Bellissima Opera is a non-profit opera company based in Oak Park, Illinois. It was founded in 2006 by Christine Steyer, Paul Geiger and Franco Martorana.
Founded in 2006 as Bellissima Opera Productions, the organization changed to Bellissima Opera LLC in 2009 and was incorporated as the non-profit Bellissima Opera in 2010. Over that time the company has given dozens of concerts and produced and performed in abridged versions of La Traviata  and Madame Butterfly. In 2008 the company, in partnership with Sounds True, recorded a CD of sacred music entitled Caroline Myss' "Voices of the Sacred". In 2014, it produced a concert called "The Music of the Universe" that combined voice, violin, Hawaiian dance and images, and featured a new vocal work for soprano by David Shenton set to a poem by Charlie Rossiter.
The founders of Bellissima Opera are often the company's core performers. The company has also featured singers Partick Blackwell, Dominique Frigo, Ryan de Ryke, Marta Kasten and pianists Eugenia Chang, Anatoliy Torchinskiy, Jeff Panko and Marta Johnson. Others include violinist Chris Nemeth, dancers Fujima Shunojo, Fujima Yoshinojo and June Tanoue, artist David Robbins and directors Carl Ratner and Beaumont Glass. The company has also commissioned arrangements and new works from Ed Zelnis, Stuart Leitch, Daniel Vines and David Shenton.
Members of the Board of Bellissima Opera
Christine Steyer, Artistic Director and Chairman
Paul Geiger, Managing Director
Franco Martorana, Managing Director
Kimberly Zuehlke, Treasurer
Jan Sodaro, Secretary
Bellissima Opera Outreach
In 2009, the company created Bellissima Opera Outreach which has since presented age-appropriate classical vocal concerts for 19,600 schoolchildren ages K -12 in three states. The presentations are designed to introduce the children to a variety of vocal music produced without the need for amplification.
The Transcendence Triptych
Bellissima Opera is currently creating The Transcendence Triptych, three short operas that examine racial issues.
Performances by year
La Traviata by Giuseppe Verdi, the Village Players Theatre, Oak Park, Illinois, May, 2006.
Madame Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini, the Village Players Theatre, Oak Park, Illinois, June, 2007.
La Traviata by Verdi, the New Buffalo Performing Arts Center, New Buffalo, Michigan, July 26, 2008.
Caroline Myss' Voices of the Sacred, songs of the world's most famous and beloved sacred music, recorded in partnership with Sounds True©. The CD release concert was held at Unity Temple, Oak Park, Illinois, Sept. 6, 2008.
"The World's Greatest Arias" a concert including songs from La Traviata, Madame Butterfly, La Boheme and The Merry Widow, the Beverly Arts Center, Chicago, Illinois, Nov. 21, 2009.
"A Night of Opera and Song," including songs of Tosti, Tchaikovsky, and Donizetti, as well as traditional Japanese dance and the world premiere of a song by composer Daniel Vines, Unity Temple, Oak Park, Illinois, Aug. 5, 2010.
La Traviata, Opera Up Close,The Center for Performing Arts, Governors State University, University Park, Illinois, Mar. 27, 2011.
"Celebrate Earth Day" with Bellissima Opera, Munch Restaurant, Oak Park, Illinois, Apr. 22, 2013.
"Music of the Universe," a multimedia concert in voice, violin, dance and imagery. The concert featured an original commission by composer David Shenton, who composed a song to the poem "Music of the Universe" by Charlie Rossiter, at Unity Temple, Oak Park, Illinois, Jun. 1, 2014.
- "Oak Park residents produce and star in a unique new production of the opera La Traviata at Village Players Theatre". Oak Park Journal. 26 May 2006. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
- "All-consuming opera: singers offer big sounds of Traviata in a small setting". Oak Park Oak Leaves. 24 May 2006.
- Bonfiglio, Jeremy D. (24 July 2008). "Singers stage accessible La Traviata". SouthBend Tribune. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
- Hansen, Amy Gail (6 June 2007). "Butterfly soars in intimate setting". Oak Park Oak Leaves.
- Wilkinson, Cathryn (6 June 2007). "Steyer lights up the stage in Butterfly". Wednesday Journal. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
- Trainor, Ken (20 August 2013). "It's not over til the diva dies". Wednesday Journal. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
- Petlicki, Myrna (27 August 2008). "Chance encounter led to sacred songs concert". Oak Park Oak Leaves.
- Abushady, Mark Maxwell. "Media Reviews: Caroline Myss’ Voices of the Sacred". Creations Magazine.
- Petlicki, Myrna (22 May 2014). "Voices, words, images blend in Music of the Universe". Oak Park Oak Leaves.
- Trainor, Ken (28 May 2014). "Voyagers of the human condition". Wednesday Journal.
- Vincent, Ed. "Bellissima Opera's Outreach, Featuring Soprano Christine Steyer Delights Class After Class at Oak Park and River Forest High School". Oak Park Journal.
- "Bellissima Opera Outreach inspires more than song". Chicago Tribune Triblocal Oak Park/River Forest. 7 January 2010. Archived from the original on 9 February 2015.
- Fritz, Matt. "Lunch, recess and arias: Opera goes to school". The Herald-Palladium, November 6, 2009/
- Trainor, Ken (6 January 2015). "'Triptych,' an opera about boxing, truth and transcending". Wednesday Journal. Retrieved 6 January 2015.