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Ausrine Stundyte as Cio-Cio-San, Elizabeth Janes as Butterfly’s child and Sarah Larsen as Suzuki in Seattle Opera's production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly. Photo by Elise Bakketun.
1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
  • Seattle Opera presents world premiere of Carlisle Floyd's Of Mice and Men, where Glynn Ross convenes a meeting to finalize plans for a national service organization for opera
  • OPERA America is incorporated with 20 charter members; Robert Collinge of Baltimore Opera is Board President; charter meeting held in Washington DC
  • Charter members include: Baltimore Civic Opera Society, Center Opera Co. of Minneapolis, Charlotte Opera Assoc., Colorado Springs Opera, Denver Lyric Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Opera Society of Washington, Mississippi Opera, Philadelphia Grand Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, St. Paul Opera, San Diego Opera, Seattle Opera, Tulsa Opera, Lake George Opera Festival, Cincinnati Summer Opera Festival, Omaha Civic Opera Festival, New Orleans Opera House , Kansas City Lyric Theatre, Kentucky Opera
  • NEA budget stands at $15.1 million, nearly double the size of the prior fiscal year; Nancy Hanks is chair
  • OPERA America holds its first annual meeting and national auditions in New York City with delegates from 27 companies
  • NEA budget nearly doubles again to almost $30 million
  • OPERA America opens its first office in Baltimore, MD
  • OPERA America holds annual meeting in Dallas
  • At OPERA America's recommendation, the National Opera Institute awards $5K each to 28 emerging opera artists
  • Opera Memphis joins OPERA America
  • NEA recognizes OPERA America as the industry representative
  • David Baber is Executive Director of OPERA America (1973-1974)
  • OPERA America members testify on Capital Hill about the need to re-authorize the NEA
  • OPERA America holds annual meeting and auditions in Washington
  • OPERA America moves its offices to Washington D.C.
  • Houston Grand Opera has its first world premiere, Thomas Pasatieri's The Seagull
  • Vancouver Opera becomes OPERA America's first Canadian member
  • Ann Farris-Darling is Executive Director of OPERA America (1974-1979)
  • OPERA America holds annual meeting in Miami
  • John Crosby of The Santa Fe Opera is OPERA AmericaBoard President (1975-1979)
  • Center Opera Co. of Minneapolis and St. Paul Opera merge
  • OPERA America meets in Santa Fe with 36 companies and the NEA to discuss arts support through inflation/recession
  • OPERA America holds annual meeting in San Francisco
  • Chattanooga Symphony and Nevada Opera join OPERA America
  • OPERA America initiates Public Advocacy Program
  • OPERA America starts management program for marketing, financial and development networks
  • Danny Newman publishes Subscribe Now
  • Livingstone Biddle Jr. is appointed chair of the NEA (1977-1981)
  • Brecht/Weill's Happy End premieres on Broadway
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in Chicago
  • NEA budget at almost $150 million; Opera-Musical Theater Program is launched
  • Mobile Opera, Fargo-Moorhead Opera and Indianapolis Opera join OPERA America
  • OPERA America holds first workshop dedicated to education
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in Miami
  • OPERA America establishes the 504 Special Constituencies Program, offering assistance to opera companies in meeting section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act to make the arts accessible to a broader audience, including disabled people, the elderly, veterans, and those in nursing homes, mental institutions or prisons.
  • Cleveland Opera joins OPERA America
  • David DiChiera of Michigan Opera Theatre becomes OPERA America Board President (1979-1983)
  • Martin Kagan becomes Executive Director of OPERA America (1980-1990)
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in New Orleans
  • Frank Hodsoll is appointed chair of the NEA (1981-1989)
  • Anchorage Opera and Boston Lyric Opera join OPERA America
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in San Francisco
  • NEA budget cut by 10%
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in Toronto
  • Robert Herman of Greater Miami Opera becomes OPERA America Board President (1983-1985)
  • Opera Columbus joins OPERA America
  • Canadian Opera Company pioneers the use of Surtitles in a production of Elektra
  • In its inaugural year, OPERA America's Opera for the Eighties and Beyond (OFTEAB) funds Exploration Fellowships for eight companies and co-sponsors the 'New Visions in American Opera' with the Brooklyn Academy of Music; funding from Rockefeller Foundation
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in New York City in conjunction with the Metropolitan Opera's centennial season
  • Madison Opera, Piedmont Opera, and the Dayton Opera Association joinOPERA America
  • Through OFTEAB, OPERA America gives the Hidden Valley Opera Ensemble a grant to commission Hotel Eden by composer Henry Mollicone.
