand Opera (FGO), the oldest performing arts organization in Florida, celebrates its 80th Season in 2021-22. The mainstage operas of the season include André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire (Jan. 22-Feb. 5, 2022), Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto (March 12 – April 2), Gregory Spears' Fellow Travelers (Apr. 23-28), and George Frideric Handel's Agrippina (May 14-19). 

    FGO's Box Office is located at the Doral Opera Center on 8390 NW 25th Street, Miami, FL 33122. It is open from 10 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday during the season. Tickets may be purchased online at www.FGO.org or by phone at (800) 741- 1010. 

    FGO was founded in 1941 as Greater Miami Opera and merged with The Opera Guild Inc. in 1994. As Florida's premier opera company, it presents standard repertoire, contemporary works, new commissions, and original productions — all featuring projected translations in English and Spanish. 

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  • FGO TRAVELS TO THE MCCARTHY ERA FOR ROMANCE AND POLITICAL INTRIGUE
    03/17/2022

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

     

    Fellow Travelers

    An Opera by Gregory Spears

    Libretto by Greg Pierce

    Based on the 2007 novel "Fellow Travelers" by Thomas Mallon

    Commissioned by Cincinnati Opera and G. Sterling Zinsmeyer

    Starring Andres Acosta, Hadleigh Adams, and Adelaide Boedecker

     

    Sat. April 23 at 7:30 p.m., Sun. April 24 at 2:00 p.m.

    Tues. April 26 at 7:30 p.m., and Thurs. April 28 at 7:30 p.m.

    At Lauderhill Performing Arts Center

     

    FGO TRAVELS TO THE MCCARTHY ERA FOR ROMANCE AND POLITICAL INTRIGUE

     

    Gregory Spears’ Fellow Travelers makes its Florida premiere at FGO

     

    Fort Lauderdale, FL, March 17, 2022 --- Florida Grand Opera is traveling back in time to the not-so-distant past for its upcoming production of Gregory Spears’ Fellow Travelers. Based on the best-selling novel by Thomas Mallon, it is set during the Lavender Scare, a lesser-known but longer-lasting byproduct of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s Red Scare.

     

     In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10450, prohibiting homosexuals from holding government positions. Encouraged by McCarthy, who said, “The pervert is easy prey to the blackmailer,” the policy subjected hundreds of suspected gay and lesbian government employees to investigation, interrogation, persecution, resignations, and firings.  Between 5,000 and 10,000 gays and lesbians quietly resigned or were fired. Many others managed to stay closeted, but curtailed their professional ambitions in order to stay under the radar. Some killed themselves. The policy remained in place until 1995, when President Bill Clinton rescinded it by executive order.

     

    Fellow Travelers explores the romance and heartbreak between two men during this fraught era. Cuban-American tenor Andres Acosta, a Miami native, is young college graduate Timothy Laughlin, who takes his first job working in a senator’s office after a chance meeting with State Department official Hawkins Fuller. “Hawk” is played by New Zealand baritone Hadleigh Adams, returning to the FGO stage after his triumphant turn as Stanley Kowalski in January’s A Streetcar Named Desire. Metropolitan Opera soprano Adelaide Boedecker makes her FGO debut as Hawk’s assistant and best friend, Mary Johnson. Part love story and part political thriller, the plot follows Tim and Hawk’s budding romance and their efforts to avoid detection and persecution during the Lavender Scare. 

    The opera was co-commissioned by Cincinnati Opera and film/theatrical producer G. Sterling Zinsmeyer. It premiered at Cincinnati Opera in 2016 and since has been staged at Chicago Lyric Opera, Minnesota Opera, and Boston Lyric Opera. FGO’s production will be the Florida premiere of the piece.

    “We are proud to stage this important and moving piece of contemporary opera,” says FGO CEO and General Director Susan T. Danis. “Via the medium of the musical human voice and the stories of these men, we revisit a critical time in American history with new eyes and understanding.”

     

    Bas

    s-baritone Neil Neilson stars as Senator Charles Potter. The FGO Studio Artists fill out the cast, with soprano Amanda Olea as Miss Lightfoot, soprano Page Michels as Lucy, baritone Michael Pandolfo as Senator Joseph McCarthy, and tenor Charles Calotta as Tommy McIntyre.

