Florida Grand Opera

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"FGO" redirects here. For the television network, see Frost Great Outdoors. For film grain overlay, see Film grain.

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.[1] 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

In 1941, the company was founded as The Opera Guild of Greater Miami by Arturo di Filippi, an accomplished tenor and voice teacher at the University of Miami. It later became known as Greater Miami Opera Association. [2] 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.

On October 30, 2014, current director Susan T. Danis sent out an announcement to FGO patrons and audience members indicating the uncertain future of the company due to an unworkable business plan and declining revenue.[3] A series of "townhall" meetings were held to which audience members were invited in order to learn more about the company's past, present and future.

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.[4] Willie Anthony Waters, who had become Chorus Master of the company in 1982,[5] then served as Artistic Director from 1986 through 1992[6] and Principal Guest Conductor from 1992 to 1995.[7]

Stewart Robertson was FGO music director from 1997 to 2010. On June 1, 2011, Ramon Tebar became FGO's music director. He also became the first Spanish conductor to lead both an American opera company and an American symphony.[8] In 2014, pursuing an international conducting career, he became FGO's Principal Conductor.

The company's rich 74-year production history has included numerous performances by internationally acclaimed singers. Included among them are: Renata Tebaldi, Eleanor Steber, Richard Tucker, Franco Corelli, Birgit Nilsson, Luciano Pavarotti, Sherrill Milnes, Beverly Sills, Judith Blegen, Plácido Domingo, Cesare Siepi, Renata Scotto, Tatiana Troyanos, Jon Vickers, Nicolai Gedda, Joan Sutherland, James Morris, Martti Talvela, Diana Soviero, Deborah Voigt, Helen Donath, Thomas Stewart, Evelyn Lear, Teresa Żylis-Gara, Peter Glossop, James McCracken, and many more.

Young Artist Program

Florida Grand Opera's Young Artist Studio is a highly competitive 6-8 month residency program that accepts only 8-12 artists from over 600 applicants every year. The program was founded in 1984 with the goal of giving young singers the chance to improve and refine their skills that were initially developed during formal music education in university, music school and/or conservatory. Part of this training includes mainstage and recital performance experience which is important to developing a successful career in opera.

Throughout the program, Young Artists receive individual coaching sessions and participate in master classes and seminars, hosted by acclaimed guests artists. Special classes in audition techniques, fight choreography, dance, personal finance, and public relations are also offered.

FGO's Young Artists also perform in recitals and concerts on an almost weekly bases for the education and community outreach programs for the organization. These initiatives bring opera to audiences throughout South Florida and enable the Young Artists to gain valuable experience and feedback.

Additionally, Young Artists have the opportunity to cover lead roles throughout FGO's season, perform lead roles in the company's "Unexpected Opera in Unexpected Places" series, and perform in featured and supporting roles on main stage productions. [9]

Former Young Artists

To date, Florida Grand Opera's Young Artist program has trained more than 150 young professionals who now appear on the stages of the nation’s leading operatic and theatrical organizations. Notable graduates of FGO's Young Artist program include Sarah Coburn, Rachele Gilmore, Leah Partridge, Elizabeth Caballero, Jonathan Michie, Andrew Bidlack, and Tom Corbeil. [10]

Unexpected Opera in Unexpected Places

Once a year, with the hopes of exposing a younger audience to opera, FGO produces a guerrilla-style opera production as a part of its "Unexpected Opera in Unexpected Places" series. These productions typically consist of an all-Young Artist Program cast and are performed in various, non-typical performance venues throughout Miami.

Education Programs

To focus on opening young audiences to the wonders of classical music, Florida Grand Opera offers a variety of free educational and family activities throughout the year. During its 2014-15 Season alone, more than 20,000 children, families and community members throughout Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties participated in these events. [11]


  1. ^ Hines, Bea (September 2, 2012). "Florida Grand Opera welcomes new CEO". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 13 May 2013. [dead link]
  2. ^ Ireland, Edward (September 14, 1958). "Shameless Woman Di Fillipi's Choice". Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  3. ^ Lebrecht, Norman. "Be very afraid: Another US opera company says it is going bust". slippedisc.com. Retrieved 31 October 2014. 
  4. ^ "Emerson Buckley, 73, An Opera Conductor". The New York Times. 1989-11-20. Retrieved 2011-12-22. 
  5. ^ Tim Smith (1992-05-17). "Troubled Waters At The Greater Miami Opera". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  6. ^ Tim Smith (1992-05-02). "Shake-ups At Miami Opera". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  7. ^ Tim Smith (1999-04-18). "Opera's Native Son Is Back". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ http://www.fgo.org/young-artists/
  10. ^ http://www.fgo.org/young-artists/
  11. ^ http://www.fgo.org/education/

External links