  • Handel's Tamerlano has U.S. premiere at University of Indiana
  • David Gockley of Houston Grand becomes OPERA America Board President (1985-1990)
  • Skylight Opera Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Glimmerglass Opera, Knoxville Opera, The Atlanta Opera, Opera Carolina, the Greensboro Opera Company, and the Edmonton Opera Association joinOPERA America
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in Washington, D.C.
  • NEA is awarded Oscar at the Academy Awards for 20 years of service to the arts
  • Los Angeles Opera, Eugene Opera and Opera Lyra Ottawa joinOPERA America
  • OFTEAB supports Houston Grand Opera's commission and production of Nixon in China with an $80,000 grant
  • NEA grants $25,000 for OFTEAB, the first of six consecutive annual grants for that program
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in Miami
  • OFTEAB announces 12 grants supporting the commission and production of new works; includes a $113,700 grant to the Dallas Opera for Argento's The Aspern Papers and $85,000 to Kentucky Opera for Glass's The Fall of the House of Usher
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in Dallas
  • Pacific Opera Victoria, Ashlawn Opera Festival and Manitoba Opera join OPERA America
  • Glimmerglass Opera's new opera house opens with Eugene Onegin
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in Houston
  • OPERA America announces initiative with Very Special Arts to bring opera to the disabled
  • Opera Colorado and Austin Lyric Opera join OPERA America
  • Attendance at mainstage performances of OPERA America members reaches a new high of almost four million
  • Through OFTEAB, OPERA America supports the commission and production of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis's Under the Double Moon by Anthony Davis
  • Lyric Opera of Chicago launches "Toward the 21st Century", a program to support the commission of new American opera
  • OFTEAB grants the San Francisco Opera $25,000 to workshop Weisgall's Esther and the commission of Frida by Robert Xavier Rodriguez (American Music Theater Festival) and Bolivar by Thea Musgrave (Los Angeles Music Center Opera)
  • MetLife grant of $15,000 to launch Music! Words! Opera!
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in San Francisco
  • Banff, Sacramento Opera Company, Opera Roanoke and Nashville Opera join OPERA America
  • John E. Frohnmayer is appointed chair of the NEA (1989-1992)
  • OPERA America absorbs the Central Opera Service archives from the Metropolitan Opera Guild with a $150K grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
  • Townsend Opera Players join OPERA America
  • OPERA America's 20th annual conference takes place in Washington
  • Ardis Krainik, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Board President (1990-1993)
  • Marc A. Scorca becomes CEO of OPERA America
  • Inaugural year for Music! Words! Opera!, piloted in St. Louis with an NEA Grant of $10k
  • OFTEAB grants $379,675 for commissions and productions of new opera works, including Monk's Atlas at Houston Grand Opera, the American Music Theater Festival's premiere of Davis' Amistad and the Lyric Opera of Chicago commission of McTeague by Bolcom
  • Lila-Wallace Readers' Digest Fund grants $5 million to OPERA America for Opera for a New America program
  • OPERA America begins Grants to Singers program (formerly the London/Sullivan Grants to Singers program of the National Institute of Music Theater)
  • Scorca helps draft legislation for O and P visas for foreign artists
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in Chicago
  • Colin Graham directs the world premiere of John Corigliano's Ghosts of Versailles at the Metropolitan Opera
  • Musical Traditions joins OPERA America
  • NEA budget reaches a historic high of $176 million
  • OPERA America creates a membership category for individual and affiliate members
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in San Diego with keynote speaker Gerard Mortier
  • First OPERA Americaregional meeting is held in Charlotte, NC
  • Opera Atelier, Tacoma Opera, and Nautilus Music-Theater join OPERA America
  • Plato Karayanis becomes OPERA America Board President (1993 - 1996)
  • Boheme Opera New Jersey joins OPERA America
  • OPERA America receives $200,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create the Trustee/Volunteer Resource Center
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in Miami with keynote speaker Colin Graham
  • Jane Alexander is appointed chair of the NEA (1993-1997)
  • Opera Theater of Pittsburgh and Tapestry New Opera Works join OPERA America
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in Seattle, with playwright Terrence McNally as the keynote speaker
  • First professional recording of Susannah