     

    CAST

    Hawkins Fuller – Hadleigh Adams

    Timothy Laughlin – Andres Acosta

    Mary Johnson – Adelaide Boedecker

    Miss Lightfoot – Amanda Olea

    Senator Joseph McCarthy – Michael Pandolfo

    Lucy – Page Michels

    Tommy McIntyre – Charles Calotta

    Senator Charles Potter – TBA

    Conductor: Emily Senturia

    Director: Peter Rothstein

     

    THE CREATIVE TEAM

    Set Design: Sara Brown

    Lighting Design: Mary Shabatura

    Costumes: Trevor Brown

    Wigs and Makeup: Sue Sittko

     

    Production: Minnesota Opera

     

    ABOUT FLORIDA GRAND OPERA

    Florida Grand Opera (FGO), the oldest performing arts organization in Florida, celebrates its 80th Season in 2021-22. The mainstage operas of the season include André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire (Jan. 22-Feb. 5, 2022), Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto (March 12 – April 2), Gregory Spears' Fellow Travelers (Apr. 23-28), and George Frideric Handel's Agrippina (May 14-19).

    FGO's Box Office is located at the Doral Opera Center on 8390 NW 25th Street, Miami, FL 33122. It is open from 10 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday during the season. Tickets may be purchased online at www.FGO.org or by phone at (800) 741- 1010.

    FGO was founded in 1941 as Greater Miami Opera and merged with The Opera Guild Inc. in 1994. As Florida's premier opera company, it presents standard repertoire, contemporary works, new commissions, and original productions — all featuring projected translations in English and Spanish.

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  • Tragedy Has Never Sounded So Grand
    02/11/2022

    Rigoletto 

     

    Music by Giuseppe Verdi 

    Libretto by Franciso Maria Piave 

    Based on the play “Le roi s’amuse” by Victor Hugo 

    Starring Todd Thomas, Sharleen Joynt, and Jose Simerilla Romero 

      

    At the Adrienne Arsht Center: 

    Saturday, Mar 12, 2022, 6:00PM 

    Sunday, Mar 13, 2022, 2:00PM 

    Tuesday, Mar 15, 2022, 8:00PM 

    Thursday, Mar 17, 2022, 8:00PM  

     

    At the Broward Center for the Performing Arts: 

    Thursday, Mar 31, 2022, 7:30PM 

    Saturday, Apr 2, 2022, 7:30PM  

     

    These performances are held in strict accordance with CDC guidelines . Face masks are required to be worn over the mouth and nose at all times.   

     

    Verdi’s Rigoletto Returns to the FGO Stage with Veteran Todd Thomas in the Title Role 

     

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

    Miami and Fort Lauderdale, FL, February 16, 2022 ---  Love, innocence betrayed, curses, revenge, and memorable melodies --- Florida Grand Opera serves up the heady mix with Giuseppe Verdi's masterpiece Rigoletto. Acclaimed American baritone Todd Thomas returns in the title role, a signature part he has performed more than thirty times. Canadian soprano Sharleen Joynt makes her house debut as Rigoletto's daughter Gilda. The Argentinian-Spanish-American tenor Jose Simerilla Romero also makes his house debut as the womanizing Duke of Mantua.  

     

    The second offering of the 80th Anniversary Season, Rigoletto is based on the Victor Hugo play Le roi s'amuse (The King Amuses Himself), set in 16th century Italy. It tells the story of a deformed court jester whose mean-spirited jokes win him no friends in the court of the lascivious Duke. After mocking a condemned nobleman whose daughter the Duke has despoiled, he is cursed. When the Duke seduces Rigoletto's own daughter, it's no joke --- the jester hires a hitman. Yet the curse plays out, and the innocent Gilda pays the price.  

    Verdi's score is filled with memorable tunes, including "La donna è mobile," the Duke's merrily hypocritical ode to the faithlessness of women, "Caro nome," Gilda's crystalline musings on love, and Rigoletto's rage aria, "Cortigiani." Lush music, high drama, and sumptuous sets and costumes combine in this grandest of grand opera. 

    Bass Matt Boehler makes his house debut as the assassin Sparafucile, while FGO Studio Artist Stephanie Doche doubles up as his sister, Maddalena, and Gilda's untrustworthy companion, Giovanna. The cast is rounded out by Studio Artists Charles Calotta (Borsa), Erik Danielson (Count Ceprano), Darren Drone (Monterone), Amanda Olea (Countess Ceprano), and Michael Pandolfo (Marullo).  

    Pacien Mazzagatti conducts, and Kathleen Belcher directs. The set design is by Lawrence Shafer, lighting design by Ron Vodicka, with costumes by Howard Tsvi Kaplan. 

