Opera San José
Opera San José is the professional opera company in San Jose, California, United States, founded in 1984 by Irene Dalis. In 1988, it formed a resident company of principal artists, for which it has purchased fourteen apartment units to provide rent-free accommodation. Until 2004, the company performed in the Montgomery Theater in San Jose's Civic Auditorium complex, but since then it has performed in the remodeled California Theatre, now a performing arts venue in the city. One of the keys to the company's success over the years has been its fiscal prudence.
In 1988, Opera San José formed a resident company of principal artists, for which it provides rent-free accommodation. In addition, they receive an annual salary, health and vacation benefits, and time off for auditions and to perform with other companies should appropriate roles become available. These artists are typically promising singers in the early years of their career. They are given annual contracts and coaching and are expected to fill leading roles in the company's performances. This program is modeled after similar programs in German regional opera companies.
Current resident artists
The following artists are current members of the resident company:
Former resident artists
All singers who have been a Principal Artist of the Resident Company have gone on to begin significant careers in professional opera and nearly all have budding international careers. None are singing other than leading roles. Former resident artists have been engaged by the following companies. A complete list of them appears here.
Performances of non-standard works
In addition to producing many of the "standard repertory", the company has a record of staging important rarely performed works.
The California Theatre
The opera company opened its 2004–2005 season in the 1,119 seat California Theatre, a former vaudeville and film theatre designed by Weeks and Day. Opened in 1927 as the Fox California Theatre (originally with 1,848 seats), this movie palace was said to be the finest theater in California. With its magnificent Jazz Age décor, it was part of a wave of ornate theaters built to define downtowns all over the country in the 1920s and 1930s.
For nearly 50 years the theatre showed films, until its closure in 1973. It was left vacant and dilapidated for many years, but reopened in 2004 after a $75 million restoration project by the Packard Humanities Institute and the San Jose Redevelopment Agency. This came as a big relief to local historians, who feared the building would be demolished like many other historic buildings in the city center. In 2004, the California Theatre reopened as a major performing arts facility designed both for live stage performances and for motion pictures. The new theatre is filled with modern amenities in a setting of meticulously restored 1920's opulence. It has been called one of the most beautiful theatres in the state, and is now the home of Opera San Jose and Symphony Silicon Valley. It plays host annually to the Cinequest Film Festival.
In 2004 Team San Jose took over management of the facility and promotes its venues and the theatre itself as a favorite place to hold events. A lavish conference facility with additional meeting rooms, and state-of-the-art audio and video technology, has been added to the original structure.
- Opera San Jose report on artsamerica.org
- On cinematreasures.org
- Details of the history of the theatre (with photos) on shomler.com
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to California Theater.|