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Regional Opera Company of the Week: Arizona Opera

Arizona Opera was originally known as Tucson Opera Company and founded in 1971 by a group of opera enthusiasts. The inaugural season was two performances of The Barber of Seville by Rossini in Tucson but by the 1976-77 season the company was performing their complete seasons in both Tucson and Phoenix. Now in the 42nd season, the company produces five grand operas throughout the state each season and is one of the only companies in the US that performs in two cities.

Since that first production of The Barber of Seville, Arizona Opera has produced over 170 fully-staged operas and concerts. The company blends many traditional styles within their seasons. The company has featured baroque, bel canto, and verismo works, turh-of-the-century masterpieces, operettas and American operas. They have even present Wagner's complete Ring Cycle twice (this has only ever been done by four other companies in North America!)

Just last month the company opened Phase 1 of its new 28,000 square foot Opera Center which houses an intimate black box performance venue, rehearsal space, orchestra loft, and patron viewing gallery. Phase 2 will feature administrative offices, box office, costume, wig and make-up shops as well as educational and meeting facilities to be fully completed this spring. The Opera's $8.5 million captial campaign funds this new Center, which was built in partnership with the City of Phoenix, who provided $3.2 million in city bond funds.

The mix of rising stars and international favorites is accompanied by the Arizona Opera Orchestra, established in 2000, consisting of members of symphony oerchestras from Flagstaff, Phoenix, and Tucson, as well as faculty from local universities. The chorus of Arizona Opera productions is comprised of Phoenix and Tucson community members and students from local universities.

In addition to producing five grand operas each year in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona Opera offers in-school touring productions and numerous outreach events for children and adults of all ages. The company has five professional Ensemble Teaching Troupes who go into the schools to perform for K-12 grade. Arizona Opera also has high school music and theatre classes with group rates for Community Night at the Opera. They even have a partnership with Arizona State University, University of Arizona, and Grand Canyon University to offer classes to enhance the development of future opera lovers, designers, participants, creators and performers. In total, the educational and outreach programs reach over 70,000 school-children and adults annually. For those interested in performing, the company has a Teaching Artist Training program for additional training for singers. For more information about any of these programs call 602.218.7325 or email

Current Season:

Given that the company performs in two different locations helps to get time to see each production. Earlier this season Arizona Opera performed Lucia di Lammermoor, Romeo et Juliette and Tosca both in Phoenix and in Tucson. This past weekend saw the close of Il Trovatore in Phoenix but be sure to catch it in Tucson this weekend.

Il Trovatore By Giuseppe Verdi

Passion isn't the only thing that burns.


March 9, 2013 7:30 PM

March 10, 2013 2:00 PM

The Marriage of Figaro By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

What a Tangled Web They Weave


April 5, 2013 7:30 PM

April 6, 2013 7:30 PM

April 7, 2013 2:00 PM


April 13, 2013 7:30 PM

April 14, 2013 2:00 PM

For more information about Arizona Opera or to purchase tickets to upcoming productions visit

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From This Author Scott Frost

Scott Frost is a Production and Stage Manager and a Freelance Costume Designer. In addition to being a theatrical manager and designer he currently works (read more...)