     

    Echoing the luxury of the Duke’s court, opening night commences with the annual Opera Gala, “A Night in Mantua.” Cocktails precede the opera, followed by a catered dinner and dancing. The Gala celebrates Florida Grand Opera’s 80th season. For more information or to purchase Gala tickets, contact Victor Kendall at vkendall@fgo.org or 305-403-3306. For opera tickets, please see www.fgo.org or call 1-800-741-1010. 

     

    PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE 

    MIAMI 

    Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County / Ziff Ballet Opera House 

    March 12, 2022, at 6:00pm 

    March 13, 2022, at 2:00pm 

    March 15, 2022, at 8:00pm 

    March 17, 2022, at 8:00 pm 

    FORT LAUDERDALE 

    Broward Center for the Performing Arts / Au-Rene Theater 

    March 31, 2022, at 7:30pm 

    April 2, 2022, at 7:30 pm 

     

     

    ABOUT FLORIDA GRAND OPERA 

    Florida Grand Opera (FGO), the oldest performing arts organization in Florida, celebrates its 80th Season in 2021-22. The mainstage operas of the season include André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire (Jan. 22-Feb. 5, 2022), Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto (March 12 – April 2), Gregory Spears' Fellow Travelers (Apr. 23-28), and George Frideric Handel's Agrippina (May 14-19). 

    FGO's Box Office is located at the Doral Opera Center on 8390 NW 25th Street, Miami, FL 33122. It is open from 10 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday during the season. Tickets may be purchased online at www.FGO.org or by phone at (800) 741- 1010. 

    FGO was founded in 1941 as Greater Miami Opera and merged with The Opera Guild Inc. in 1994. As Florida's premier opera company, it presents standard repertoire, contemporary works, new commissions, and original productions — all featuring projected translations in English and Spanish. 

    # # # # # #  

     

  • Florida Grand Opera Wins Prestigious Grant for Women Stage Directors and Conductors
    02/11/2022

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

    Opera America's Grant Helps Jeri Lynne Johnson makes her FGO Conducting Debut 

     

    Miami, FL, February 1, 2022 --- Florida Grand Opera has been awarded an Opera America 2022 Opera Grant for Women Stage Directors and Conductors. A part of Opera America's initiative to encourage the hiring of women in key artistic roles, the award will support conductor Jeri Lynne Johnson's house debut at the helm of FGO's production of Handel's Agrippina in May. 

     

    A survey of recent opera seasons revealed that women make up fewer than 30 percent of the stage directors and fewer than 15 percent of the conductors working on American opera productions. Organizational members of Opera America, the national opera advocacy nonprofit, may apply for up to 50% of the cost of bringing in a female stage director or conductor, up to an award of $10,000. FGO is one of nine 2022 grantees. 

     

    “FGO is extremely excited to welcome Jeri Lynne Johnson to our podium, and immensely gratified to receive this important support from Opera America,” says FGO General Director and CEO, Susan T. Danis. “We are committed to enriching our audience’s experience and FGO’s infrastructure through continuing to celebrate and center the work of women, BIPOC/AAPI, LGBTQ, and other communities.” 

     

    Jeri Lynne Johnson is a barrier-breaking conductor, founder, and director of Philadelphia's Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra. She is the first Black woman to win an international conducting prize, the 2005 Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship., and has frequently claimed a historic spot as the first Black woman to take the podium at many orchestras. She has conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (U.K.), and Weimar Staatskapelle (Germany).  

     

    “I’m deeply honored to be the recipient of this grant to support the expansion of diversity and inclusion in creative leadership positions in the opera world,” says Johnson. “As a creative artist, embracing new experiences is critical to longevity in one’s career, and to be able to engage with Baroque opera when most of my opera experience is with contemporary works is super exciting to me." 

     

    Johnson arrives in Miami in May to conduct George Frideric Handel's Agrippina, a 300-year-old opera based on the true story of a powerful and ambitious Roman queen who stopped at nothing to put her son on the throne.  

     

    "It's especially inspiring to have a woman shape and lead the musical story of a fierce female protagonist," says Danis. "We look forward to many more of these collaborations,” 

     

     

    PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE 

    Rigoletto (Miami - March 10; Broward – March 31) 

    Fellow Travelers (Broward only – April 21 – mature content) 

    Agrippina (Miami only – May 12) 

    Tickets pina are available at www.fgo.org.  

