Florida Grand Opera
Florida Grand Opera (FGO) is an American opera company based in Miami, Florida. It is the oldest performing arts organization in Florida and the seventh oldest opera company in the country. FGO stages productions at the Ziff Ballet Opera House, located in the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, and also at the Au-Rene Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale.
Company history 
The company was founded as The Opera Guild of Greater Miami (later known as Greater Miami Opera Association) in 1941 by Arturo di Filippi, an accomplished tenor and voice teacher at the University of Miami. FGO was created in 1994 from the consolidation of two opera companies in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale region: Opera Guild of Greater Miami, originally founded in 1941 by Arturo di Filippi; and the Opera Guild, Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, originally formed in 1945.
From 1941 through 1972, di Filippi led the company as General Director, regularly brought leading artists from the Metropolitan Opera to South Florida, presenting them in the roles for which they had won worldwide acclaim. A 1965 production of Lucia di Lammermoor with Joan Sutherland featured a young Italian tenor, Luciano Pavarotti, in his American debut.
Upon Dr. di Filippi's retirement, he was succeeded by Robert Herman in 1973. Herman had served as Assistant General Manager at the Metropolitan Opera under Sir Rudolph Bing, and was persuaded to forgo retirement to lead the Miami company. During his administration the world's leading opera singers continued to appear with the company, and production values were dramatically elevated as the subscriber and donor based increased. Greater Miami Opera entered the ranks of the country's leading opera companies and was established as one of the premier cultural institutions in the southeastern United States.
Robert M. Heuer was appointed General Manager when Herman retired in 1985. During his tenure, extensive educational and outreach programs were developed throughout the community and the company's Young Artist Studio was established. In addition, Heuer led efforts to build a much-needed state of the art performance venue in Miami, which resulted in the opening of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in 2006. Prior to that, the company's home theater was the Dade County Auditorium in Miami. Heuer's 25th aAnniversary was celebrated with a gala concert in 2010, and he retired in 2012.
Susan T. Danis was appointed Florida Grand Opera's fourth General Director in 2012. During her tenure at Sarasota Opera, where she had served as Executive Director since 1999, the company's budget had grown exponentially, and she successfully headed a $47 million capital campaign which included the renovation of the company's historic theater. In the Fall of 2013, her first planned season will open with Marvin David Levy's Mourning Becomes Electra, and will also include the company's first production of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde.
Music directors 
Under the name of "Greater Miami Opera", Emerson Buckley was the company's music director from 1950 to 1973, and then served as artistic director and principal conductor through 1986. Willie Anthony Waters, who had become chorus master of the company in 1982, then served as music director from 1986 through 1992 and principal conductor from 1992 to 1995.
Robert Herman took over as general manager of the Greater Miami Opera in 1973, and served to 1985. Formerly an assistant to Sir Rudolf Bing at the Metropolitan Opera from 1953 to 1973, Herman took the company from a small regional troupe to one of the 10 biggest opera companies in the United States. By aggressively seeking corporate support instead of relying on individual contributions, he was able to expand the budget from the $650,000 it had when he joined the company to nearly $4 million when he retired.
Herman was also able to lure star singers to Miami, among them Luciano Pavarotti, Sherrill Milnes, Beverly Sills, Judith Blegen and James McCracken, but he also kept the house open to young American singers. His policy was to have two casts, one with international stars, the other with promising newcomers. Another innovation was to offer alternating versions of operas, in English and the original language. He also expanded the repertory considerably by arranging to exchange productions with other companies.
Stewart Robertson was FGO music director from 1997 to 2010. Ramon Tebar became FGO's newest music director in on June 1, 2011, becoming the first Spanish conductor to lead both an American opera company and an American symphony.
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- Jan Sjostrom (2001-03-02). "Palm Beach Symphony's music director accepts post at Florida Grand Opera". Palm Beach Daily News. Retrieved 2011-11-06.
- Florida Grand Opera
- Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
- Lawrence A. Johnson, "Curtain to ring down for FGO's Stewart Robertson". South Florida Classical Review, 5 February 2009
- Interview with Emerson Buckley by Bruce Duffie, April 16, 1986