  • A truck carrying San Francisco Opera's sets for the finale of Aida to be performed at Opera Pacific is stolen and later recovered
  • Met seat-back titles are introduced at opening night of Otello
  • OPERA America's Web site is established
  • NEA budget cut by 39% to $99.5 million as Congress debates the role of federal arts funding
  • OPERA America receives $300,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to launch OPERA America Online
  • Publication of first Audition Advice for Singers
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in Los Angeles with keynote speaker Julie Taymor
  • Meeting of current and prospective international members in Paris lays the groundwork for the European Opera Network
  • Opera Idaho joins OPERA America
  • Plato Karayanis becomes board chairman; Scorca's title changes to President
  • OPERA America launches online Season Schedule, Set Directory and Singer Database
  • The Santa Fe Opera gives world premiere of Tobias Picker's Emmeline
  • Tenor Richard Versalle dies during a performance of The Makropulos Case at the Met
  • Kevin Smith becomes chairman of the board (1997-2000)
  • House votes to eliminate NEA funding but finalizes budget at $98 million
  • Wayne Brown is appointed Head of Music and Opera at the NEA
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in Philadelphia; Carlisle Floyd is keynote speaker
  • Publication of The Singer/Manager Relationship, part of OPERA America's Perspectives series that features articles by opera professionals for young artists
  • Nashville Opera and Tennessee Opera Theater merge
  • 49% of OPERA America members have a Web page
  • Opera North and Chants Libres join OPERA America
  • 66% of OPERA America members have a Web page
  • Opera Southwest, American Opera Projects and El Paso Opera join OPERA America
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in Minneapolis, with first New Works Sampler; author and consultant Stan Davis gives the keynote speech
  • Bill Ivey is appointed chair of the NEA (1998-2001)
  • Queen of Puddings Music Theatre joins OPERA America
  • Houston Grand Opera unveils Multimedia Modular Stage
  • Challenge grant received by OPERA America from Helen F. Whitaker Fund to create The Opera Fund
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in Vancouver
  • Opera Boston joins OPERA America
  • OPERA America receives $350K grant from American Express for a three-year audience research study
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in Houston; Tod Machover is keynote speaker
  • San Francisco Opera gives world premiere of Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking; Cold Sassy Tree, Carlisle Floyd's 10th opera, premieres at Houston Grand Opera
  • Ian Campbell becomes OPERA America Board Chairman (2001-2004)
  • Center for Contemporary Opera, Spokane Opera and Pine Mountain Music Festival join OPERA America
  • European Opera Network merges with Eurolyrica to form Opera Europa
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in Atlanta; composer William Bolcolm is keynote speaker
  • Libby Larsen is the first composer elected to the OPERA America board of directors
  • First Audience Development Awards from The Opera Fund
  • Philip Glass delivers keynote address at Annual Conference in Toronto
  • Janice Mayer is the first artist manager elected to the board of directors
  • Opera in the Heights (Houston, TX company) joins OPERA America
  • Dana Gioia is appointed chair of the NEA (2001-2008)
  • Long Beach Opera joins OPERA America
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in Saint Louis with keynote speaker Graham Vick
  • Seattle Opera's Marion Oliver McCaw Hall opens
  • Charles MacKay becomes Board Chairman (2004-2008)
  • Asheville Lyric Opera joins OPERA America
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in Pittsburgh, in conjunction with the first National Performing Arts Convention
  • OPERA America moves to New York City
  • NEA and Department of Defense launch Great American Voices with support from OPERA America
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in Detroit, featuring premiere of Danielpour's Margaret Garner; Toni Morrison is keynote speaker
  • Opera Theatre of Northern Virginia, Festival Opera, Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, Long Leaf Opera and Wichita Grand Opera join OPERA America
  • New house for Canadian Opera Company and opera center for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
  • OPERA America creates Educational Producing Associate member category
  • Canada Council for the Arts receives increase in funding to $306 million
  • Light Opera Oklahoma and Opera Santa Barbara join OPERA America
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in Seattle; Peter Gelb is keynote speaker