     

    ABOUT FGO 

    Florida Grand Opera (FGO), the oldest performing arts organization in Florida, celebrates its 80th Season in 2021-22. The mainstage operas of the season include André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire (Jan. 22-Feb. 5, 2022), Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto (March 12 – April 2), Gregory Spears' Fellow Travelers (Apr. 23-28), and George Frideric Handel's Agrippina (May 14-19). 

    FGO's Box Office is located at the Doral Opera Center on 8390 NW 25th Street, Miami, FL 33122. It is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday during the season. Tickets may be purchased online at www.FGO.org or by phone at (800) 741- 1010. 

    FGO was founded in 1941 as Greater Miami Opera and merged with The Opera Guild Inc. in 1994. As Florida's premier opera company, it presents standard repertoire, contemporary works, new commissions, and original productions — all featuring projected translations in English and Spanish. 

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  • One Divo Departs as Another Arrives Ahead of Schedule
    02/11/2022

    Florida Grand Opera Welcomes Hadleigh Adams to the Cast of A Streetcar Named Desire 

     

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

    Miami and Fort Lauderdale, FL, January 11, 2021 --- New Zealand baritone Hadleigh Adams is taking over the key role of Stanley Kowalski in Florida Grand Opera’s upcoming performance of A Streetcar Named Desire. Adams replaces baritone Steven LaBrie, who was invited to tour with opera quartet Il Divo following the death of member Carlos Marin due to complications from COVID-19.  

    “These decisions are not easy to make, and ultimately, everyone has to do what is right for them,” says FGO General Director and CEO Susan T. Danis. “We wish Steven the very best. The silver lining is that we get to see Hadleigh months earlier than we anticipated.”  

     

    Adams is scheduled to appear as Hawkins Fuller in April’s production of Fellow Travelers. He is making his debut in the role of Stanley with a little more than a week’s notice, a practice in opera known as an Einspringer or “jump-in.”  

     

     

     

    “Hadleigh is an excellent musician, a quick study, and an impeccable artist,” Danis said. “We know he will be a formidable Stanley and can’t wait to see what he does with the role.” 

     

    Hadleigh’s critically acclaimed work includes included Lou Harrison’s Young Caesar (Nicomedes), Annie Gosfield’s War of the Worlds (General Lansing), and Bernstein’s Mass (baritone soloist) with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gregory Spears’ Fellow Travelers (Hawkins Fuller) at Minnesota Opera, and the London Philharmonia Orchestra in Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex (Creon/Tiresias). 

     

    For more information, please see www.fgo.org. 

     

    PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE 

    MIAMI 

    Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County / Ziff Ballet Opera House 

    Jan 22, 2022, at 7:00pm 

    Jan 23, 2022, at 2:00pm 

    Jan 25, 2022, at 8:00pm 

    FORT LAUDERDALE 

    Broward Center for the Performing Arts / Au-Rene Theater 

    Feb 3 & 5, 2022, at 7:30pm 

     

     

    ABOUT FLORIDA GRAND OPERA 

    Florida Grand Opera (FGO), the oldest performing arts organization in Florida, celebrates its 80th Season in 2021-22. The mainstage operas of the season include André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire (Jan. 22-Feb. 5, 2022), Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto (March 12 – April 2), Gregory Spears’ Fellow Travelers (Apr. 23-28), and George Frideric Handel's Agrippina (May 14-19). 

    FGO's Box Office is located at the Doral Opera Center on 8390 NW 25th Street, Miami, FL 33122. It is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday during the season. Tickets may be purchased online at www.FGO.org or by phone at (800) 741- 1010. 

    FGO was founded in 1941 as Greater Miami Opera and merged with The Opera Guild Inc. in 1994. As Florida's premier opera company, it presents standard repertoire, contemporary works, new commissions, and original productions — all featuring projected translations in English and Spanish. 

    # # # 

  • The iconic American play is now an iconic opera
    12/29/2021

    FLORIDA GRAND OPERA BOARDS A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE FOR OPENING NIGHT OF THE 80TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON

     

    Miami and Fort Lauderdale, FL, December 30, 2021 --- Florida Grand Opera opens its 80th Anniversary Season with the new American classic based on the most operatic of quintessential American plays --- Tennessee Williams’ and André Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire.

