Maria Todaro Confirmed as General Director of Florida Grand Opera

Todaro has established herself as a formidable force in the operatic world.

By: May. 24, 2024
Maria Todaro Confirmed as General Director of Florida Grand Opera
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 Florida Grand Opera has announced the confirmation of Maria Todaro as General Director. Todaro, who has been serving as the Interim General Director since October 2023, was unanimously nominated by the FGO Board of Directors with a three year contract  in recognition of her outstanding performance and visionary leadership.

Florida Grand Opera, the oldest producing arts organization in the state of Florida and the seventh-oldest opera company in the United States, is poised for a transformative era under Todaro’s leadership. With over three decades of experience in both European and American opera realms, Todaro has established herself as a formidable force in the operatic world.

Maria Todaro’s journey in opera began as a singer, but she quickly made her mark as a stage director, bringing to life numerous acclaimed productions and nurturing talents such as John Osborn, Lucas Meachem, Ginger Costa Jackson, and Kevin Glavin. Her administrative prowess promises to infuse new energy into FGO, ushering in a thrilling chapter for the 82-year-old opera company.

Tina Vidal-Duart, Chair of the Board, expressed her enthusiasm for Todaro's appointment, stating, "It is an honor to welcome Maria Todaro as the General Director of Florida Grand Opera. Her exceptional talent and visionary approach mark the beginning of an exciting new era for FGO."

Todaro’s extensive background includes founding her first production company, Arteodor, in France at the age of 21, and co-founding the Hudson Valley International Festival of The Voice. Her innovative approaches during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as pioneering the USA's first drive-in live opera performance, exemplify her ability to adapt and innovate in challenging times.

"Under my leadership, FGO productions will not merely be performances but immersive adventures that uplift and transform lives," said Todaro. "We are committed to fostering unity and honoring FGO’s legacy. Opera, with its timeless allure, serves as a potent bridge, uniting diverse individuals in shared experiences."

Maria's heritage and upbringing in an opera-loving family, with her father, the illustrious Italian opera singer Jose Todaro, her mother, Brazilian Mezzo-Soprano Maria-Helena de Oliveira, and her grandmother, Helena de Oliveira, have deeply influenced her passion and dedication to the art form. This rich legacy of operatic excellence underpins her vision for FGO’s future.

In her role, she aims to continue the path she is on towards her vision to elevate FGO by creating original experiences with unique customer service, focusing on the transformative power of opera to provoke introspection and uplift spirits. She is committed to using FGO’s platform to foster social and emotional development within the community, particularly among the youth. Todaro will direct her own production of Carmen for the 2024–2025 FGO Season.

Maria Todaro’s distinguished career includes notable productions such as "Elixir of Love" presented by the Hawaii Opera Theater and the Phoenicia Festival of The Voice. In 2022, Ms. Todaro opened the Minnesota Opera season with L'Amant Anonyme, an exceptional and rare Baroque opera by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. Ms. Todaro chose a unique setting for this production: the island of Guadeloupe in the 18th century, as an homage to this remarkable black composer and his female librettist, Felicite de Genlis. In March/April 2023, she presented another version at the Atlanta Opera, this time with a libretto fully revised and translated by her and a different version of the concept.

Maria recently relocated to Florida with her husband, opera superstar Louis Otey, whom she met during a performance in Brazil 23 years ago. Together, they bring a wealth of experience and passion to the Florida Grand Opera, ensuring a bright and exciting future for the company.



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