  • Opera Providence and Gotham Chamber Opera join OPERA America
  • OPERA America's Young Friends of Opera program is established
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in Miami; Keynote speaker is composer Osvaldo Golijov
  • Anthony Freud becomes Board Chairman
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in Denver in conjunction with second National Performing Arts Convention; keynote is Gerard Mortier
  • Inaugural NEA Opera Honors awards Carlisle Floyd, Richard Gaddes, Leontyne Price, James Levine
  • DuPage Opera Theatre, Delaware Valley Opera, Opera Circle, Opera Vivente and Opera on the James join OPERA America
  • New opera house for Dallas Opera
  • New facility for Nashville Opera
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in Houston; Alex Ross is keynote speaker
  • OPERA America receives Mellon Foundation grant of $770K for bolstering electronic, media and professional development services
  • Green Mountain Opera Festival, Center City Opera Theater, Opera New Jersey, Sugar Creek Symphony and the Family Opera Initiative join OPERA America
  • Director/Designer Showcase launches
  • Rocco Landesman becomes 10th chairman of the NEA
  • NEA National Opera Honors: John Adams, Marilyn Horne, Lotfi Mansouri, Frank Corsaro, Julius Rudel
  • OPERA America holds annual conference in Los Angeles; keynote speaker is composer Daniel Cátan
  • The Dallas Opera premiere’s Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick
  • Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, in partnership with American Lyric Theater, premiere Peter Ash’s The Golden Ticket
  • Seattle Opera premieres Daron Hagen’s Amelia
  • Fort Worth Opera premieres of Jorge Martín's Before Night Falls
Around the World
  • Conductor George Szell dies
  • Launch of Apollo 13
  • Deaths: Igor Stravinsky, Louis Armstrong, Coco Chanel
  • Kissinger visits China to secretly arrange Nixon's visit
  • Fiddler on the Roof closes after 3,242 performances
  • Nixon visits China and Russia; Watergate affair begins
  • Deaths: WH Auden, Pearl Buck, Otto Klemperer, Pablo Casals, Pablo Picasso
  • Kissinger awarded Nobel Peace Prize; Vietnam cease-fire agreement signed
  • NEA budget is now almost $75 million; National Assembly of State Arts Agencies is incorporated
  • Nixon resigns; Gerald Ford is elected U.S. President (1974-1977)
  • Global inflation scenario, growth near zero in industrialized nations; Dow Jones index falls to 663, lowest since 1970 recession
  • HGO does first U.S. production of Handel's Rinaldo with Samuel Ramey and Marilyn Horne
  • Deaths: tenor Richard Tucker; Dmitri Shostakovich and Bernard Herrmann
  • NEA celebrates its 10th year
  • Beverly Sills sings Rossini's Siege of Corinth in her Met debut
  • Sarah Caldwell becomes first female conductor at The Met
  • Deaths: Benjamin Britten, sopranos Lily Pons and Elisabeth Rethberg, conductor Rudolf Kempe
  • Deaths: Maria Callas; Charlie Chaplin
  • Jimmy Carter is elected U.S. President (1977-1981)
  • Beverly Sills retires from the stage and becomes general director at New York City Opera
  • Mother Teresa wins Nobel Peace Prize
  • Deaths: Jean-Paul Sartre, Henry Miller, John Lennon, Oscar Kokoschka
  • Ronald Reagan is elected U.S. President (1981-1989)
  • Assassination attempts on Reagan and Pope John Paul II
  • Deaths: Glenn Gould, Carl Orff
  • Bernard Herrmann's Wuthering Heights premieres in Portland; Stephan Paulus's The Postman Always Rings Twice premieres in St. Louis; Robert Ward's Minutes Till Midnight premieres in Miami
  • Reagan establishes President's Committee on the Arts & Humanities to encourage private support
  • Deaths: George Balanchine, Ira Gershwin
  • U.S. unemployment rises to over 12 million, highest since 1941
  • Bayreuth Festival marks centenary of Wagner's death with new Ring Cycle production
  • Tercentenaries of births of Handel & Bach
  • No Tony's are awarded for best actor, actress or choreographer because of low overall standard
  • Deaths: tenor Peter Pears, Georgia O'Keeffe, Cary Grant, Benny Goodman
  • Phantom of the Opera premieres in London
  • Les Misérables wins eight Tony's on Broadway
  • Operas: Nigel Osbourne's Hell's Angels, Menotti's Goya, Richard Meale's Voss and Reimann's Troades
  • Nixon in China premieres in Houston
  • NEA reports that for past two years, admission receipts from nonprofit performing arts events have exceeded those of sports events
  • The age of 'glasnost' and 'perestroika'; Reagan calls on Gorbachev to 'tear down that wall'
  • Phantom of the Opera opens on Broadway
  • Deaths: Herbert von Karajan, Irving Berlin, Vladimir Horowitz
  • Black Monday; Dow Jones falls by 508, worldwide stock market prices crash
  • In its 23rd year, the NEA budget stands at $167 million