     

    Making its Florida premiere on Saturday, January 22, 2022, A Streetcar Named Desire features Miami’s own international opera star, Cuban-American soprano Elizabeth Caballero, in the iconic role of Blanche DuBois. Rising soprano Rebecca Krynski Cox makes her house debut as her hapless sister Stella and audience favorite, baritone Steven LaBrie, returns as the brutal Stanley Kowalski. Former FGO Studio Artist Nicholas Huff returns in the role of Harold “Mitch” Mitchell, while current Studio Artists Amanda Olea, Katherine Holobinko, Stephanie Doche, Charles Calotta, and Eric Danielson fill the supporting roles. Gregory Buchalter conducts, with stage direction by Jeffrey Buchman. The production is from New Orleans Opera Association, with costumes by Howard Tsvi Kaplan, set by Steven C. Kemp, and lighting by Don Darnutzer.

     

    The story begins with fading Southern belle Blanche DuBois, who arrives at her sister Stella’s shabby New Orleans tenement with a trunk filled with feathered finery and deeply closeted skeletons. Desperate to avoid facing reality, Blanche quickly clashes with Stella’s working-class husband, Stanley, who unravels her secrets and, in an act of stunning brutality, destroys what is left of her slipping sanity.

     

    Stage director Jeffrey Buchman says that the story is challenging, but perhaps not in the way people think. “Throughout A Streetcar Named Desire, Williams defies us to define his characters as either good or bad, admirable or despicable, whole or broken,” he says. “They are all deeply flawed, and like onions, we peel back the layers on their world as the show progresses … And with a greater empathy for the circumstances that may have created or brought out these flaws in each of them, we are faced with the challenge of how we will judge them.”

     

    Previn’s jazz-flavored, cinematic score only heightens Williams’ taut psychological drama. “You can hear the  streetcar in the music,” says conductor Gregory Buchalter, adding that the opera follows the play almost exactly. “In the opening chords, you can hear the streetcar’s horn. The score is influenced by Previn’s work as a film composer and as a great jazz pianist and arranger. There’s a special jazz component that frequently plays independently of the orchestra for dramatic effect. Previn sometimes deliberately creates dissonance in dramatic moments. There are other places where it’s so tonal, almost Puccini-esque. He creates the music very well in terms of the characters.”

     

    The transformation of the iconic play to an equally iconic opera is an interesting one. Over the years, many critics have noted the operatic quality of A Streetcar Named Desire’s drama. It has been adapted into several ballets and a musical. However, Williams was resistant to operatic treatments of his works. He was approached many times over the years but only opened his catalogue twice during his lifetime: once, for his one-act Lord Byron’s Love Letter, and once to the composer Lee Hoiby, who chose to set Summer and Smoke. After several years of negotiation, Williams’ estate granted rights for A Streetcar Named Desire to San Francisco Opera, where the work premiered to great acclaim in 1998. André Previn, a renowned classical musician, conductor, and composer equally acclaimed as a film composer, jazz pianist and arranger, undertook what might be considered less an adaptation than a grand expansion of the original play. From the ever-present rinky-dink blues piano to the increasingly sinister “Varsouviana” folk dance that repeats in Blanche’s head, the music is critical to the play, almost a character in itself. It’s as if Williams imagined a cinematic underscoring, and years later, Prévin delivered.

     

    A Streetcar Named Desire also has an unusual connection to Miami. In 1956, less than ten years after his play made its debut and won the Pulitzer Prize, Tennessee Williams staged a revival at the Coconut Grove Playhouse (then the Coconut Grove Theatre), under the direction of Herbert Machiz and starring Talullah Bankhead, the actor for whom Blanche DuBois was written. However, Williams and his cast --- especially the tumultuous Ms. Bankhead --- soon clashed, and he removed to Key West, one of his favorite retreats.  The play ran for one month and then returned to New York for additional dates.  No word on whether Williams accompanied the troupe; however, the experience did not sour him on  South Florida. Williams frequently changed locations in order to stimulate his writing, but he often returned to South Florida. He was known to hang out in Coconut Grove among other artists and free spirits who espoused a bohemian lifestyle, and in recent years, local art museums have hosted showings of his little-known paintings.

     

    “We are proud to begin our 80th Anniversary Season with an offering that is both an American classic and a contemporary treasure,” says Susan T. Danis, Florida Grand Opera’s General Director and CEO, who is coincidentally celebrating her own 10th anniversary at the company’s helm. “It aligns with our mission to produce diverse, culturally engaging experiences both in the theatre and the community. Anyone can, and is invited to, enjoy a work like A Streetcar Named Desire, and we hope they will.”

     

    For more information, please see www.fgo.org.

