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San Diego Opera, ranked by Opera America as one of the top 10 opera companies in the United States, is a widely respected member of the international opera community and an invaluable cultural resource to the San Diego community. The Company is both a national and regional model for all arts organizations in terms of artistic product, impact of community education and outreach and consistently sure-footed fiscal management. In light of these qualities, San Diego Opera was recently was honored as one of 13 "Cornerstone Arts Organizations" by the prestigious James Irvine Foundation. In addition, San Diego Opera is the only San Diego arts organization to receive an almost perfect ranking from both the California Arts Council and the City of San Diego Commission for Arts & Culture.
San Diego Opera was founded in 1950 to present San Francisco Opera productions in the San Diego community, and became a producing company in its own right in 1965 with its first staging of La bohÃ¨me in the new Civic Theatre. From 1965 to his death in 1975, founding General Director Walter Herbert produced a balance of standard repertoire and new works.
Beginning in 1976, General Director Tito Capobianco brought the Company international renown with an annual Verdi Festival and expanded the season to six productions, featuring renowned superstars such as Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti and Beverly Sills.
Ian Campbell, Artistic Administrator at the Metropolitan Opera, succeeded Capobianco in 1983. Mr. Campbell immediately brought the Company to fiscal stability and has achieved a balanced budget every year since. While maintaining financial stability and increasing the audience base, Campbell expanded the season, instituted a concert program to bring major international stars to San Diego and launched the North American Voices Project. Campbell also expanded San Diego Opera's educational outreach into the largest and most diverse offering of any American opera company.
San Diego Opera's acclaimed productions regularly bring internationally renowned artists to perform in San Diego throughout our five month season. Our award winning Operation: Opera program is one of the most extensive and diverse opera education and outreach program in North America, bringing music and arts to 100,000 schoolchildren in San Diego County and Northern Mexico. The North American Voices Project, instituted in 1993, became a model for opera companies throughout the United States, adding contemporary American operas to complement the traditional repertoire each season.
Our passionate belief in our mission and our art form compels us to seek new audiences for opera, to enrich lives and stir the imaginations of all who open themselves to its uniquely magical allure.
San Diego Opera will continue to explore every means of serving its audiences and community with the finest artistic and educational product it can offer. We are committed to both full participation in the civic and the cultural life of San Diego, and will endeavor always to do our part in realizing the evolving vision of "America's finest city."