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Of Mice and Men at Seattle Opera (1970) and Austin Opera (2016) (photos: Des Gates; Erich Schlegel)

50th Anniversary

In 2020, OPERA America marked its 50th anniversary by embarking on a yearlong celebration of opera in America, highlighting the field's accomplishments over the past half-century with a series of initiatives to keep moving opera forward. 

These new events and programs highlighted the work of opera companies and artists across the country, engaged local communities, and connected the industry and audiences at a national level.

Now, OPERA America is extending the anniversary celebration in the spirit of "50 more years," looking at how American opera is building on 50 years of success to chart the art form's future. 

OPERA America's 50th anniversary initiatives are supported by Bank of America, as well as by the Arthur F. and Alice E. Adams Charitable Foundation and the Theodore H. Barth Foundation.

Chronicling 50 Years

Across six issues of Opera America Magazine, from Fall 2019 through Winter 2021, we chronicle the evolution of the opera industry from 1970 to today. Special retrospectives follow the development of opera companies, new work, singer training, community programs, and technology — and accomplished thinkers in the field present visions of the future.

Explore 50 Years of Opera

Opera Hall of Fame

The Opera Hall of Fame honors the achievements of outstanding living American and Canadian artists, administrators and advocates. Building on the legacy of the NEA Opera Honors, it recognizes those who have exhibited exceptional leadership, advanced the art form, shaped careers, overcome obstacles, and facilitated important progress.

Meet the Inductees

Oral History Project

Over the course of our anniversary, we will collect oral histories from industry pioneers to immortalize the insights and lessons of the past 50 years. This project aims to empower a new generation of leaders to build on the efforts of their predecessors as they advance the art form for new audiences.

#MeetOpera Campaign

#MeetOpera is a nationally coordinated, locally implemented promotional campaign designed to unify and motivate members and stakeholders in communicating the vitality and relevance of opera and opera companies. Through a combination of awareness and appreciation via social media, it is intended to lead more people to experience opera and attend more frequently.

Honoring Our Founding Companies

We are partnering with our 16 founding member companies to celebrate a half-century of opera’s progress in America. The artistic strides of the industry over the last fifty years reflect the achievements of individual opera companies, administrators, artists and advocates in communities nationwide. A series of symposia at each founding company will provide an opportunity for the founders of OPERA America to own their contributions to the vibrancy of opera in this country. Each event will raise public awareness of contemporary opera by showcasing the history of new works premiered by each company over the past fifty years.

  • Cincinnati Opera
  • Houston Grand Opera
  • Kentucky Opera
  • Lyric Opera of Kansas City
  • Minnesota Opera
  • New Orleans Opera
  • Opera Carolina
  • Opera Mississippi
  • Opera Omaha
  • Opera Philadelphia
  • Opera Saratoga
  • Pittsburgh Opera
  • San Diego Opera
  • Seattle Opera
  • Tulsa Opera
  • Washington National Opera