     

    PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE

    MIAMI
    Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County / Ziff Ballet Opera House

    Jan 22, 2022, at 7:00pm
    Jan 23, 2022, at 2:00pm
    Jan 25, 2022, at 8:00pm

    FORT LAUDERDALE

    Broward Center for the Performing Arts / Au-Rene Theater

    Feb 3 & 5, 2022, at 7:30pm
     

    ABOUT FLORIDA GRAND OPERA

    Florida Grand Opera (FGO), the oldest performing arts organization in Florida, celebrates its 80th Season in 2021-22. The mainstage operas of the season include André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire (Jan. 22-Feb. 5, 2022), Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto (March 12 – April 2), Gregory Spears’ Fellow Travelers (Apr. 23-28), and George Frideric Handel's Agrippina (May 14-19).

    FGO's Box Office is located at the Doral Opera Center on 8390 NW 25th Street, Miami, FL 33122. It is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday during the season. Tickets may be purchased online at www.FGO.org or by phone at (800) 741- 1010.

    FGO was founded in 1941 as Greater Miami Opera and merged with The Opera Guild Inc. in 1994. As Florida's premier opera company, it presents standard repertoire, contemporary works, new commissions, and original productions — all featuring projected translations in English and Spanish.

    # # # 

  • Florida Grand Opera Studio Artists Play Musical Santa
    07/08/2021

    FLORIDA GRAND OPERA STUDIO ARTISTS PLAY MUSICAL SANTA IN THE HOLIDAY POPS CONCERT

    Family-friendly holiday fun is a tuneful gift of the season for all

    MIAMI, FL, November 13, 2021 --- At the Florida Grand Opera’s annual Holiday Pops Concert, the Studio Artists celebrate the season with musical gifts and high-spirited, family-friendly fun. All are welcome to revel in festive favorites mixed with popular opera arias and a sing-a-long of holiday hits. Visitors will also enjoy a brief magical tour with exclusive behind-the-scenes looks at the FGO costume and scenes shops.

    FGO's Studio Artists consists of seven exclusive singers selected from hundreds of applicants nationwide in a competition that amounts to the classical version of shows like “America's Got Talent”. Tenor Charles Calotta, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Doche, sopranos Katherine Holobinko and Amanda Olea, and baritone Michael Pandolfo will entertain with selections by Leonard Bernstein, Richard Rodgers, John Kander, Irving Berlin, and many more. The program includes Christmas, Hanukkah, Broadway, opera, and non-denominational holiday favorites.

    "The last few years haven't felt the same without being able to get together and make music during the holidays," says Studio Artist tenor Charles Calotta. "I don't think I've ever been more excited for a holiday concert, knowing that the music we're preparing is something that everyone will instantly connect with. I'm singing the classic Christmas song that opens with 'Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,' and to me, as a New Yorker, it's more like 'Chestnuts warming at a hot dog stand.' Nevertheless, that song always reminds me of home during the holidays, and I can't wait to share it."

    The musical celebration takes place at the Doral Opera Center, 8390 NW 25th Street, Miami, FL 33122, on Saturday, December 4, 2021, at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $25 per person for general admission seating and may be purchased at www.fgo.org or at the door.

     

    ABOUT THE FGO STUDIO

    The FGO Studio was established in 1984 to help emerging artists transition from journeymen to full-fledged professional opera singers. Members live in Miami from October through May, committing to an intense and individualized program of study and performance, including special training in singing, movement, and languages, while learning on their feet in various performance opportunities. They sing major and supporting roles in mainstage productions, where they work with world-renowned singers, directors, and conductors. They also perform concerts, recitals, and educational outreach events in numerous venues across Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Residencies typically last up to two years. The 2021-22 Studio Artists will perform mainstage roles in A Streetcar Named Desire, Rigoletto, the Florida premiere of Fellow Travelers, and Agrippina.

  • Florida Grand Opera announces its 80th Anniversary Season
    07/08/2021

    July 8, 2021 – Florida Grand Opera (FGO) announced today their upcoming, landmark, 80th Anniversary Season. In 1942, FGO (then the Greater Miami Opera) presented its first performance of Pagliacci on Valentine’s Day at the Miami Senior High School Auditorium. The company has gone on to present the finest opera singers from around the world in productions representing the work of more than sixty composers 

  • Florida Grand Opera Announces A Double Bill to Culminate its Winter Opera Season
    03/16/2021

     March 11, 2021 – Florida Grand Opera announces its final part of chamber operas highlighting Modern American Composers this season with the Double Bill of Trouble in Tahiti by Leonard Bernstein and Signor Deluso by Thomas Pasatieri. 

 

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