  • George H.W. Bush is elected U.S. President (1989-1993)
  • Berlin Wall is demolished
  • Gorbachev wins Nobel Peace Prize
  • Deaths: Jim Henson, Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein
  • Soviet Union collapses
  • Pat Buchanan delivers "culture war" speech at RNC, running against incumbent George H.W. Bush
  • Bill Clinton is elected U.S. President (1993-2001)
  • Netscape debuts and Windows 95 is released
  • Clinton acknowledges the importance of the arts in his State of the Union address
  • The euro is created
  • Apple's iTunes unveiled
  • Mark Adamo's opera Little Women is released on CD
  • George W. Bush is elected U.S. President (2001-2009)
  • Daniel Catan's Florencia en el Amazonas is released on CD
  • Baz Luhrmann's La Bohème opens on Broadway
  • Floyd's Of Mice and Men is released on CD
  • youTube was created
  • Death: Sarah Caldwell
  • Metropolitan Opera Opening Night in Times Square, live transmission of Madama Butterfly; on December 30, their Live in HD series begins with a simulcast of Julie Taymor's production of The Magic Flute
    • Death: composer Gian Carlo Menotti
    • Barack Obama elected U.S. President
    Board President: Robert Collinge (1970-1975) Board President: John Crosby (1975-1979) Board President: David DiChiera (1979-1983) Board President: Robert Herman (1983-1985) Board President: David Gockley (1985-1990) Board President: Ardis Krainik (1990-1993) Board President: Plato Karayanis (1993-1996) Board Chairman: Plato Karayanis (1996) Board Chairman: Kevin Smith (1997-2000) Board Chairman: Ian Campbell (2001-2004) Board Chairman: Charles MacKay (2004-2008) Board Chairman: Anthony Freud (2008 - )
    Executive Director: David Baber (1973-1974) Executive Director: Ann Farris-Darling (1974-1979) Executive Director: Martin Kagan (1980-1990) CEO: Marc Scorca (1990-1996) President & CEO: Marc Scorca (1996-)
    1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s

    OPERA America: In Their Voice

    David DiChiera
    General Director, Michigan Opera Theatre

    From 1979 to 1983, Dr. DiChiera served as president of OPERA America. Under his leadership, the national organization established a major initiative in opera education programs throughout the country. In the area of public information, he encouraged OPERA America to focus on strategies to help generate a positive image and interest in opera for a greater portion of the population. During this time, DiChiera spearheaded a major project entitled Opera for the ‘80’s and Beyond, which developed bold, innovative methods of encouraging and funding new American musical theater works. The success of this project led to the development of another OPERA America project, the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Fund/Opera for a New America Program, of which Dr. DiChiera served as chairman for two years. This project encouraged companies to reach previously under-addressed segments of the population, and has been instrumental in securing funding for this multi-million dollar project.

    Spring 2014 Magazine Issue
    • From Gold Rush to Google
    • Before, After and During Opera Conference 2014
    • OPERA America's New Works Forum Expands and Explores
    Contact Us
    330 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001
    P 212-796-8620 • F 212-796-8621
    Info@operaamerica.orgDirections
    From Airport:
    The easiest way to reach the OPERA America offices is to get a cab at the airport. Cost is $40-45
    (not including tip).
    • JFK - Take the AirTrain ($5 - approx. 15 minutes) to the Jamaica Street Station and transfer to the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Take the LIRR to Penn Station ($12 - approx. 35 minutes). See Penn Station directions below.
    • LaGuardia - Take the M60 Bus to the Hoyt Ave/31st Street. Get on the or Train and take that to 42nd/Times Square Station. Follow the Times Square Station directions below.
    • Newark - Take the New Jersey Transit train to Penn Station ($15 - approx. 45 min). See the Penn Station Directions below.

    From Penn Station/Madison Square Garden:
    Leave the station through the 7th Avenue/33rd Street exit and walk south for four blocks. The building is on
    the right hand side.

    From Grand Central Station:
    Take the Train to the 42nd/Times Square station and transfer to the Train.
    Take the Train to the 28th Street stop and walk north on 7th Avenue.
    The building is on the same block as the train stop.

    From 42nd Street/Times Square:
    Take the Train to the 28th Street stop and walk north on 7th Avenue.
    The building is on the same block as the train stop.

    For more detailed directions, most up-to-date pricing or to specify a different starting location, please visit the
    MTA Web site.